Big data is a fashionable concept and Europe is just at the beginning of this phenomenon, could travel data be the next “online marketing” of the industry?

If you compare the interest over time of the topics “online marketing travel” and “big data travel” you can find many similarities between the first search in 2007 and the second in 2013.

NB: This is a viewpoint from Jose Luis Cordoba, director of Andalucia Lab, the tourism innovation centre for the destination and part of the destination’s marketing organisation.

andalucia lab search

It is evident that when something becomes fashionable there is background noise that makes it very difficult to get to the essence of the idea and figure out the real importance of the concept.

Considering this, we should not lose perspective about big data – it is about data analysis, but includes a new (and important) aspect, huge amounts of data that requires new methods and new quantitative units.

Data analysis helps organizations to make better decisions, shedding light on what is happening and what is probably going to happen. This is a key aspect to optimize the use of our limited resources, for example when we decide to assign our marketing budget.

There are at least three reasons that explain why big data is rocking the business models – the availability of a huge and increasing amount of data, better storage and processing capabilities and more interest in measuring and maximising the return on the actions that we develop.

In the travel industry the potential of big data to improve the decision making processes is outstanding. It is, as we all know, an information intensive industry (big data raw material) and mature in the internet, which provides a huge amount of data from clients´ web surfing and online travel agencies (prices, products descriptions, etc).

However, we should not forget another source of material available – the increasing content generated and shared by the tourists: photos, reviews, etc.

Because of all mentioned reasons above, it is no coincidence that August Capital invested $12 million in Adara, a company focused on travel that works to transform customer data (purchase patterns, life stages, lifestyle, demographics, etc) into additional revenue. We also should pay attention to moves by companies such as Amadeus into Big Data.

Andalucia Lab’s main goal is to help SME’s from the travel industry and other DMOs in Andalucía to succeed in the new Digital economy, providing them with the same opportunities as big corporations.

We believe that as we did before with online marketing, we must help our users to embrace the big data topic to maintain their competitiveness.

Trying to be as helpful as possible and taking advantage of all information available, our medium term target is to build an information map that delivers a detailed picture of the current tourism landscape including companies providing tourism services, prices, reviews, tourists origin and so on.

The aim is a 360 degree synthetic and comprehensive view that helps them to make better informed and effective decisions.

This is an ambitious and complex challenge and our first step has been to draw a picture of the online reputation of hotels in Andalucia’s main destinations including Cordoba, Seville, Granada and the Costa del Sol.

We have elected this first step because the online reputation of hotels is undoubtedly a key factor to determine the revenue of hotels and destinations.

During May 2014 we analyzed 793 hotels and 400,000 reviews were obtained detailing average rate and opinions depending on category and location. We also identified seven key topics: food & beverage, rooms, facilities, cleaning, price/quality, service and location.

The result is different maps and charts that offer a complete and concise snapshot of Andalucia hotels’ online reputation. The maps and charts can be personalized depending on different criteria.

It is also interesting to observe the number of hotels that are scored in each level for the considered attributes (chart below), the results can be modified selecting the hotel´s category.

andalucia lab attributes

All results are available here or you can ask for more details by emailing

For Andalucia this is the beginning of a necessary project, that can be enriched with new variables, time evolution and new sources, and one that is essential to maintain destinations and SME’s in the fast lane of the travel industry.

NB: This is a viewpoint from Jose Luis Cordoba, director of Andalucia Lab, the tourism innovation centre for the destination and part of the destination’s marketing organisation.

NB2: Big data image via Shutterstock.

Original author: Special Nodes