How is Big Data Changing the Tourism Industry?

August 16, 2017
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Research from the World Travel and Tourism Council shows big data is transforming the global tourism industry. According to the WTTC whitepaper, some of the changes are beneficial to the industry, while others are discouraging some people from traveling.

Tourism companies need to understand these implications and find a strategy to deal with them.

Travelers are more informed than ever before. Big data allows them to share information with their peers over social media. It also allows brands and government agencies to share important travel information.

How has digital information affected the travel industry? Here are several major changes over the last few years.

First finding: Big data is making people less willing to take risks.

People know more about the world than ever before. They can study foreign cities in great detail to learn about the primary attractions and risks. This may influence Bosnia Tourism and other travel to other areas.

Unfortunately, this information has scared some people away from traveling. They have learned about diseases, crime and dangerous animals in many parts of the world.

The report found that 67% of millennials prioritize safety over adventure. This is a significant change from previous generations.

Of course, not all regions are harmed by increased risk-aversion. Digital information has shown that many areas are safer than most people believe. According to CNN, people are more comfortable staying in Istanbul, Turkey than they used to be, since new information shows it isn’t as dangerous as previously believed.

“Thankfully for risk-averse tourists, most of Istanbul’s top attractions such as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace, are located in Sultanahmet, far from the heart of the protests in Taksim Square. ‘Istanbul is as appealing as ever,’ insists one local. ‘Much like a beautiful woman, but with smudged mascara.’”

Second finding: People are more willing to assimilate than they used to be

Historically, travelers valued individualism. They held onto their own cultural preferences while traveling abroad.

This is still true to some extent, but modern travelers are much more likely to adapt to the native culture. They are more self-conscious of their differences. The WTTC found that 60% of customers felt they should only be a little different from the people they are visiting.

Third finding: People have much more detailed itineraries

People plan their trips in much more detail these days. They are far more familiar with the attractions in other countries, so they will go out of their way to find them.

This has significantly helped many small businesses in remote tourist centers. People often share reviews of small restaurants and hotels on Facebook and Instagram.

How Can Tourism Brands Respond?

Tourism brands can play an important role in shaping decisions of travelers.  They need to understand the changing desires of their customers and share information that influences their decisions.

Since younger travelers are becoming more concerned about safety, brands should record safety metrics such as crime rates and incidences of disease outbreaks for various regions. Proactive travel companies can encourage customers to travel to areas that are perceived to be safer.