The era of intuition is over: how destinations are using big data to make informed decisions

Carlos Cendra, Sales & Marketing Director at Mabrian 


Tell us about Mabrian? 

Mabrian is a travel intelligence company specialized in cross-analysing big data from multiple sources in order to identify and predict tourism trends.

To do so, we combine big data analysis and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques with our deep knowledge of the tourism sector. Our offering is a data analytics platform that offers a holistic and real-time observatory related to everything that affects a tourist destination. 

Additionally we have a team of tourism experts that helps clients interpret all that information in order to make more efficient and sustainable decisions. 

Our clients are tourist destinations at any level (countries, regions, cities), as well as companies in the hotel and transport sector, or tourism-related consultancies (marketing, promotion, strategy, investment, etc.). We allow them to make decisions based on updated data that provides a vision of tourism in real-time and that is impossible to obtain by traditional market research techniques.


Tell us about yourself: what’s your professional experience, what do you like most about your job?

As a professional I have always embraced challenges and I have an entrepreneur background. I have had always a special link with Menorca, which is where I’m from, and also the tourism sector, which is in my opinion the business of creating happiness. 

So that’s why I joined Mabrian five years ago, convinced that we were creating a global project that can really change the way that decisions are made in the sector. We have been busy proving that from the very first minute, successfully. But since COVID came along, the extremely changing and challenging context has made it even more evident the necessity of having up to date information to be resilient and efficient.

One of the most motivating things about my job is that we are bringing about a mindset change in the sector. This is pretty challenging clearly, but we have proven that the traditional statu quo of the sector is not viable any more.


Why is it so important to use data in the tourism decision-making process?

The world is connected and changing very fast. And power is in the hands of travellers, not in those of the providers or the travel sellers. Any player in the travel and tourism sector nowadays must be watching constantly to identify changes in context that could lead to new traveller behaviours or trends.

We are moving from intuition to informed decisions, as well as from volume indicators to profitability and sustainability indicators. That’s a big change. 

But I want to remind everyone that the is not just about having data, the trick is to have the information and the capabilities to use that appropriately. That last part sometimes is forgotten, but is as important as having the information. Interpretation and storytelling skills are two areas where the sector nowadays is lacking.


How important is sustainability in the luxury segment?

It is a fact that the more economically developed a country, the more sustainability conscious are its inhabitants. The same happens with the traveller segments: high end travellers are normally much more conscious than others. Because they care and they can afford to pay more to produce a positive impact on the destinations they visit. Cultured and educated travellers care about hosting communities, the culture, the gastronomy, and so on – bringing added value for the destinations. 

The luxury segment is also much less seasonal than the average traveller – who are very dependent set summer holiday periods – and this is a really interesting opportunity for tourism sustainability.

Right now we see that the most developed tourism destinations and companies are thinking about the business in a different way. They are not counting tourists, instead they are looking for a balance between profitability, environmental respect and the wellbeing of both residents and workers. These trends put the luxury segment right at the centre.


What other trends are Mabrian seeing in the luxury travel segment?

High end travellers are moving from looking for exclusivity to looking for authenticity. That’s an important change, since authenticity needs to respect and conserve destinations.


When will the travel industry recover from the aftermath of COVID – and what factors will be driving that recovery?

Some of the most important tourist destinations in the Mediterranean and Caribbean have already recovered pre-pandemic figures this 2022. This is really good news because it shows that the sector is alive and healthy, people want to travel and they have begun to do it as soon as the restrictions were removed.

At a global scale 2023 was marked as the anticipated likely recovery point, but currently important changes around the world are making this now an unknown (war, energy crisis, workforce crisis, etc.).

The message to highlight is that the travel and tourism sector has proven a high resilience capability and we all have realized that travelling is a human need that won’t disappear ever, so the sector will go through changes and challenges but will keep growing in a different way.

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