Amadues Column: Big Data Offers Numerous Benefits


Big data is arguably the biggest opportunity in a generation for travel businesses to embrace the changing structure of data and maximise its use. It offers the potential for a vast shift for all travel companies, empowering them to enhance both the business and experience of travel.

Currently, the travel industry is at a big data crossroads – large volume, complex and unstructured datasets are beginning to reshape the industry, and so the development of big data initiatives is now a priority for many.

Big data offers significant benefits for all travel companies, including:

Better decision support

Many travel firms are using big data not just to speed up decisions and data processing, but to make better internal or customer-focused decisions. In some cases, these also benefit from the increased speed of big data processing offered by new technologies. These systems contain a variety of customer data, which can be used to improve marketing and service processes.

New products and services for customers

This is one of the most exciting possible benefits. Within the travel sector, the most likely creators of data-based products and services are online travel agencies, travel search firms, and leading technology providers.

Better customer relationships

Since customer relationships have historically been fragmented across a variety of systems and databases, data aggregation should create better customer relationships, and more revenue from customers from better targeted products and services. Through predictive analytics, the most-favoured destinations, lodging and dining preferences, ancillary services needs, and tourism experiences can be identified for each passenger.

Cheaper, faster data processing

New generations of information technology have always been adopted, in part because they offer better process/performance ratios. Given the enormous amounts of data that travel companies have to churn through, and the relatively thin industry profit margins, the appeal of cheaper, faster big data technologies is obvious.

Big data has a vital role to play in delivering a more efficient and tailored travel experience, with benefits for both travel companies and travellers. However, its potential is still confined to early adopters in the travel sector, and more widespread consideration across the industry about how new approaches to big data can yield significant opportunities are required.

Santiago Jimenez

Director, Sub-Saharan Africa