Big Data - Delivering the Big Picture to Drive Competitiveness

What is the big thing about Big Data?  Everything!  Welcome to the brand new world of data generation and data mining.  Big Data is arguably the biggest opportunity, in a generation, for the travel and tourism industry to embrace the changing structure of data and maximize its use.  We all know that the Internet has changed our businesses tremendously.  How we look, book, pay for and even consume travel services, have changed dramatically.  With that change has come entire new ways of tracking and measuring travellers’ intent, behaviour, thought patterns, sensitivities, sensibilities, desires, fantasies and needs.  This means that, more than ever before, suppliers are better able to understand the behavioural patterns of their customers and competitors.  In addition, these data are easier than ever to produce, capture, collect, analyse, integrate and use.

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Big Data heralds a vast opportunity for all travel and tourism entities, equipping them with the tools to improve both the commercial and experiential sides of their businesses. As with any radical shift, however, the opportunities arrive hand-in-hand with the potential for significant challenges—challenges that Tourism Intelligence International (TII) describes as the four Cs: increased Competition, the need for new flows of Creativity and Content as well as the need to better understand and satisfy Customers.


At Tourism Intelligence International, we are committed to better understanding the impact of major trends in the travel and tourism industry and to facilitate decision-making in those critical areas most likely to deliver change.  Indeed, we have been tracking trends in travel and tourism for well over 30 years.  This “new” Big Data trend is one of many that will drive businesses to reinvent themselves, as the tour operators and travel agencies have had to do with the dawn of the Internet.  Some will win, but others will go out of business, if they do not adapt to and adopt Big Data.


So how can Big Data deliver the big picture to drive travel and tourism competitiveness?  The real gem of Big Data is the competitive power that it gives businesses to push the envelope on understanding consumer behaviour. This in turn creates the ability, par excellence, for businesses to predict, anticipate and exceed customer expectations in order to orchestrate the experience of a lifetime – the true raison détre of the travel and tourism business.


Big Data — Delivering the Big Picture to Drive Competitiveness points out that Big Data can be used as a fundamental tool for greater industry-wide innovation. Big Data demands big ideas and the courage to implement them.  Managing and analysing data is no longer an issue for IT departments alone; instead it is driving the travel and tourism industry’s business agenda.  But while the data is big and many large companies are at the forefront of the trend, it can be adopted by small and medium-sized enterprises as well, and in many cases, with little effort or expense.  So Big Data is not just for the big companies.  Big Data is for all of those companies—micro, small, medium, large and mega—and tourism destinations, that would like to understand their customers better, anticipate their needs and help them to deliver memorable and exceptional services.  In other words, it is for those companies that care about their customers and want to be in business for the long term.


Big Data will require the industry to address a number of challenges: the complexity of Information Technology (IT); the rapid and widespread diffusion of data; data accuracy, rights of use, protection and privacy issues; business and technological conformity; and the need for new talent such as Big Data analysts and data scientists. These are some of the key issues to address if we are to unlock the potential of Big Data to deliver the big picture to drive travel and tourism competitiveness.


Our report, Big Data — Delivering the Big Picture to Drive Competitiveness examines a number of companies both within and outside of the travel and tourism industry that are using Big Data in big ways, for example, British Airways, Kayak, Marriott, Macy’s, UPS, adMarketing and ReviewPro.  These examples deliver important insights into the challenges and opportunities in using Big Data to drive competitiveness.




About Tourism Intelligence International 3
The Authors 7
Preface 10
List of Figures 15
Definition of Terms 16
List of Acronyms 19
1. Executive Summary 20
2. Big Data – The New “Creative Gales of Destruction” 23
3. What is Big Data? 26
3.1. The Six Core Characteristics of Big Data Processing 26
3.2. The Three Pillars of Big Data Management 31
4. Why is Big Data Important? 35
5. Big Data is Big for Travel & Tourism 39
6. Big Data Drives Competitiveness 49
7. The Big Data Technology Landscape 52
8. A Guide to Big Data Suppliers 55
8.1. Key Players in the Big Data Market 55
9. The Internet and Big Data 59
10. Big Data on the Go 62
11. Big Data in Action – Case Studies 64
11.1. The UPS Example 64
11.2. Macy’s Big Story with Big Data 65
11.3. The Kayak Case 67
11.4. Big Data at British Airways 69
11.5. Marriott - Making the Most of Big Data 71
11.6. adMarketplace – Reinvention Through Big Data Application 73
11.7. The Target Case—Big Data Leads to Big Embarrassment 74
12. Is Big Data for Big Companies Only? 77
12.1. The Case of ReviewPro 77
13. Big Data Limitations and Risks 81
14. The Future of Big Data 85
15. Big Data and the Big Picture for Travel and Tourism 92
16. Twenty Big Data Strategies for Travel and Tourism 102
17. A Guide to Big Data Implementation 119
18. Conclusion 121
19. Bibliography 123


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