Enabling Tourism Data Analytics

Sep 22, 2022 |
Sampa Choudhuri

Successful cloud modernization with Informatica iPaaS

This blog is co-authored by Jaymin Darbari, Data Governance Lead, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism and Hafdi Salah, Managing Partner at BBI Consultancy

Abu Dabhi Departnment of Culture and Tourism uses Informatica iPaaS to transform the tourism sector

The travel and tourism industry depends on tourism data analytics for a variety of reasons. It helps spot trends and understand what travelers are looking for. Data and analytics also enable organizations to make informed decisions about how to attract new visitors. But that data is often disconnected and locked up in various enterprise systems. Tourism boards and travel organizations need to solve the problem of getting tourism data from source to dashboard in a timely manner. So, they are turning to integration platform as a service (iPaaS) for cloud-native data integration solutions. The benefits of cloud modernization for tourism and visitors associations are significant. Imagine having a single view of visitors, aggregated from the data collected from multiple sources and delivered as trusted data.

Here’s how iPaaS services like cloud data integration, API management and others helped one tourism department meet its data maturity goals to become a trusted tourism data analytics provider of choice.

Bringing more visitors to Abu Dhabi using trusted data

Located on an island in the Persian Gulf, Abu Dhabi is a popular destination for tourists. Visitors enjoy 250 miles of coastline, four football stadiums, a vibrant art and music scene, world-class museums, myriad cultural sites and the region’s largest exhibition center. It receives approximately 11.3 million visitors every year.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) regulates, develops and promotes the emirate of Abu Dhabi. And it has ambitious goals for increasing visits to the emirate. But it faced a few tourism data analytics challenges:

  • Increasing visits to the Emirate and tracking those statistics required integrating and aggregating tourism data from over 100 sources and stakeholders. This includes legacy systems and databases. It also pulls data from hotels, malls, tourist attractions, Wi-Fi hotspots, TripAdvisor and cultural sites.
  • DCT met challenges to increase operational efficiency. But it lacked the necessary tools to innovate at scale. Until recently, compiling this data was a daily, manual process. It was based on spreadsheets, emails and flat files that consumed nearly 40 hours of employee time per week. As a result, DCT could only refresh its existing data warehouse on a monthly basis. This limited the usefulness of the data for reporting purposes.
  • They lacked trusted data and data quality issues were only addressed reactively. DCT also lacked an enterprise taxonomy for KPIs and data elements. Most effort was spent on data prep and cleaning. Little effort was focused on providing insights and business recommendations. All these challenges were holding DCT back from delivering true business value and innovating at scale.

Improving time to market for tourism data

DCT needed an end-to-end, unified, scalable intelligent, cloud-native data management platform that automated data sourcing, metadata management and data quality. DCT’s business intelligence team worked with BBI, an Informatica Partner, to deploy an integrated Informatica Intelligent Data Management Cloud (IDMC) solution:

  • Informatica Cloud Data Integration enabled DCT to rapidly onboard tourism data from disparate source systems into a Microsoft SQL Server data warehouse in just four months.
  • DCT was able to consume and build APIs using Informatica Cloud API Manager. They relied on Informatica B2B Gateway to capture data coming in from hotels, cultural sites and other tourism partners. This data was captured from emails and files and uploaded it to a secure FTP site. DCT also uses Informatica Cloud API Manager to consume data from Wi-Fi hotspots and industry aggregators via APIs. The tool also makes tourism data available via APIs to government departments and stakeholders.
  • Informatica Data Quality enabled DCT to deliver clean, trusted data. At the same time, Informatica Data Quality helps DCT detect anomalies and report any issues back to the business.

Quick results and ROI with IDMC

As Jaymin Darbari, Data Governance Lead, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, explains, “Instead of reporting tourism data monthly, we are able to switch to daily reporting for important KPIs. And we can now report monthly data the day after the month ends, instead of waiting two weeks for manual reconciliation.”

DCT was also able to:

  • Gain a 360-degree view of visitors. DCT was able to quickly collate and co-relate nationality, spend, seasonality, site visits, event visits, etc.
  • Promote self-service and democratize access to data. DCT increased productivity by enabling business users to quickly discover data and define KPIs. They were also able to transform data to derive new actionable insights while saving workers 2,000+ hours of manual labor annually.
  • Accelerate time to market by rapidly onboarding new sources of data. DCT was able to onboard new internal and external sources of data with minimal effort using a zero-code interface. • Enable full automation. DCT achieved full automation of manual tasks for source file collection and consolidation. This came with no human delays and errors, and they were able to break free from spreadsheets.
  • Become a data provider to government and other stakeholders. DCT was able to expose its public data through a unified API layer. This enabled data exchange with the AD Executive Council, Miral and SCAD, etc. This realized the goal of becoming a trusted data provider for the government and other private organizations focused on culture and tourism in Abu Dhabi.
  • Adopt advanced analytics. IDMC allowed DCT to apply advanced machine learning and AI algorithms to forecast hotel occupancy, event forecasts, etc.
  • Improve trust in data across the organization. This was done by proactively addressing data quality issues and encouraging users to adopt analytics.

To learn more about the Abu Dhabi DCT Cloud Modernization journey, please watch the on-demand webinar – “Data to Decisions: Getting results from Cloud Data Warehouse Modernization,” where Jaymin Darbari, Data Governance Lead, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, and Hafdi Salah, Managing Partner at BBI Consultancy, discuss how DCT overcame its data management challenges and implemented new data strategies.