In the tourist context, data has always been collected: reporting data, website access, bookings, etc. Sometimes the data was also analyzed and, if necessary, activities were derived. But data only becomes “smart” when it's put in relation to each other and a real network is created. To make this possible, data has to be fetched from silos and processed. This is called data cleansing and consolidation. Only then can they be evaluated and related to each other – and thus become “smart”. But in the context of data, it's not just about reports and analysis – nowadays, systems offer real-time monitoring. This also enables short-term activities (price adjustments, resource planning, visitor guidance, etc.). In addition, data can also be used to make forecasts or even generate simulations: What if a campaign was launched? How does the booking come about when the price is increased by 10%? What if the temperature in March is 5 degrees above average? With historical data and the corresponding algorithms, such scenarios can help to derive activities for future developments as best as possible today.
What data is smart data about?
The word "data" is often used synonymously with "content" in the tourist context. A lot has been written and discussed about “Open Data” in the last few months – like here at the BÖTM Top Seminar in October.
But content – editorial texts, videos etc. as well as structural data such as addresses, opening times, etc. – are only a small part that has to be considered for a data strategy. From our experience, at least these areas are relevant for tourism organizations:
- Clean data collection and tracking
- Sales data/booking data including sociodemographic and origin segmentation
- Data networking of search engine advertising with search engine optimization
- Data-driven marketing and programmatic advertising
- Networking guest data with advertising data
- Combination with weather and mode of transport data
In addition, of course, with all the data, it must be ensured that data protection is observed. This has not been made easier by the GDPR and will certainly be regulated even more strongly by the upcoming ePrivacy regulation.
Furthermore, a lot of information about the current needs of potential guests is only available in text form, whether feeds, incoming e-mails, web forms or posts in social networks – these unstructured sources also offer important insights. Smart tourism data analyses aim to identify the “right” data, to filter the really important things correctly and to put them in the right relation to your own tasks and goals.
But "a lot of data" is not automatically "good" data. In order to filter this good or meaningful data, it requires tourism expertise, experience and the ability to interpret data from tourism analyses. Individual solutions and ideas are needed to derive dynamic activities, initiatives and projects from static information.
Data offensive at Saint Elmo's
We meet these challenges with our newly created department of data specialists. As head and chief data officer in Vienna, Olaf Nitz will in the future provide advice on all topics relating to data management, strategies and data-driven marketing. After working for a number of different agencies, Olaf headed the Internet strategy of Österreich Werbung for three years until 2012. He then started at Erste Bank as an innovation analyst: From 2015 to 2019, he headed the digital marketing department including digital channel management, was responsible for the success of the internet banking software “George” and built up the digital sales area. He will now bring his expertise in data-driven performance advertising and the networking of data to increase efficiency to the advice of our customers.
“On the one hand, the goal is to provide guests with an optimal, individually perfect experience. For this purpose, data is used that enables personalization – in communication and the experience itself. On the other hand, we want to increase the added value of our customers. Data-driven marketing makes communication much more efficient and internal processes can be simplified through data interfaces,” says Olaf about his new position at Saint Elmo's Tourismusmarketing.