Cap Gemini group travel director Vitold Horodecki advised GBTA delegates to use his 'three golden rules' for making the most of their data, during a session at the GBTA Europe conference in Prague.
He said his first rule followed the “garbage in, garbage out” principle: buyers should look carefully at the sources of their data, its accuracy and reliability. Because a "small critical piece that's incorrect can pollute the rest of your data." He said this meant having standards for data were critical.
“My second golden rule is the less sources, the better,” said Horodecki.
He added that consolidating as much information as possible within the same database meant consistency, which was the key to reliable projections and analysis.
His third rule was “don't over-report, and keep to the point”. He said he applied the “five-minute attention rule” when reporting to his chief financial officer. “He's a busy guy, if I don't capture his attention in the first five minutes then I have lost him,” explained Horodecki.
BCD Travel’s research director Claudia Unger cited five ‘Vs’ that defined the relevancy of big data in managed travel: volume, variety, velocity, veracity and value.
She said the variety element included 'unstructured', or 'sentimental' data such as that gathered from the likes of Twitter, Facebook and internal social media platforms, which can help with analysis.
On the issue of veracity, she highlighted research showing nearly one in three business leaders “believe the information they have to base decisions on is not accurate, it's a big concern for a lot of people”.
Unger also pointed to another eye-catching statistic – poor data quality costs the US economy an estimated $3.1 trillion a year.
Cap Gemini's Horodecki said his company's strategy was to use data to determine total trip costs, then add to this information around GDP, inflation and business growth to create predictive data and forecasting.
“It's not rocket science,” he said.
BCD's Unger added that visualisation of data “can change behaviour”, showing an example of a heat map clearly illustrating fare prices around a public holiday, which made it easy for travellers to quickly make good choices of travel dates.
“Reporting data is what we've done in the past - organising data to monitor performance,” said Unger.
“Analysis is up and coming – exploring data to extract meaningful insights. For example, analysis can show where there is correlation between sales and travel, which links to the ROI of business travel.”