Is big data in hospitality a game-changer?

We share more and more information, and the boundaries between private and public life are increasingly blurred. Our evaluations of various products and services are now available and visible to a growing number of people, both on platforms directly linked to hospitality, like TripAdvisor or, and more general sites and social media such as Facebook. All of this information constitutes an incredible opportunity for the hospitality sector.

Imagine that you have the possibility to perfectly know your guests, their preferences, their experiences, their friends and their personalities. Such an information base would allow you to meet your guests’ current needs, but also predict their future needs. This possibility has become reality with the use of big data which offers, by collecting, compiling and analyzing a large number of data, to increase what you know about your guests. This data can be collected on different web platforms as well as by observing, coding and giving meaning to the behaviors of guests during their stay or by analyzing their behaviors on the hotel’s website.


An increasing number of statisticians and psychologists are exploring new ways to make sense of the dizzying amount of data that can be collected or purchased for strategic use. For instance, Michal Kosinski, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, focuses his research in “the mechanisms linking psychological traits with a broad range of organizational and social outcomes”, among of which is consumer behavior. Using sophisticated psychometrics, he has developed a way to analyze people with disconcerting precision based solely on their Facebook activity. He has also warned of the risks such techniques represent if they were put to use by populist political campaigns, or other ethically reprehensible misinformation efforts.

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