Big Data – What is it?

This is a guest post by Michael Toedt, Founder and Managing Director of Toedt, Dr. Selk & Coll.

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Michael Toedt

About ten years ago, when we decided to found TS&C, we heard warnings from various sources that the concept of a central marketing database for hotels simply had no future. The large hotel software vendors could easily add such functionality and vendors from outside the industry could offer similar solutions as well.

I repeatedly reminded my critics of the increasing complexity of marketing requirements and that a clean separation between operational and marketing-oriented systems is a fundamental requirement for professional marketing management. Furthermore, I predicted that vendors from outside the industry would seriously underestimate the data complexity of the hotel world.

Several hotels and chains have in the meantime understood the problem and have implemented marketing-specific databases separate from the operational databases in the PMS and CRS.

But not all hotel managers have understood that a functional separation of data can actually have a positive effect on revenue. In fact, the lack of IT know-how among hotel management has led to some seriously misguided investments. According to various studies, the success of campaign management projects runs at an astonishingly low 7% and for CRM projects around 15%. What can be done to improve this?

Recently „Big Data“ has become a dominant topic in the international trade press. But what is Big Data? According to MIT, company data grows by 35 to 50% per year. Companies process approximately 1000 times as much data now as they did 10 years ago. In fact, in the last two years also, more data was produced than in all previous years.

Big Data focuses on the ever-increasing mountains of data and the ability to capitalize on them for the benefit of the company. Several years ago, the founder of the Tesco Loyalty Card identified customer data as the new oil. That pretty much says it all.

Hotel companies in particular have access to enormous mountains of data but has anything changed in the way that hotel management uses this data? How have hotel companies used this data to help drive the business further? Surprisingly few have made the effort to process this data in a meaningful way, a fact that is mirrored in the poor success rate of CRM projects.

In order to capitalize on Big Data, the trade press is in agreement that a separation of operational and marketing-oriented systems, as described above, is required. A central Data Warehouse should take data from all marketing-relevant sources, clean the data and make it available for further processing. Big Data therefore carries with it not only a technical but also an organizational challenge.

IBM recently published a study with the following conclusion: Big Data will significantly change the way companies approach marketing. But today’s marketing managers typically have a traditional marketing background and may not have the skills to tackle the new and significantly more technical and analytical challenges of marketing. The McKinsey Global Institute released figures indicating that in 2018, the United States will require an additional 190,000 data experts and 1.5 million managers who are able to make decisions based on Big Data. And that’s only for the US market.

Marketing is set to undergo a major revolution, not only in terms of the tasks required but in its overall importance to the company. The quicker companies understand this, the faster they can take advantage of the competitive advantage that Big Data provides.

With this in mind, stay tuned for exciting times!

About the Author

Mr. Michael Toedt is Managing Director and CEO of Toedt, Dr. Selk & Coll. He is responsible for marketing, technology, consulting and data protection.

In the past, Mr. Toedt was regional vice president of SANSORA INTERNATIONAL, a subsidiary company of the Schoerghuber corporate group and accompanied many hotel associations during the production of their central customer and marketing data base. He was raised in his parents’ hotel and after completing a mercantile apprenticeship he graduated as cook to be employed in the 5-stars restaurant Hotel Koenigshof in Munich. 1995 he began his course of studies of business economics at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich. During this time he visited Cornell University in New York and is now a lifetime member of the Cornell Hotel Society.

In addition to his activities with Toedt, Dr. Selk & Coll., Michael Toedt is assistant lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences of Munich in the course “Customer Relationship Management in Tourism” and is guest lecturer at various universities such as the University of Applied Sciences of Bad Honnef or Kempten and is the HSMA vice president for the South-East region.

He is also a doctoral student at the University of Latvia and University of Applied Sciences of Kufstein and is writing a dissertation about the effects of communication on sales performance within Customer Relationship Marketing in the hotel business.

In his new book about the role of “Big Data” for the hotel business, Michael Toedt explains the biggest hurdles – the lack of knowledge within the senior management and the willingness to implement the necessary changes – and provides hoteliers recommendations to increase the likelihood of success of their marketing programs.

Michael Toedt has published numerous articles and whitepapers about CRM and Marketing. For further information on his publications: http://www.ts-and-c.com/en/veroeffentlichungen.html

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