Skip to 0 minutes and 0 secondsI think businesses would need to focus on, sort of, it depends where they are currently, with the information they have. So as I said, so small steps you know, so building up a data bank, depends on what you have, you know now, and where you want to get to, I think it depends on your starting points. So like I said we started with data that, initially just showed us the, you know where people were coming from, perhaps what age they were, but even that wasn't very accurate. So I think just starting to get the basics and then developing those insights as your business sort of, either grows, or you can spend more time.

Skip to 0 minutes and 40 secondsThere are always priorities for each business and getting those right and those foundations in early, will help you, sort of decide where your priority for data is for the future. So my advice, I think, to most businesses starting out on this kind of data journey if you will, is to begin with thinking about some of your problems, Begin thinking about areas where there are certain opportunities and then begin to try and understand, the data points that you might be able to collect, to help inform decisions around those areas.

Skip to 1 minute and 11 secondsOnce you've got that information, you can collate it, you can collect it, you can start to analyze it and then once you've done that, you can begin to make intelligent decisions from that information. How should a business engage with data? Well, I think 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 and 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, and once you've done that you can begin to analyze them.

Skip to 1 minute and 43 secondsSo really it is a step by step basis, using what you think are the issues and it may well actually be, that actually just err... you actually need to find some data itself, to discover what your problems and what your opportunities are. I know that might be a little bit back-to-front, but this is the beauty. What you'll tend to find is, there'll be some assumptions that you make which are correct, but there'll 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.

Skip to 2 minutes and 11 secondsIt won't always necessarily the answer that you want, but it will give you information that you can make good decisions off. In terms of collecting, or in terms of having a data strategy for your business. Every business has their own particular personal problems, particular issues, particular opportunities and every business will be completely different. What you can do as a business though, to begin to identify and work out what those problems and opportunities are from there you need to actually begin to work out, what the sort of data sets you need to collect are? What's achievable? What you would like to have?

Skip to 2 minutes and 43 secondsOnce you've begun to collect the data, you need to actually have tools to sit down and analyze the data and once you began to analyze, then you can begin to actually make the good decisions, that are going to help your business. So data strategy sounds like this big, huge, kind of scary thing, especially for an SME. But actually once you break it down into its component parts, it's pretty simple to to enact. My advice would be like, start with the end goal. If you want to attract more American customers to your property, it's really looking at when those American customers book. So you have to work backwards from your goal is American customers, so when do they book?

Skip to 3 minutes and 20 secondsHow long do they book for? How many people are travelling? What's the average rate that they spend every night in that area? and how much of a percentage are there American customers to that area? And that will really tell you first of all, is it worthwhile and then, how do I go about getting that business into my property? So I would say always start with, this is the problem that I want to solve and then work backwards from there and you'll usually find that, that problem will be solved pretty quickly.

Get started - look at what you have

This video contains advice on how to start thinking about your data.

Key to embarking on a data journey is to begin with the problems you have as a business and areas where there are opportunities and from that think about the data points that you might collect to inform decisions around those areas.

Activity/Discussion

What particular problems/issues do you have with your business that data would be able to help solve?

Replay the start of the video and listen again to what Sarah from Musselburgh Race Course says, how much data do you currently have access to? Is that sufficient to help answer those identified problems? If not, what more data do you need and how might you be able to collect this. Share your thoughts through the comments on this step.

The purpose of this activity is really just to get you started about thinking in a data-driven manner and identify potential data gaps some of which may be easier to solve than other. Do not worry about resolving this problems at this stage

We will look further at additional sources of data in week 4.

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This video is from the free online course:

Understanding Data in the Tourism Industry

Edinburgh Napier University