There is no doubt about the potential of big data especially for the tourism industry. Businesses worldwide accumulate large amounts of data each year, now with the emergence of a “big data” movement, it is essential for individual businesses in tourism, to maximize the use of this data. There are some great examples of how individual businesses are trying to solve the issue around leveraging data but with research around this matter continuing, so does the learning process that businesses go through. In the following, Amadeus latest research, the Big Data Crossroads report, will be looked at in more detail (Amadeus 2013).
OPPORTUNITIES OF BIG DATA
There are a number of opportunities arising around the big data topic. Big data can provide very useful insights into the travel experience. This has never been possible before in travel. In the past, data has been looked at in an isolated way but now by taking advantage of the big data idea, tourism businesses can get a more integrated view of the entire industry. Individual processes can be enhanced which will push innovation and improve relationships with consumers.
The one thing that is at the core of the big data idea is that it is all about improving the consumer experience. The travel industry is experiencing a shift towards a more responsive and focused approach – consumer needs and preferences are crucial. However, individual businesses in the tourism industry and even industry big players take a lot of time to collect consumer information and put it into a more comprehensive view. This is actually surprising and shows the need to invest more time into this matter in order to find a way to fasten up the process and make it standardised in an organisation. The travel industry is still behind other industries when it comes to existing big data projects in tourism.
CHALLENGES OF BIG DATA
The Big Data report by Amadeus identified a number of challenges, that need to be addressed by the tourism industry;
- Fragmentation of Data
- Technology complexity
- Data accuracy
- Rights of use
- Business and technological alignment
- Need for data specialists
Big data can be challenging, and tourism businesses starting their big data journey will discover that a new set of human skills will be needed within organisations – skills to handle and analyze data. Soon, more and more organisations will look for data analysts, highly analytical people that can help organizations make sense of data and translate data into actual business opportunities.
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