Travel is awash with data and companies are loosening their purse strings to get to the insight this provides, according to EyeforTravel’s new industry-wide State of Data and Analytics in Travel Report 2017. Amongst respondents, who came from all verticals in the industry, 74.5 per cent report that they expect budget increases in 2017.
For those looking forward to more cash to play with this year, budgets are often increasing by a substantial amount. More than half of the entire sample reports that they expect budgets to increase by 6 per cent or more and 30 per cent expect it to increase by 11 per cent or more.
However, part of this may be because travel companies data efforts are coming from, in general, a relatively small base. Although 65 per cent of the panel reports that they have a dedicated data, analysis or insight team, they are largely staffed by small teams. Two thirds of respondents report that their team is less than 10 employees strong and 51.5 per cent have a team of five individuals or less.
“The travel and tourism industry has realised the importance of strong data analysis and is manoeuvring itself into a good position,” said Alex Hadwick, Head of Research for EyeforTravel. “We found that in terms of analytics, data deployment and attribution, travel is relatively advanced compared to other industries. These planned budgetary increases will help increase the depth of talent and acquire the tools needed to get maximum value out of the huge amount of data that already exists and will be generated in the future.”
The survey also found variation between the expectations of data professionals for this year when it comes to where they are based. Respondents were most optimistic about budget increases in Asia-Pacific, followed by Europe and then finally North America.
This geographic divide was reinforced in how respondents view the coming year for the travel and tourism industry as a whole. In both Asia-Pacific and Europe 16.3 per cent of respondents are neutral or negative about growth prospects for this year, compared to 23.3 per cent of respondents from North America.
Mr Hadwick believes that this is reflective of wider industry sentiment in the region: “With the WTTC warning of changing sentiment towards the US and reports for Q1 indicating lower flight bookings to the US, there appears to be a bigger story here that is reflected in our data.”