Big Data has become the talk of the town over the recent years. Despite from knowing that the data contains greater variety arriving in increasing volumes and with ever-higher velocity, do you realize the opportunities it could create? Big Data could play a significant role in transforming the whole value chain of the MICE industry. All MICE businesses could become successful and sustainable if they are able to identify customers’ needs and gap in the market that values could be built on.
This is where Big Data could come into play to reveal those insights. Insights could range from identifying MICE-related regulatory process bottlenecks caused by the government agencies to generating business matching recommendations to connect exhibitors to the right attendees that could create mutual benefits. Thus, it is impossible to quantify the benefits of Big Data as it could be anything that one could possibly think of.
The Power of Big Data
According to International Data Corporation (IDC), the premier global market intelligence firm, the amount of Big Data being collected worldwide is estimated to reach up to 163 Zettabytes by 2025. It is equivalent to two stacks of DVDs with fully stored data reaching from Earth to Mars or a storage gigantic enough to fill over 5,542 trillion 3-minute songs. Also, IDC forecasted that the worldwide revenue for Big Data and Business Analytics Solutions would be as high as 260 billion USD in 2020 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.9% over the forecast period from 2017 to 2022. Even though the revenue from Asia Pacific region exclusive of Japan would only contribute to approximately 10% of the total revenue in 2020, strong growth could be anticipated with 15.1% CAGR over the same forecast period.
Nonetheless, no matter how much data one accumulates, the collected data is meaningless if it is not put to good use. Since the massive data collected are both structured and unstructured and could come from both the internal and external data sources, the crucial question is how to find the right tools to help organizations make sense out of the collected random information. There are numerous data analytics software products currently available to help optimize business performance, however, organizations must first figure out what kind of insights they are trying to unravel from the raw data. With the right tools, Descriptive Analysis, Diagnostic Analysis, Predictive Analysis and Prescriptive Analysis could be derived from Big Data, with the later generating the largest impact for businesses.
Descriptive Analysis allows companies to understand the overview of what happened in the past. For instance, it allows exhibitors or meeting organizers to benchmark their performances with competitors to understand their positions in the industry.
Diagnostic Analysis provides richer insights into why a specific issue occurred. For instance, it allows conference hosts to understand what the successful actions taken to attract a huge number of attendees are or what have they done wrong that could create barriers in gaining traction.
Predictive Analysis delivers fact-based forecast of what is likely to happen next. For instance, it allows meeting planners to estimate how many registered participants are likely to turn up for the events.
Prescriptive Analysis concludes what companies need to do, but this type of analysis is only possible with the incorporation of high-level machine learning. For instance, it could tell the exhibition marketers on the most effective way in reaching each type of their target groups or on selecting exhibitors that have the highest potential in maximizing attendance.
All in all, organizations must be able to identify what they need the Big Data for in order to select the best tools in unlocking the true potentials of their businesses.
The Role of Big Data in Supporting the MICE Industry
When it comes to Big Data, most people would immediately link the term to technological sector, but in fact, various stakeholders of the MICE industry have already began capturing the benefits of Big Data. According to the global event industry benchmark study, 72% of planners, marketers, and executives stated it is important to collect event-related data and 52% of the respondents have already gathered data to improve the planning, execution, and attendee experience of future events. The followings are the key examples of how Big Data is being utilized in the industry.
Identify best suited mediums to optimize promotional campaigns: One of the key KPIs for every exhibition or conference is the number of participants attending the event. Therefore, no matter how good the event may be, if it cannot attract the right people, it is a failure. With detailed demographic data collected, directly or indirectly, especially from the social media platforms, coupled with comprehensive records of the types of outreach advertisements that were successful, event organizers would then be able to identify the right mediums to reach the selected target groups and optimize their campaigns to ensure that there would be the maximum number of participants attending the events. In addition, for events that sell entrance tickets, this would increase the sales revenue as well.
Understand attendees’ profiles to improve customer engagement: Having a deep understanding on the attendees’ profiles would be a great help in improving the overall customer experience by meeting their unique needs. With Big Data, information such as customers’ behavior, interests and preferences could be extracted. These insights would allow exhibitors to be well-prepared or could even tailor special deals or experiences specifically for each target group to offer them a more personalized experience. Not only would this maximize the value delivered, it would also increase customer retention and loyalty, which are very important for events that are held repeatedly. On the other hand, it would also allow exhibitors to gauge the income levels of attendees to find their highest willingness to pay.
Case Study 1: SG MICE 2020 Roadmap - Big Data as part of the Connected MICE City
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has developed MICE 2020 Roadmap which comprised of 3 core ideas, namely Connected City, Singapore MICE Experience and MICEHQ.SG. Regarding the Connected City, which aims to shape Singapore into a smart MICE city that empowers business visitors to get to where they want to go and do what they want to do seamlessly, the government has taken the initiative to incorporate Big Data analytics into the plan. The ultimate goal for the government is to facilitate MICE enterprises in creating customized value propositions for business visitors through the utilization of insights generated from Big Data analytics. In achieving the objective, the STB focuses on providing education on Big Data usage and application for tourism players and building pilot projects in data analytics.
Case Study 2: Reeds Exhibitions - Enhancing Customer Experience
Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading trade show company with a flourishing portfolio of organizing 500 events in 41 countries and hosting more than 7 million participants each year. The company states that “Success is determined by how well customers are able to make the right connections for future business interactions at our events”. Hence, with this vision, Reed Exhibitions has been using Big Data analytics to identify the unique needs of exhibitors and to find innovative ways to enhance customer experience and retention. The company gathers data before, during and after the events to provide recommendations to attendees based on their business objectives and real-time analysis and use it to enhance future business decisions. Also, the insights generated from Big Data has been increasing Reed Exhibitions employees’ productivity as they now have a deep understanding of the customers’ need. As a result, this could create higher customer satisfaction as more than 70% of the customers revealed that the recommendations allowed them to have higher quality meetings and were engaged in more meetings than they anticipated.
Case Study 3: Achieving Competitive Advantage with Big Data
Many businesses and products have been established using Big Data as their core asset. Thus, there is no need for each organization to store massive amount of data and perform data analytic by themselves. For example, Cvent, the leader in meeting, event and travel technology, has launched a free tool called “Group Business Trends (GBT)” to provide customizable in-depth report by benchmarking the performance of one’s business with qualifying competitors using their Big Data. The benchmarking allows MICE market players to compare their business growth, market share and performances with other key players to identify the gap in achieving competitive advantage, but this is only plausible with the availability of Big Data.
Challenges in Adopting Big Data
Although Big Data can unlock countless opportunities, storing and handling a significant amount of data can be challenging as well. Firstly, with the exponential growth of data availability, the data can get out of hand when mismanaged. In order to avoid having to manage unnecessary data, the organization can narrow down the type of data being collected to include only those that has the potential to create value for the organization. This would not only save time for cleaning and preparing data before it can be used, it would also help to avoid having to spend a huge amount of resources in storing the massive amount of data as well. Secondly, there are a great variety of Big Data analytic software currently available in the market. In order to avoid confusion in selecting the most suited software or solutions for the organization, it is highly recommended for starters to seek professional help. Thirdly, since the data collected may contain confidential information and incur privacy issues, data security is another great concern for Big Data. Thus, it is crucial for the organization to deal with this issue in the initial stage of designing the solution’s architecture.
Despite the challenges, with the data explosion, there is no doubt that the Big Data technologies would keep on advancing at a remarkable rate and Big Data would eventually be integrates into our everyday life. Everyone can reap the benefits of Big Data by one way or another, so what are you waiting for?