Once data was something that was merely collected and recorded – now, data should influence the entire business approach. In travel, we are leaving the data entry era and moving towards the age of data governance, or the big data era. Data governance is the ability to keep up with the security, privacy, and quality issues of big data.
Big data presents significant opportunities for the travel industry. Customers generate data at every point in the purchasing process, from research to booking, through to loyalty programs. Most big players in the industry are aware of the value of data, but there are still plenty of companies lacking in optimizing data management.
In 2017, EyeforTravel reported that 65% of travel enterprises have a dedicated data team, with three-quarters of those organizations projecting that they will increase their investment in analytics over the next year.
Despite these significant investments, many businesses are not engaging deeply enough with the potential of advanced analytics. Currently, much of the data collected is in its raw, unstructured state. Before data experts can extract intelligence, data needs to be captured, crunched, and visualized. Although a dedicated analysis team is a start, exploiting data to its fullest potential requires internal and external collaboration.
Subsequently, companies can begin to foster a data-driven company culture. Below, we discuss the four most significant data challenges companies need to address to remain relevant in the shift from data entry to data governance era, and the difference between the ages.
The difference between the Data Entry Era and the Data Governance Era
Data governance includes the agreements, policies, accountabilities you make about data management to encourage the desired behavior in the use of data. While with data entry is just the process of inputting data into a computer using devices. In the Data Entry era, this task was sufficient.
However, in the new day and age, the Data Governance era, it’s not sufficient anymore to have one clerk who does the data entry. In this modern era, it’s all about encouraging all your employees to use data correctly. This brings some challenges to it.
The important thing about data governance is that it is encouraging businesses to make agreements and policies about the data used in their company, regarding the quality, privacy, or users. These disciplines are crucial because everyday data gets bigger, and we get access to more data sources, containing private information.
In the data entry era, a lot of data was still loaded manually by humans. Nowadays, we have systems and cutting edge software that does this f
or us, ensuring quality and eliminating errors.
Challenges of the shift
1. Dirty data entry
Perhaps the principal obstacle in the travel sector is ‘dirty’ data entry – unreliable, incomplete, or unstructured data sets. Although this is true for many industries, it presents a particular issue for travel as it is such a data-intensive industry. Furthermore, the dirty data issue is becoming increasingly pressing as new apps, IoT devices, and AI generates yet more data in an already saturated landscape.
Several factors can produce inaccurate or incomplete data. However, in order to undergo an efficient, effective data cleaning project, companies need to pool existing data into a single storage system. Once any new data entry is diverted to this single confined, consistent data lake, the analysis team can extract useful information. Furthermore, unified, integrated systems are more navigable for every member of staff, promoting more streamlined workflows.
2. Data discipline
As companies move from the data entry to the data governance era, working practices need to augment. This means fostering a nuanced, disciplined attitude to data. For instance, travel professionals need to be aware of the pitfalls of confounding variables. These data sets can introduce unnecessary variance and even bias, without having any real relationship to the dependent variable. As a result, the team may draw misleading conclusions from seemingly correlative data. To avoid situations like this, companies need to apply rigorous, disciplined data analysis methodologies.
To gain a complete insight into the customer journey, the travel industry needs to develop more advanced psychological assessment technology. Numerous factors affect a customer’s purchase decisions – however, one thing the sector can be certain about is that customers what their digital booking experience to be fast. Therefore, companies should invest in more streamlined, customer-centric platforms and processing frameworks. From here, companies can begin to harvest more relevant, actionable data, faster.
It’s a fact that 70% of travel companies struggle with the amount and quality of data that is available and needs to be captured, stored, and analyzed. Additionally, they don’t store all the data generated by them or third-parties, which would be rightfully theirs. This causes them to miss out on plenty of new insights, daily.
Therefore, travel companies should invest in a data storage system that can store all of their big data, which could be a data warehouse or data lake. After they have a place to store all the data they capture, travel companies should invest in software that helps them capture and utilize all the data they generate.
Customer-centric data cultures
Data is driving the evolution of the travel industry. As such, companies need to adopt institutional practices in response to these developments. Data presents challenges – but with investment in data capturing software, data entry systems, data interpretation training, cross-department collaboration, and technological innovation, the travel industry can begin to leverage the intelligence needed to serve the customer better.