It may be a relatively new field with a worrying shortage of professionals but at Accor Hotels, data science is already being effectively used.
What is data science? According to UC Berkeley School of Information, the field is emerging at ‘the intersection of the fields of social science and statistics, information and computer science, and design’.
In the travel world, the rise of cheap and ubiquitous data has meant there is a growing shortage of talent. A study by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that there will be four to five million jobs in the US requiring data analysis skills by 2018.
Increasingly executives need to be able to ask the right questions and understand the results of analysis of big data effectively.
Travel brands recognise this and at a recent EyeforTravel show in the US, 67% of the attendees polled believed that investing in analytics and data would help drive loyalty – the main driver for their distribution strategy!
The science of data and analytics is certainly something that AccorHotels is taking seriously but what exactly does a data scientist do? Speaking in his personal capacity Kevin Tran-Dai, who is chief data scientist at Accor, says a typical day involves:
Meeting with internal customers to identify what the internal needs or challenges are. This could be anything from:
i. Increasing customer’s loyalty
ii. Measuring advanced metrics like incremental sales for campaigns or special offers
iii. Analysing customer’s reviews to detect pain points during the stay
iv. Identifying travel trends using open data to increase the efficiency of search engine advertising (SEA) by country of origin.
v. Developing the capability to have a 360-degree view of a customer to detect optimal triggers for dynamic pricing or to de-duplicate (the practice of eliminating repeat copies of data) databases with partners