Skip to 0 minutes and 0 secondsI've seen real life, both from the hotel side, when I worked in hotels and from the Expedia side, the advantage of using data , or changing the way that you use data. So anything from if you in 2019 as an accommodation provider, are going after an occupancy strategy, where you're only interested in filling your property. Looking at the other properties in that market and seeing what they're doing with their rates and always making sure that you're more competitive than anybody else, is a great way to fill your property and see the results of that.

Skip to 0 minutes and 30 secondsThen in 2020 if you wanted to change that strategy and go after a higher rated business, you then have the data to show, if I sell my rooms under this amount, I know I can fill my property, but if I sell them at this rate, I can sell less rooms but make more money at the end of the day. So I think I've seen, throughout my time at Expedia businesses, and this ranges from a 5 bedroom B and B to a 300 bedroom massive hotel, really see the benefits of using data. Another great example is maybe not knowing what customers are travelling to your market.

Skip to 1 minute and 4 secondsOr knowing what customers really like your hotel and being ahead of that curve, so we've seen in Edinburgh a great example of going after Chinese business and making sure that, hotels are educated on how to get that business. When they need to be promoting to those markets. That's a great example of a destination coming together, understanding the customers that are coming to their market and changing their booking strategy, to really accommodate that, the booking decisions made by Chinese customers.

Skip to 1 minute and 32 secondsLargely we've spent less time guessing and less time chasing a problem and more time being able to forecast and be proactive, about dealing with issues and challenges but also about seeing potential opportunities, and ways to get slightly ahead, of either our competitors or or just to keep us in that cutting edge space. The Fringe has that reputation of being a space where new things emerge, and it's really important that that's as much about the technology and the uses of data as it is about the content. So really data gives us the ability to actually see the reality of a situation, rather than to having to guess and to scrabble around in the weeds for too long.

Skip to 2 minutes and 8 secondsIt just makes us more effective and more efficient in that pro-active approach. Quite often people think about data as coming up with new ideas, but actually quite a lot of the time, it's actually about making things better. So access to data, if you think about transport data it's about anticipating and knowing when the visitors are coming in, which means that as an accommodation provider, you can have the right number of team there ready to welcome people on arrival, so I think it's really important.

Skip to 2 minutes and 32 secondsSome of the world's most successful businesses use data in a really interesting way and that's where they've really made their revenue, so people like Amazon and Netflix, they work predominantly through AI, so it's about reviewing and analysing booking behaviour. I think tourism and hospitality could really learn a lot from there. So you know, other people that looked or booked A.B.C. also looked at X.Y.Z. So really using data to fully understand your guest, or your visitors journey and looking how you can maximise that, both in terms of revenue but also the visitor experience is really important. How should a business engage with data?

Skip to 3 minutes and 7 secondsWell I think that one of the first things you need to do as a business is you need to identify where you've got problems, potentially within your business. You also need to identify where you think you've got opportunities, where you've got spare capacity for example. Once you begin to do that, you can think about the actual data points around those problems and around those opportunities. Once you've done that you can begin to analyse them. So really it is a step by step basis, using what you think are the issues and it may well actually be that actually you just need to find some data itself to discover what your problems and what your opportunities are.

Skip to 3 minutes and 45 secondsI know that might be a little bit back to front, but this is the beauty, what you will tend to find is, there'll be some assumptions that you make which are correct. But there will also be assumptions which you've made, which will be proved to be wrong by the data and actually that's one of the really valuable things that data can give you. It won't necessarily give you the answer that you want, but it will give you information that you can make good decisions off.

The importance of data-drivenness

In order to identify growth opportunities, drive innovation, operate more efficiently and manage risk in new ways, it is crucial that your business is data-driven. Data-drivenness is essentially about creating tools and abilities, but also developing a culture in your business to act on data.

People often think using data is about coming up with new ideas; however, more typically, it is more about selecting insights to make existing things better.

For example: Access to transport data is about anticipating demand and knowing when people are coming in. An accommodation provider can respond to this insight by employing the right number of staff ready to welcome people on arrival.

The tourism sector can learn a lot from companies driven by a data-mindset, including in other industries, where successful businesses use data in interesting ways to increase revenue or site traffic.

In this video you will hear about the business benefits you may derive from a data-driven mindset and how a culture of making data-driven decisions may improve your everyday business.

While watching the video, think about how changing the way you use data in the pursuit of an occupancy strategy. Could data-drivenness help you see the reality of a situation and spend less time guessing and more time being able to forecast and be proactive about issues and opportunities that arise? Are there businesses, perhaps in other industries, that you can think of that use data in interesting ways that you could take inspiration from?

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This video is from the free online course:

Understanding Data in the Tourism Industry

Edinburgh Napier University