Travel companies caught in a Big Data riptide.

Staged by DataArt’s Travel & Hospitality team in London and moderated by Kevin May, Editor of tnooz, the second annual Question Time event drew a full house, as industry experts discussed big data and what it holds for the future of travel. tnooz provided full coverage, featuring the stars of the evening, DataArt’s Charlotte Lamp Davies and Greg Abbott.

““Big Data is like teenage sex. Everyone thinks everyone else is doing it. Everyone thinks they know how to do it. Everyone brags they’re doing it all the time. But the reality is that hardly anyone is doing it well or that much.” That was the kick-off idea at a panel discussion in London last night. DataArt, a 1,000-person firm that develops software for hospitality companies and other verticals, convened a Question Time event at The Soho Hotel.

… Anyone who has attended travel conferences for a while knows that 2008 was the Year of Mobile — and so was 2009, 2010, and 2011, joked panelist Greg Abbott, SVP for travel and hospitality, DataArt. But now the travel industry has something new to talk about: analytics and personalization.

… To get the liveliest discussion, Charlotte Davies (DataArt’s VP for travel and hospitality in Europe) invited both intermediaries and suppliers to be challenged by questions solely from an audience of industry peers.

… There was an inevitable debate about data privacy, and a handicapping of the chances of a possible pushback from consumers. Audience members and panelists were divided on whether travel companies have to be worried about engaging in analytics and personalization tactics today that might be regulated or legally arbitrated in future years.”

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