3 Big Data Trends Affecting Meetings

NDS, meetings
NDC is changing the way travel agencies and consumers access airline content.

Here are 3 Big Data trends to look for in 2018 that will have a direct impact on your meetings.

Steve Harter, CTO at Data Visualization Intelligence, Inc., shares 3 Big Data trends that meeting planners should be aware of.


A buzzword popping up in the news lately due to its relation to Bitcoin, blockchain is an incorruptible, decentralized way to house information and process transactions. Blockchain will impact all business verticals. Credit card companies are getting on board now, allowing merchants to make payments using this technology. Even travel suppliers are embracing blockchain-enabled distribution platforms.

Blockchain technologies will reduce the need to rely on third-party tools and middle men in the distribution chain. It will shorten the “long tail of travel and meeting procurement,’” allowing for faster and possibly less expensive travel and meeting planning.

New distribution capability (NDC)

NDC is an XML-based content distribution standard that allows airlines to maintain control over their inventory. Prior to NDC, customers booking through travel agencies couldn’t always purchase ancillary items (upgraded seats, luggage, etc.) at the same time as their ticket the way they can when booking directly with the airline. With NDC, they can. GDS providers Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport have already made investments in the technology.

This data will allow companies to have a better picture than they ever could before of where and how they spend their corporate travel dollars and be able to compare and adjust travel patterns and behaviors.

Machine learning

Machine learning is an advanced type of artificial intelligence that enhances predictive models by finding patterns and adapting to new information by giving computers the ability to learn without being programmed. It enables companies to respond in real time to customer desires, and in the future it may even be able to more accurately forecast those trends while reducing costs for a company.

As more data becomes available and merged into ML platforms, the value of business travel will become apparent. This will have a major impact on the travel and meeting space since companies will now be armed with an accurate picture as they plan and negotiate from an enlightened position. This could lead suppliers and corporations into a new era of amenities and benefits for travelers.

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.