Monday, April 21, 2014

On vacation with Big Data

According to recent statistics more than 90% of people in the USA spend their days within 30 miles of their home location. They define their daily circles around things they know and are familiar to them: their neighborhood, schools, shops, etc. We are all creatures of habit: chances are that what you do on a typically Monday will be repeated week after week with little variation until you go on vacation. Vacations are truly events of consequence because it is one of the few occasions where people disrupt their routine, it is quite common while on vacation for people to travel more than 30 miles from their home location, either by car, planes, boat or any other transportation method. While on vacation a person is away from the familiar and he/she is probably more open to visit new places, try new food, meet new people or just wander around.

If you think about, this is the perfect opportunity for an external party to influence you, your guard is relaxed and you want to have fun and experience new things. Hospitality companies are aware of this and are starting to use Big Data technologies to make sure you have the “best experience away from home” (alas it does not hurt if this “best experience” puts more money in the hospitality company pocket). Let us explore how Big Data is directing your experience.

Big data influence in your trip starts way before you book your trip. In fact, most hospitality companies today use advanced analytics to drive their marketing campaigns to match their offering/properties to customers/prospects interests and preferences. There is a probably a digital trail that you have created in any (and maybe all) of your previous trips. This digital cookie gives enough information to the hospitality companies to target you on a way where you are most likely to respond.

Once you have decided to stay at a particular property and book the trip, Big Data technologies are used to present you with “bundles” or “packages” that enhance your experience. It can be a combination of car plus your room, or include meals or events. The beauty of Big Data is that regardless if you select, ignore or reject the offering the hospitality industry keeps learning more and more about you and how you react to specific offerings.

When you check-in into the property, the Big Data analytics engine is right there with you; depending on your history with the company, management might offer you an upgrade or just recommend things for you to do around. Keep in mind that the hospitality company will try to entice you to stay longer at the property and consume their services rather than leaving the premises and risk you spending your hard earned dollars with the competition.

So next time you go on vacation, don’t be surprised if you find yourself trying a new experience that you would have never tried at home. After all you are on vacation with Big Data and it is up to you if you bring it back home with you.

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