Informatica iPaaS Enables Data-Driven Transformation in the Tourism Sector

This blog is co-authored by Jaymin Darbari, Data Governance Lead, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism and Hafdi Salah, Managing Partner at BBI Consultancy

The travel and tourism industry depends on data to spot trends, understand what travelers are looking for, and make decisions about how to attract new visitors. But that data is often disconnected and locked up in various enterprise systems and processes. To solve the problem of getting tourism data from source to dashboard in a timely manner, organizations are turning to integration platform as a service (iPaaS) for cloud-native integration solutions. The benefits for tourism and visitors’ associations are significant—imagine having a single view of visitors, aggregated from multiple sources, and delivered as trusted data.

Here’s how iPaaS services like cloud data integration, API management, and others helped one tourism department meet its goals to become a trusted data provider of choice.

Bringing more visitors to Abu Dhabi using trusted data

Located on an island in the Persian Gulf, Abu Dhabi is a popular destination for tourists. With 250 miles of coastline, four football stadiums, a vibrant art and music scene, world-class museums, myriad cultural sites, and the region’s largest exhibition center, it receives approximately 11.3 million visitors every year.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) regulates, develops, and promotes the emirate of Abu Dhabi—and it has ambitious goals for increasing visits to the emirate. But it faced a few challenges:

  • Increasing visits to the emirate and tracking those statistics required integrating and aggregating tourism data from over 100 sourcesand stakeholders, including legacy systems and databases, hotels, malls, tourist attractions, Wi-Fi hotspots, TripAdvisor, and cultural sites.
  • DCT met challenges to increase operational efficiency but lacked the necessary tools to innovate at scale. Until recently, compiling this data was a daily, manual process based on spreadsheets, emails, and flat files that consumed nearly 40 hours of employee time per week. As a result, DCT could only refresh its existing data warehouse on a monthly basis, limiting the usefulness of the data for reporting purposes.
  • There was a lack of trusted data and was reactive for data quality issues. DCT also lacked an enterprise taxonomy for KPIs and data elements. More efforts were spent in data prep and cleaning rather than providing insights and recommendations. All these challenges were holding DCT back from delivering true business value and innovating at scale.

Improving time to market for tourism data

DCT needed an end-to-end, unified, scalable intelligent, cloud- native data platform that automated data sourcing, metadata management and data quality. DCT’s business intelligence team worked with BBI, an Informatica Partner, to deploy an integrated Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services (IICS) solution:

  • Informatica Cloud Data Integration enabled DCT to rapidly onboard tourism data from disparate source systems into a Microsoft SQL Server data warehouse in just four months.
  • Consume and build APIs using Informatica Cloud API Manager – To capture data coming in from hotels, cultural sites, and other tourism partners in emails and files and upload it to a secure FTP site, DCT relied on Informatica B2B Gateway. It also uses Informatica Cloud API Manager to consume data from Wi-Fi hotspots and industry aggregators via APIs, and to make tourism data available via APIs to government departments and stakeholders.
  • Informatica Data Quality enabled DCT to deliver clean, trusted data. At the same time, Informatica Data Quality helps DCT detect anomalies and report any issues back to the business

Quick results and ROI with IICS

Explains Jaymin Darbari, Data Governance Lead, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism: “Instead of reporting tourism data monthly, we are able to switch to daily reporting for important KPIs. And we can now report monthly data the day after the month ends, instead of waiting two weeks for manual reconciliation.”

DCT was also able to:

  • Gain a 360-degree view of visitors – DCT was able to quickly collate and co- relate nationality, spend, seasonality, site visits, event visits etc.
  • Promote self-service and democratize access to data – DCT increased productivity by enabling business users to quickly discover data, define KPIs, transform data to derive new actionable insights while saving 2,000+ person hours annually.
  • Accelerate time to market by rapidly onboarding new sources of data – DCT was able to onboard new internal and external sources of data with the least amount of effort with a zero-code interface.
  • Enable full automation– DCT achieved full automation of manual tasks for source file collection and consolidation with no human delays and errors and were able to break free from spreadsheets.
  • Become a data provider to government and other stakeholders –DCT was able to expose its public data through a unified API layer to enable data exchange with AD Executive Council, Miral and SCAD etc., thus realizing the goal to becoming a trusted data provider for Government and other private organizations focused on culture and tourism in Abu Dhabi.
  • Adopt advanced analytics- IICS allowed DCT to apply advanced machine learning and AI algorithms to forecast hotel occupancy, event forecasts, etc.
  • Improve trust in data across the organization by proactively addressing data quality issues and encouraging users to adopt analytics.

To learn more about how Abu Dhabi DCT Cloud Modernization journey, please register for the webinar – Data to Decisions: Getting results from Cloud Data Warehouse Modernization,” where Jaymin Darbari, Data Governance Lead, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism and Hafdi Salah, Managing Partner at BBI Consultancy, discuss how DCT overcame its data management challenges.