Analysis of the 5Vs of Big Data in Virtual Travel Organizations

Analysis of the 5Vs of Big Data in Virtual Travel Organizations

Serkan Polat, Fevzi Esen, Emrah Bilgic
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7519-1.ch002
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Virtual travel organizations, one of the most effective actors of tourism marketing, use information technology-based systems in parallel with the increasing use of information technologies. The competition in the tourism industries pushes virtual travel organizations to remain dynamic. Thus, customers can demand affordable and qualified tourism products. For this reason, it is inevitable for virtual travel organizations to use information technologies, in order to meet customers' demands efficiently and cost-effectively. Due to its nature, tourism products cannot be experienced before the sale. In order to analyze the expectations of the tourism customers, big-data-related technologies are valuable assets to the virtual travel organizations. From this point of view, managing massive data generated by tourism consumers is vital for the tourism supply chain. To the best of the authors' knowledge, there is no study relating big data and virtual travel organizations. In this chapter, the importance of five key concepts of big data have been discussed in terms of virtual travel organizations.
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Technological developments have created a significant increase in the size and variety of data. It has been reported that 90% of the available data stacks in the world has been produced in the last two years until 2013 (Dragland, 2013). Mobility and widespread use of internet has played an important role in the size and diversity of data. According to IDC, big data production is projected to increase by nearly 20% annually until 2025 and the global datasphere is expected to be 163 zettabytes which is ten times bigger than the data generated in 2016 (IDC, 2017).

Tourism industries cover a wide range of operations as transactions, events and activities. The types of big data stem from users (user generated content such as online textual and social media data), devices (Wi-Fi, RFID, Bluetooth, GPS, roaming data, etc.) and operations (online booking, web search, consumer cards, attractions sales, visitors traffic, tourists consumption and stay data). Therefore, the systems integrated with virtual businesses such as mobile applications, smart readers, sensors, social media, website usage, customer relationship management systems and enterprise resource planning systems are crucial to understand and manage for many industries as well as for the tourism industries.

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are important tools of tourism and hospitality business (Law et al., 2009). The aims of adopting ICTs include productivity and efficiency, enhanced customer services and cost reduction (Singh & Kasavana, 2005). Buhalis and O’Conner (2005) state that ICTs introduce to consumers tourism products and encourage consumers to purchase products. In the ‘90s, acquisitions, market alliances and the systems opening to other suppliers such as hotels, car rental agencies, visitor information centers and inbound tour operators resulted in the formation of four global distribution systems: SABRE, Amadeus/System One, Galileo/Apollo and Worldspan (Gretzel & Fesenmaier, 2009). These systems can link products and services across various sectors based on up-to-date information and this is also an attempt to transfer knowledge among service providers, computers and people.

To discover valuable knowledge from meaningless big data is a focal point for businesses. Traditional data systems and analysis techniques have failed to manage and scale big data. This makes big data management and its applications even more important. Businesses and consumers create structured and unstructured data resulting from their daily activities such as sales-bookings, web sites, call centers, social network interactions, blog posts, etc. Thus, ICTs have became a partner for a broad range of industries especially for big data and its applications in tourism field. For example, a travel agency is trying to collect information about a client's basic identity as well as his cultural characteristics and socio-economic status. The agency intends to carry out promotional activities by this information in the future. In order to handle the complexities of various types and volumes of data, businesses need to create information technologies infrastructure that keeps business operations running smoothly.

Due to the nature of products and services of tourism industries, customers cannot experience tourism product before purchasing and they want to obtain detailed information about the product. This enables tour operators to execute their activities without a physical location, through online services. For this reason, tourism products and services are offered online through tour operators and travel agencies. According to American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) report of 2017, digital travel sales amounted to $564.8 billion worldwide and it is expected to be $817.5 billion by 2020. Moreover, virtual travel organizations generated revenues of about $166 billion in 2016. Also, the number of customers, who managed their reservations through online services, reached 64 million in 2016 (ASTA, 2017).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Tourism Product: Tourism product is the combination of accommodation, food and beverage, transportation, entertainment, and many other goods and services that are used throughout the trip.

Tour Operator: A tour operator is a manufacturer that combines two or more tourism products and then develops travel packages according to customers’ needs and interests.

Big Data: The data which are not possible to be stored in relational databases at low cost and cannot be analyzed by classical methods, due to its volume and characteristics.

Tourism Organization: Economic units that provide the production and marketing of goods and services to meet travel, accommodation, and other related needs to customers.

5Vs: 5V is the basic components of big data covering the terms: volume, velocity, variety, value, and veracity.

Travel Organization: The organization that sells travel services to consumers, places reservations for these services, gives tickets, and accepts payments in return.

Virtual Organization: It is an organization that has the ability to respond to customers' needs and expectations in the shortest time, regardless of time and space through the possibilities provided by ICTs.

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