Tourism and big data: for each other

Massive data management has become a crucial ally to improve the offer of tourism services and facilitate the recovery of the industry after the pandemic. The use of Big Data and management tools allows tourism companies to take advantage of data as raw material to develop effective strategies and gain a competitive advantage. The precise and holistic collection of data, from the origin to the preferences and behaviors of tourists, makes it possible to predict future needs and personalize services. In addition, the ability to share and combine data between different entities and organizations provides a more complete picture of tourists and facilitates agile decision making and the development of adapted products and services.

Massive data management is the perfect ally to achieve a better offer of tourist services. After the pandemic hit, technology is the most effective partner for recovery.

Big Data and tools for the management and administration of large volumes of data have gradually become great allies of the tourism industry. The digital transformation completely crosses companies in this sector regardless of their size and data is the raw material when drawing up strategies that have a positive impact on the business and allow a competitive differential.

 All this has even made much more sense considering the blow that the COVID-19 pandemic has meant for the industry. The global restrictions on mobility generated enormous losses for the sector: only in Spain, the income decreased by 77% in 2020, with almost less than 90 million international tourists and lower spending by 80% compared to 2019. Let's not forget that this is a key and essential sector in the Spanish economy, for which reason the role of technology becomes essential to underpin its recovery and long-term growth.

Yes, until a few years ago data collection in the tourism industry was carried out through surveys, studies or information from documents or forms that tourists decided to fill out voluntarily, Technologies such as Big Data allow a more precise and holistic record of all the actions and activities of tourists, in order to convert all this data into useful information to define more effective strategies and optimize sales.

From the origin to the types of accommodation, going through the most frequent visits, the most chosen places, the length of stay, the most frequent trips or transfers between cities or the level of average spending, being able to count on all this volume of information, analyze and segment it allows predict future expectations and needs of people. To this is added the information coming from apps developed by hotels, museums, airports or other points of interest, all sensitive and essential data. to understand how people move when they travel. Beyond the apps themselves, another great source of information is the geolocation of mobile phones, since it is possible to determine how each phone "travels" (where it sleeps, where it works, where it stays) allowing a full understanding of the customer's journey. Additionally, another huge source of data is social networks, as well as rating pages such as TripAdvisor or Google My Business itself.

Another of the great advantages of applying Big Data to the tourism sector is the possibility of share and cross data between different entities and organizations. From the hotel industry to the information from the different means of transport, the tourism chambers or the data held by the public entities that manage the tourism sectors, it is possible to combine all the information from these different sources. What is achieved as a result it is a more accurate and comprehensive picture of the behaviors and preferences of tourists. 

The detection of patterns or trends that emerge from all this information streamlines decision-making or the development of products and services that serve to attract more customers and retain existing ones with tailored offers.

It is important not to lose sight of the fact that until a few years ago the success differential of the tourism industry was more associated with price. In addition, there was very little segmentation; in general, the offer of tourist services tended to be more homogeneous.

 Today, price is not the only decision driver: personalization is a growing value, in addition, experiences are valued as a key element when organizing trips or vacations. Anticipating the needs and preferences of tourists is one of the keys to the success of the sector. It is the client who has to be at the center of the entire strategy and the personalization and segmentation of tourist services.are more effective through efficient data management.

Julio Cesar Blanco – October 13, 2022

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