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Big Data Meets the Hospitality Industry: A Revolution in Marketing and Communications

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Click here to learn more about Dr. Rahul Razdan.

Perhaps the industry most awash in data is the one few people would imagine as so dependent on interpreting – and applying – that collection of ones and zeroes into actionable intelligence.

I refer to the hospitality industry – including hoteliers and their respective executives – that will use Big Data to transform the way various properties market to business and leisure travelers.

This revolution is, in fact, a twofold phenomenon: On the one hand, there is the sheer amount of data that is now available, including information about individual travelers and corresponding groups worldwide; while, on the other, the cost of analyzing and dissecting that data is now accessible to all because it is affordable for all.

I write these words from experience, since I am a strong advocate of the democratization of data. For it is that very event – the freedom to have professionals provide, translate and deploy targeted marketing campaigns on behalf of international hotel chains and boutique resorts – that will revolutionize our perception of Big Data, taking it from a (mostly) academic subject to an issue of practical importance.

Picture, for instance, the ability to customize messaging to each patron based on that individual’s “digital profile,” so to speak; to know when, where – and why – to reach this guest or that traveler; to know how to have a sustained conversation with a current or prospective vacationer, according to that man’s proclivity toward sightseeing or that woman’s preference for in-room dining.

Within the data – within those layers of numbers and otherwise indecipherable material – is a treasure trove of information that will spur the rise of micro-marketing; a real-time exchange of ideas, run and reviewed by data scientists, and marketing and design experts, who can make advertising (or media relations) more effective and less expensive.

Hotel executives are a critical part of this movement, a prime example of how one set of professionals can restore – or finally offer – the immediacy of relevant news, to a specific traveler, with the intimacy of a genuine conversation.

Gone is the standard verbiage of a press release, or the marketing boilerplate of a typical corporate announcement. Either one may attract a lot of impressions, while failing to make an impression. That is, without the data to craft a customized assortment of messages – without the freedom to simultaneously market to very different consumers – hoteliers will only have a message that (presumably) applies to everyone but speaks to no one.

We need the data to reveal the essential truths about every guest, so we can communicate sincerely to every would-be guest. Look for the hospitality industry to be at the forefront of this movement. Look to hoteliers and hotel executives to be the champions of this cause. Look to the measurable rewards of the use of Big Data, and celebrate these advantages to other industries throughout the United States and elsewhere. Look to the intersection of data science and commerce because, within that zone of theory and practice, there is a renaissance afoot.

Transformational by design, and revolutionary in its implications, this surplus of numbers – this vast amount of data – will upend businesses, strengthen others and reform many more still.

Welcome to the inviting – and hospitable – world of Big Data.

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