Connecting Big Data and Service Quality Evaluation

Development of a Service Quality Map of the Austrian Hospitality Industry through the Application of Big Data

by Julia Beck, Margarita Danilenko, Laura Sperber and Brenda Wiersma

The travel industry is characterized by a big volume of differently structured data. Every reservation, hotel stay, flight or train ticket can be seen as a data trail that in the end form a body of big data. The concept of big data is then defined as a large volume of complex, unstructured digital data generated through a variety of sources and requiring special database software to process volumes of data in a timely manner.

Within this research big data consists of user-generated content (UGC), namely online user reviews. Thus, online user reviews are used in order to fully explore travellers` judgement of service quality within the Austrian hospitality sector. Indeed, topic of service quality nowadays significantly gains in importance. With the current development of the hospitality industry and often overwhelming variety of options to choose from, it is a key decisive factor when it comes to planning a trip and choosing one accommodation over another. Thus, service quality is of high relevance for both – customers and entrepreneurs. However, authors of the research would like to introduce other potential beneficiaries of the project, such as destination management organisations (DMOs) and governmental organisations. The research should then emphasize the importance of big data in regard to the service quality from another perspective – focusing on the potential benefits for the aforementioned institutions.

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Consequently, the key purpose of the study is to generate an interactive service quality map of the Austrian hospitality industry by applying the concepts of big data and service quality. Thus, big data – comprising vast volume of online user reviews that in turn depict service quality – lies in the foundation of the service quality map. This map could then represent a powerful tool for governmental institutions and DMOs to assist them in the decision making process for future planning. The developed prototype can also be of interest for other stakeholders, such as banks, potential investors, and other parties willing to engage with the Austrian hospitality sector. This tool accumulates intelligent data and generates profound overview of the service quality of the Austrian hospitality industry. The user has the possibility to conduct specific queries and get the result visualized as a density map. This allows the user to evaluate how a specific type of tourist perceives a certain dimension of service quality in Austria or in a particular part of Austria. Furthermore, the prototype also allows extraction of the structured data to be further interpreted and analysed through other software like SPSS, MS Excel and others.

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