April 24, 2024

Data in detail at Advantage Focus event

With Brexit banned from the agenda, the emphasis at the Advantage Focus Partnership meeting this week was "the good, the bad and the ugly" of data strategy in the travel industry.

The event included a clutch of presentations from TMCs and data solutions providers, plus an open panel discussion, with delegates being told by Chris Lewis, CEO of Travelogix: “Don’t let the likes of GDPR, PCI and all of the other buzzwords scare you off data.

“It’s absolutely critical that TMCs embrace data, and use the right platforms to consolidate that data, analyse it and then make changes.”

Lewis took to the stage to talk about the IT developer’s new Farecast tool aimed at making it easier for TMCs to analyse data.

The data collection platform has already been installed at 58 Focus Partnership sites, where commercial teams can create different data sets to examine market behaviour and make informed decisions.

Demonstrating the product, Lewis said: “It gives you the organisation and data required to give you the edge over your competitors.”

Mark Colley from Sunway Travel, which has been trialling the program, said it has already been really useful to the business.

IATA’s Senior Manager for Business Intelligence Projects, Juan Oliver, introduced the organisation’s Direct Data Solutions (DDS) program to delegates – an aviation data hub currently in development.

He said IATA is in the unique position of managing wide data sets across international borders so the organisation has the opportunity to create ‘data lakes’.

Combined with technology and business knowledge, it could be a huge force for good as a source of market intelligence for TMCs, he said.

Meanwhile, the retiring CEO of the GTMC, Adrian Parkes, followed up with a lively presentation on how TMCs can use data to their advantage to understand customers and their needs, to understand their competition, and think beyond the transaction.

“The data is an enabler. The value of the data is not the data itself but what you do with it,” he said.

The organisation celebrated its 20th anniversary with an evening reception and dinner for its TMC members and partners at Altitude London.