Big Data – Just a Marketing Gag?

Big Data is omnipresent. Statements such as “Data is the new oil,” and “Data is the salt of modern merchants,” show how valuable data has become. But what is so important about this data? The majority of hotel managers will have no answer to these questions, although they should.

Big Data is more than the rapid increase of data, although it builds the foundation. According to forecasts the amount of data will increase 50-times from 2010 to 2020.

In business context the question is how data can be used to enhance the products and services offered or to even develop new products, also how Big Data will change the way hotels interact with their customers on and off-site.

The following checklist should help to handle the challenge of Big Data:

  • Create a central data warehouse which is built for Big Data and integrates all relevant data sources.
  • Focus on data quality. Comprehensive data cleansing goes beyond the correction of addresses. Without sophisticated data cleansing processes wrong data is created, which leads to wrong analysis results and thus wrong decisions (garbage in – garbage out).
  • Interfaces are key in the creation of a central data warehouse. Evaluate your current and future system providers by its interface policy. The more open the better. Software companies in the hotel industry should follow the HTNG rules.
  • Professional multi-channel campaign management is necessary to implement a synchronized and effective communication strategy and is the only possibility to avoid over-communication (boomerang effect).
  • Tagging is the keyword for linking data from different resources. It is recommendable to link all data from the PMS through the campaign management system to the behavior in your e-communication and on your website in order to learn how to best interact with the guest. Close the loop with an integrated system and tagged data.
  • Follow the examples of the OTA’s or Amazon and enrich your guest profiles continuously. Only through the usage of Big Data you avoid to spam your customers with tedious mails. Do not fall into the content trap.
  • Ensure your marketing people have the analytical and technology skills required in a Big Data environment.
  • Do not follow all trends. Let others make their experiences, draw your own conclusions and then create a sustainable model adapted to your individual business case.

Big Data is not just a trend. It will definitely change the way companies will work and interact. Technology is not the only success factor within Big Data initiatives. Technology is the enabler; the quality of the people involved however drives the success.

To summarize – Big Data means to draw useful information from the existing amounts of data to create “Smart Data” and to become a “Smart Company.”

Graduate MBA, Mr. Michael Toedt is Managing Partner and CEO of Toedt, Dr. Selk & Coll. He is responsible for the fields of marketing technology, consulting and data protection. Here you can find further information about Michael Toedt and also some publications.

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