The implications and challenges of big data in the lodging industry

Frimpong, Clarissa
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University of Delaware
The purpose of this study was to explore the implications and challenges of Big Data in the lodging industry. A total of nine hotel executives participated in this study through an online survey - six from publicly traded hotel corporations and the remaining three from independent (one property) hotel corporations. The results of the study were that publicly traded hotel corporations are more likely to use Big Data than an independent (one-property) hotel corporation. The challenges the hotels face with Big Data that emerged from this study are: the difficulty in reconciling disparate data sources, the lack of formal process around Big Data management, lack of IT infrastructure, lack of senior management support and requisite skills and the high cost of Big Data Management. However, this study also revealed that Hotel corporations that have embraced Big Data have made significant changes in their entire business and operational processes by using Big Data technologies to predict guest behavior, enhance revenue management and improve strategic decision making and also to answer probing questions that could not have been answered in the past. This implies that hotel corporations that embrace Big Data by defining their areas of application and investing resources into their Big Data initiatives are the ones that will benefit from the enormous opportunities of Big Data.