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Big Data and How Meetings Industry Suppliers Are Falling Behind

A few weeks ago I received an email from my frequent flyer program, Aeroplan. It wasn't the usual points statements, or even one of their many partner offers.

This email was a summary of my entire relationship with Aeroplan since I first became a member. Have a look 

I was very much impressed with the extent of the information they had, and also the way this was positioned to me as a client. Somehow I felt it said to me, "we may have many customers but we value our relationship with you."

Around the same time my husband also received his statement in the same format, but obviously with different numbers.

Why should we care where this is going? Airlines and loyalty management programs have figured out how to use data, big data, and are looking to enhance their relationships with customers. This is something that sadly most hotel companies, CVBs and other meetings industry suppliers are grossly lacking when it comes to their relationships with meeting and event planners.

One audiovisual company recently admitted to me that most of their regional offices operate in silos. The Toronto office, the Ottawa office, and the rest of the country are not even connected! If they want to see who their biggest clients are, offices have to submit their figures to head office, and they will figure out who their "key clients" are. How antiquated!

Similarly hotel companies are handicapped by their clunky property management systems that don't feed adequate information back to their brands.  It's often further complicated by the fact not all properties have the same system because they are owned by different real estate companies!

The disparity in software systems and the dependency on old "legacy" systems (vs. faster, cloud-based software), prevent many meetings industry suppliers from properly managing relationships with meeting and event planners. With "big data" becoming easier and cheaper, unfortunately this means many meetings industry suppliers will find themselves falling further behind.