Tue | Oct 17, 2017

Making Jamaica a 'smart destination'

Published:Wednesday | July 19, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Chief executive officer of Buddy Platform David McLauchlan (left) grabs the full attention of (from second left) Digicel CEO David Butler; chairman of the Tourism Linkages Network, Adam Stewart; Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Andrew Wheatley; and permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Jennifer Griffith. All were attending the Digicel Business/Ministry of Tourism Smart Destination technology forum in Montego Bay, St James, last Thursday.

Jamaica's thrust to become a 'smart destination' just got closer with the introduction of big data analytics by Digicel Business and leading global tech firms Avaya, HP Enterprise and Buddy Platform.

Unveiled to the tourism sector during the Smart Destination Jamaica technology showcase at the Montego Bay Convention Centre last Thursday, the high-tech fresh approach has the ability to unearth massive gains for hotels, airports, attractions and other operators within the sector, says the providers.

Big data refers to large volumes of data from which companies can analyse for business gains. This means a hotel can use feedback from a guest's internet activity while booking a room and arranging flights to cater to almost anything, from electronic check-in and dining preferences to powering on lights and opening room doors by the tap on a smartphone.

"The result is usually extremely positive ratings and higher spend per guest," said Digicel Jamaica's chief executive officer, David Butler, who pointed out that the guest experience offers a treasure trove of data for tourism operators to properly manipulate for the ultimate benefit of improving the customer experience and their business growth.

 

PRODUCT OFFERINGS

 

According to the Digicel officials, their intention is to work closely with agencies like the Tourism Linkages Council to develop special 'smart' packages for hotels, tour operators, airports and attractions to expand their big data footprint and improve their respective product offerings.

Endorsing the novel idea, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said innovation such as this was the right approach towards capturing opportunities within new trends, while achieving competitiveness within the global tourism sector.

He pointed to the establishment of a Tourism Innovation Division within the Tourism Enhancement Fund. "We will provide ourselves with the tools that are necessary to establish us as leaders in innovation, and ensure that Jamaica is at the cutting edge of technology," he stated.