It would be almost impossible to overstate the transformative potential of big data to the travel industry. Big data is arguably the biggest opportunity in a generation for travel businesses to embrace the changing structure of data and maximize 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. As with any generational shift in technology, however, the opportunities arrive handin- hand with the potential for significant disruption, which naturally bring many challenges – competitive and creative – for our industry to consider.
At Amadeus, we are committed to understanding better the impact of major trends in our industry and to facilitate discussion on those issues most likely to deliver change. This independent study, authored by Professor Thomas H. Davenport, highlights that the 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. What is it that makes big data such a powerful idea? First, big data can provide insights that help deliver a more intelligent travel experience than has ever been possible before. Whereas structured data has historically been divided between different silos, be they systems or companies, harnessing both unstructured and structured data promises a more integrated view of our industry. This offers travel companies the opportunity to enhance current industry processes, push innovation and build better relationships with their customers.There is an equally important opportunity to ‘put the fun back into travel’, which at its very heart is about improving the passenger experience. Big data can help to make travel more responsive and focused around traveler needs and preferences. As highlighted in the study, big data can be the foundation for greater industry-wide innovation. Big data demands big ideas and the courage to implement them. Managing and analyzing data is no longer an issue for IT departments alone, instead it is driving the travel industry’s business agenda. Of course, big data will require the industry to address a number of challenges: Technology complexity; data accuracy and rights of use; business and technological alignment; the need for data specialists. These will all be key issues to address if we are to unlock the potential of big data.
There is a substantial incentive to be restless in addressing these challenges as the potential benefits are so significant. Big data means big opportunities, not just now but in the decades ahead. At Amadeus, we look forward to supporting the travel industry as the big data evolution progresses.