TTE 2012: The emergence of ‘Big Data’

TTE 2012: The emergence of ‘Big Data’

The emergence of ‘Big Data’ is poised to revolutionise the way mass market products are sold to individuals in a personalised way.

Managing director of travel analytics specialist QuBit Graham Cooke told a Travolution seminar at Travel Technology Europe that the trend will turn 100 years of traditional mass market production and selling on its head.

Cooke estimated that data volumes are set to grow eight-fold over the next few years, giving marketers the opportunity to tailor their marketing campaigns to individual preferences.

He dismissed the issue of cookie regulations, set to be introduced in the UK in May, saying that this new form of personalised marketing was actually in the interests of consumers and they would be happy to allow some of their data to be freely available.

Cooke said new forms of data capture and analytics are allowing firms to better understand the intentions of the browser in a way that could never be achieved offline.

“The internet enables [customers] to communicate with the businesses that create products, that design your holidays.

“At the same time we have also got the ability to market to people individually and create an individual marketing message based on exactly the kind or person you are and what motivates you.”

Cooke said this new era, based on the Bayesian probability model that can determine the likelihood of a potential customer being interested in a particular product, will take online retailing beyond the current recommendation model as successfully pioneered by the likes of Amazon.

“We live in extremely exciting times to be seeing this,” he said. “The next step in personalisation is about understanding intent and building an algorithm around what users are thinking.

“Why is recommendation not quite there? Because we are not being recognised as individual customers. Firms are failing to tackle the huge volumes of data that exists online. All we are really seeing today is cross-selling.

“Amazon is just a recommendation based on what other people have bought. It’s just a rules-based collaborative recommendation system.

“What we are starting to figure out more about online browsers, based on the items they have looked at, is what their preferences are. The online world can harness that in a way the offline world cannot.”

Cooke said the huge amounts of data generated today it not granular enough, is too disparate and data sets are put into silos so they do not talk to each other.

He said travel firms wanting to optimise their use of data must collect the right sort of information, look for data links, develop personas so they know who their most valuable customers are, question why each set of data is being collected and prioritised and to start doing all those things now.

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