In his ITB keynote speech, “Big Data – Key Resource For Advanced Customer Needs And Added Value,” Sabre Travel Network’s EMEA SVP Harald Eisenäecher on Wednesday, inspired 500+ travel experts in Berlin about big data possibilities in the tourism industry.

During his 30 minutes speech Harald provided a glimpse into what data exists today by looking at companies taking advantage of big data in interesting ways and experimenting with it.

Check out our short video on big data created for the ITB audience attending Harald Eisenäecher, Sabre’s Senior Vice President, EMEA, keynote speech.

Data is everywhere – the average data footprint today is estimated at 1 TB and will exceed 5 TB in 2020. (source: IDC) Harald explained why Sabre thinks the traveller’s digital footprint is even bigger. Why? Because as “Data Magnets,” travellers also generate:

  • Shopping and booking data from airlines, trains, cars and hotels through travel agencies and directly with suppliers
  • Mobile and social check-ins through device apps
  • Real-time information available through travel-companion apps like TripCase, which provide travelers the ability to completely manage their trips and easily share travel information
  • Shopping requests and booking/reservations for event travel tickets and travel extras like ground transportation and restaurant reservations.
  • Social activity specific to a trip

That’s a lot of opportunity staring the travel industry in the face!

“Data has been around for a long time. And it’s always been a big part of travel. But answers to data collection, storage, access, analytics and visualization have undergone massive transformation in the past few years,” Harald explained.

These examples of big data in travel showcased how discovering interesting patterns and information allow us to predict future behavior, give meaning to data, and make personalization and predictability a reality. In doing so, we see more services and features that cater to personal preferences of the traveller. But the biggest opportunity is in how to action big data with predictive systems taking specific action in near-real time to add value. This would generate new revenue opportunities, identify cost savings, avoid certain situations, tap into new ones, or in the case of weather, save lives.

In closing his speech, Harald raised the bar for the speakers to come at ITB in Berlin: “Becoming a data-driven company, a connected company, a customer company, is a journey. You need to start as early as possible, and there is no finish line. After all, when it comes to technology, the only constant is change.”