Last week I was fortunate to be able to attend the Adventures in Big Data event held for people working within the Tourism industry. This event was held at Swansea University and organised by Visit Wales.
Given the educational journey I am on within the field of Big Data at the moment, it was fantastic to find an event so close to home, even if it was not focused on the technology. In fact, I've spent so much time immersed in learning about the technology and theory behind "Big Data" recently it was a welcome change to see some actual use cases and meet people who were interested in how they can make use of data to improve their businesses and marketing.
Many were interested in tracking visitors to see where they spent their time and perhaps drive customers to specific locations of interest that they might not otherwise have found, others wanted to gather intelligence to support a business case such as keeping shops open longer in the evenings. One common theme however was that a lot of people simply didn't know what questions they needed answers to, a fundamental piece of the puzzle.
It was apparent to many, that "Big Data" would hold the answers to improving their business, to driving more tourists to their region and to learning what people want when they book their holidays. Unfortunately most didn't understand where to find this data, how to collect their own data, what public sources of data were available or how to use the data when they eventually managed to get their hands on it.
More events of this kind would be useful in helping non Data Science types to understand the potential benefits that gathering and analysing data could unlock. It's my goal over the coming months to assist with this in any way that I can, through helping create a Big Data in Tourism community and help those involved to learn from each-other.
If you find this article and you're interested in joining the community I've set up a Google+ community here:
and a Slack channel called big-data-in-tourism-wales which you may join.