Big Data, the Next Challenge

La Provincia newspaper of Las Palmas interviewed me on the occasion of the Sixth Hotel Innovation Conference of “La Ruina Habitada” held from November 18 to 21, 2013 at Nautilus Lanzarote Hotel. 

Big Data is the next challenge of the tourism industry

How will customer Big Data analysis revolutionize tourism?

In the immediate future, there will be a change in attracting customers. There will be a difference between the traditional way of attracting a customer-colloquially, casting the fishing line-and how the customer is going to come in upcoming years. Big Data analytics will profoundly change distribution channels because the way of attracting customers will be precisely focused on knowing them. The more you know your customer, the more possibilities you will have to attract him or her to your business.

It will be a new challenge for the tourism industry.

You have to do a serious, costly, ambitious and very technological job of knowing the customer. The most foreseeable way is for this to be done through powerful Big Data analytics. Big Data will enable predictive models which, through tracking customer footprints, everyone and everything will be a sensor. It is predicted that there will be 212 billion connectors on the planet by the year 2020 that will be interrelated without cables through computers and data communication. In that ostentatious amount of data that are going to be managed, the management system will afford an unheard of knowledge of travelers’ movements thanks to data cross referencing. Distribution channels will gradually fall into the hands of purely technological companies that will be the only ones able to face enormous investments in developing Big Data analytics. Continue reading

Bad service in the night

The example described is a sign of the poor, uneducated and inhibited care of female customers present in most tourist establishments.

In one of the existing accommodation forums on Facebook, where the tourism trade is a clear channel of opinion in which to consult or communicate union troubles, the following text jumped to my screen. It was published a few days ago and the author does not need to be disclosed:

A couple interns call around midnight to ask about availability and will be arriving at the hotel around 2 a.m. Russians. At 4:15 a.m., one called her from the room and it went like this:

Riiin Riing!
– Reception, goodnight.
+ Hello, good evening, look, it’s that I have a female … hhhmmm … URGENCY and I need help.
– What is it? Can you be a little more specific about it so we can help?
+ How do you say … A female emergency, you know what I mean?
– Well, honestly, if you don’t specify the urgency, I cannot offer more help.
+ Hhhmmmm … An urgency on … hhhmmmmm, “the period.”
– OK, I understand, we could provide a towel in any case, if you want. Can you wait until tomorrow to buy tampons or pads in the nearest pharmacy?
+ And there is no woman that you can call or you can help me that’s awake at this hour?
– Well, honestly, it’s 4.15 in the morning and I don’t think I’m ready to wake anyone for that urgency.
+ Okay, and the closest pharmacy?
– Well, actually, you go there in any case.

And so, at 5 a.m. they went to the nearest pharmacy to buy tampons.

I don’t know if such situations occur repeatedly in hotels, but it has happened and its resolution should make us think very seriously about what you would expect from an emergency night experience at a hotel.

The receptionist showed a remarkable lack of reflexes, but concedes the benefit of their nocturnal biorhythms differing empirically from those who have daylight hours. Another obvious shortcoming is the receptionist’s limited empathy with women Continue reading

Give back to Dhooghe what is Dhooghe’s and to Michelin what is Michelin’s

a chef

The discussion borders on the absurd. And the news has just been released in social networks after my notice, that the Belgian chef, Fredrick Dhooghe, who runs a restaurant in Flanders, awarded with a Michelin star, has requested his withdrawal from this guide. It’s not the first time that a request of this type has ocurred, nor the first that has come to me from hotel establishments reluctant to my reviews. “Against the vice of asking, is the virtue of not giving” has been my motto for the three long decades that I’ve been publishing my reviews and guides in EL PAIS. “Easy: close the restaurant” has been my answer to today’s tweet.

Dhooghe, owner of restaurant t’Huis van Lede, located in Wannegem-Lede, near Ghent, also requested not to appear in the French guide Gault & Millau, through a registered letter asserting that his decision is final. It’s not clear, however, whether his final decision was to send the letter or the predetermination of interfering in the private affairs of the pneumatic publication, in which case his desideratum would be a clear threat to free enterprise and freedom of expression. Continue reading

Blacklists of conflicting clients

Blacklists of conflicting clientsAfter the controversy over false reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, I have held a debate about the blacklists that several tourism platforms have created over conflicting guests. This initiative, which allows subscribers to view the list of problematicpassengers, may affect the right to honor or freedom of expression in the words of some shysters. The Spanish economic newspaper Expansion has just published a reference I want to comment on here. Not from the law perspective, but from common sense that marks every principle of reciprocity.

According to the Charter of the United Nations, the signing states apply and develop the right to free expression – an inalienable right of every person to communicate what they think and how they think it. This right prevails in some countries like the United States, even on top of other constitutional rights such as honor, privacy and self-image. So much so that successive actions against TripAdvisor have not matched punitive judgments by the courts, except in exceptional cases.  Continue reading