Use data instead of collecting it – three options for the tourism industry

08.08.2019

Data – a valuable resource, advertising pool, or infrastructure? In the new study “Out and about with smart assistants,” GDI researchers developed three data employment strategies for the tourism industry.

This text is an excerpt of the GDI study “Out and about with smart assistants–A scenario for travelling in the future

Data, data and more data–today, nothing works without it . But what is the point  of measuring, collecting, or buying data without knowing how to use it? Using the tourism industry as an example, GDI researchers show how to use data successfully.

Own channels–“data as a resource”
If data is regarded as a valuable resource–the new oil–then it makes no sense to share it . Instead, use it yourself to deliver  the best possible information and services to customers through your own channels. In terms of  of a smart assistant, it could be accessed via terminals in landmarks, run via apps and websites, or be integrated into personal smart assistants via platforms like SingularityNET.

If you want to distribute data for customers via your own channels, it’s imperative to possess as much customer data as possible.This is the only way in which you can offer the right information to the right customers. Regarding data about customers, regional players could never possess the comprehensive data owned by international giants, like Booking.com. Nevertheless, it’s important to gather as much data as possible to personalise services. An app, for example, would make it possible to collect more data about customers than a similar offering that is limited to a particular region. If the app recognises the customer across different sectors (for example in a restaurant versus in the car park), the data collected customer is more varied ; versatility increases the chance customers will actually use what’s on offer.

Platforms–“data as content”
With this type of use, it is primarily a matter of spreading your own content as widely as possible. Large platforms like WeChat are used to distribute. In this scenario, you don’t need to worry about customer data, because the big platforms already possess it , and they want to ensure the right content is shown to the right customers.

This model simply requires you ensure as much data as possible for guests is transferred to the appropriate platforms in the appropriate formats. It’s important you don’t get left behind when new developments happen. You don’t want to miss the emergence of platforms in growth markets, new interfaces with augmented reality, or for smart assistants. Most data is provided by the service providers or the customers themselves. In these cases, DMOs function primarily as enablers. They can keep service providers informed about the latest developments and ensure their data is high quality. They can help service providers understand social media dynamics so they can display their content in the right places. And it’s even possible that professional photographic materials could be placed at the disposal of service providers, or even customers, so their destination is seen at its best. For example, some restaurants and hotels lend out tripods and lighting so customers can take the best possible photos of their meals or the view from the hotel, and then post them on Instagram.

Open data–“data as infrastructure”
Data for guests can be seen as an infrastructure that is openly networked and made available to everyone. As in the platform scenario, coordinating the data–deciding who can see which data–is done by third parties. The difference here is the open-data scenario does not involve being dependent on monopolies like Booking.com. You define the standard for yourself instead of letting a giant tech company prescribe it to you. What is important is you choose a data standard in collaboration with sufficient other players so that your standard achieves widespread use.

By opening up data, you also create space for innovation. With sufficient volume of open, standardised data, everyone can relatively easily program an app that can show, for example, all the vegan or gluten-free restaurants on a map. As smart assistants get smarter, you won’t even need an app for this, because the assistant could search for this data itself. If as much data as possible is freely accessible, this will promote the development of smart assistants. Companies such as Google or Booking.com have a head start in data volume, but access to open data could mean alternative smart assistants could hold their own against the competition.