4 Challenges with Foreign Data for Tourism Companies

If you own a tourism company, you’re a travel planner, or your job sends you around the world on assignment, suddenly that big data you need to wrangle is even bigger. While it seems like everyone else is focusing on “hyper local”, you’re forced to consider data in other languages, formats, and getting it from professionals who are in a completely different time zone. It all starts with making sure you have the right database to harness your information, but there’s more to it than that.

Here are some of the unique big data challenges for frequent travelers, ex-pats running a business overseas, or anyone who’s part of the “global office”. Luckily, all it takes is the right tools and mindset to organize this plentiful data.

1. Language barriers

What if the data you really need for your new tourism site is in a foreign language? Ask anyone who’s dealt with this challenge, and they’ll tell you to steer clear of sites like Google Translate. If the data is really precious, get bids from certified translators and see if the cost is worth the benefit. However, don’t settle for anyone who isn’t certified (you never know what you’ll get!).

2. Getting schedules to align

If you need to work in tandem with someone in another country, those time zone differences can be a real monster. Somebody’s going to have to end up working at 3am (or another horrendous time), so take turns and if you’re trying to win a new contact, volunteer to take the graveyard shift. It might turn out that the downside of working odd hours, according to Forbes, is worth the payout.

3. You’re not sure who owns this information

In some cases, you pay for data and in others you curate it yourself. If you can’t get a clear answer on who owns overseas data or if it’s legitimate for you to access it, play it safe. Trust your gut, and take note of any seemingly shady business practices happening. It’s not worth it to use data that doesn’t belong to you, even if you did your best to figure out the right means of acquiring it.

4. Cultural barriers

If you’re using largely qualitative data, be wary of cultural differences. There may be huge variances in what words mean, slang, modesty, and even plagiarism (largely accepted in many southeast Asian countries/communities like China and South Korea).

Foreign data can be fantastic, but only if it’s legal and benefits you in a timely manner.

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