New Deal Europe Weekly Update on Tourism to the Balkan Region, Week 55
News from our partners: Mabrian Technologies
This week we met with Carlos Cendra Cruz, Sales & Marketing Director of Mabrian Technologies, at FITUR 2022 in Madrid, one of the first travel trade events of the year. New Deal Europe has partnered with several organisations which we believe can really make a difference to tourism in the Greater Balkans region, and Mabrian is one of these. They gather and analyse data, which helps tourist boards and tourism enterprises to make better informed decisions, and guaranteeing that they target their marketing resources to the right areas. Crucially for us, they are very focused on sustainability in tourism and are one of the first companies to develop ways to measure this.
NDE: Carlos thank you for being our guest this week. We are very excited to be partnering with Mabrian Technologies, as we believe you can bring great insights about the current state of the market to the tourism boards, hotels and attractions in the New Deal Europe region. With that in mind, maybe we can start with a brief overview of what Mabrian does?
CC: Mabrian stands for Making Bright Analytics, and we are a tech-based company specialised in tourism. We basically gather huge amounts of data (or Big Data) from global sources and different prisms and transform it to provide updated contextual information to the tourism sector. We identify the travel dynamics, and anticipate trends, by analysing data and adding our tourism knowledge to all this information to interpret it and help our clients make more efficient decisions. This is known as Travel Intelligence to enhance Smart Destinations. We aggregate a wide range of sources: air connectivity, accommodation, social networks, mobile data, spending data, and sustainability indicators, among others.
NDE: For those of us who are not so techy, what exactly is a Prism? Can you describe it in lay man’s terms, and explain how you use it?
CC: By prism I meant different approaches to identify the travellers’ dynamics. To give you a few examples: We can examine demand patterns by on-line travel searches, and we can look at the tourism offer at the destination by examining the destination’s tourist products, accommodation offer and prices, spending patterns during the visit, and so on.
NDE: Who are your main clients and who do you think can benefit from a partnership with Mabrian?
CC: The majority of our clients are tourism boards and public tourist organizations. They range from a country level organisation, like a Tourism Ministry, to a tourist office in a small location. All of them need information and we can adapt the service to their specific needs and requirements. We are currently working with destinations all around the world like Costa Rica, Qatar, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Hungary, Georgia, Cancún and also destinations specifically in the Balkans region like Croatia, Montenegro or Greece.
NDE: In that case can we look at an example of what you have done so far, using a real time example in a New Deal Europe destination?
CC: I can mention, for example, the work we did for Montenegro during this year to help them identify what should be their priorities for the summer season (May to September). We focused in three specific areas: Targeting, Market Strategy and Value proposition. To do that we set up our Travel Intelligence platform to cross-analyse different types of data: air Connectivity data (capacity, prices, searches, bookings), tourist interest and perception data (Social Networks) and spending data (credit and debit cards), and from that built a report with specific recommendations.
NDE: This example was for a national tourism board. How can smaller tourism boards in regions, cities or even National Parks benefit?
CC: We work for tourist destinations at any level, from ministries to the tourist offices of small locations. Even a specific tourist attraction like a Natural Park can be the objective of our analytics and advice. The only restriction is the amount of data we can get related directly to the destination. Possibly a national tourism board looks for more global objectives like the branding of the destination, the perception of the country in general, but a small destination can get valuable information for more operative decisions too. To give just a few examples; we can identify the most interesting targets for the destination, so that the decision makers can distribute the promotional budget by markets in the most efficient way. We can monitor the results of marketing campaigns on the actual demand, and provide good information to negotiate with airlines, and so on.
NDE: From a commercial perspective, this ability to tailor promotional marketing budgets based on your data analysis can really help any organisation in the greater Balkan region. How do you convince organisations that data analysis is important to them?
CC: It’s not about the data. It is about having updated contextual information to be able to react to the fast changing context. Having updated information about the travel dynamics on a global scale is vital in making more efficient decisions in areas like destination management, promotion and strategic planning. Also in terms of tourism sustainability, data analytics can help destinations on that too, and we have started measuring indicators which the destination managers can directly actuate to see the needed improvements.
The majority of our clients are tourism boards and public tourist organisations. They range from a country level organisation, like a Tourism Ministry, to a tourist office in a small location.
NDE: You mention tourism sustainability, which is very important to us at New Deal Europe and to the destinations in our region. Many believe that it will be the base for the tourism restart. In what ways can your tool help destinations with that?
CC: Yes, it’s important and by cross analysing data from global sources we can measure and track tourism sustainability indicators, mostly focused on structural, economic and social sustainability of the sector rather than focusing only on environmental factors. We presented last month our new Tourism Sustainability Dashboard as a new feature of the platform.
NDE: I’m sure that many of our destinations would be interested in this Tourism Sustainability Dashboard. How has this been received so far?
CC: It was really well received by the sector, since there was a lack of specific tools to measure, track and compare tourist sustainability indicators. We are already applying these indicators to ten different destinations in the world, and receiving a lot of demand about it.
NDE: This is really exciting for our partnership with you Carlos, as any destination in our region partnering with you would have a distinct advantage when it comes to measuring sustainable tourism. What are the other things about Mabrian that makes them different from other companies collecting and supplying data?
CC: I would highlight three main differences: the variety of data we can integrate, the agility on starting a project (our lead time is normally no more than 6 weeks), and the specialisation on tourism analytics, meaning we are advising through a team with a strong tourism background.
NDE: Here you are at FITUR, Carlos. How important are live events like this for Mabrian, and in fact for the travel industry in general?
CC: The in-person events are vital for us to connect and fully engage with the decision makers of the travel and tourism sector. The service that we provide is so new and specific, so the first step for us is to gain the confidence of the clients about what we do and how we do it. Confidence is more easily generated when a personal relationship exists, and that’s something that in-person meetings, held at trade fairs, help to create.
NDE: If I can focus for a moment on what you said earlier about this ‘variety of data we can integrate’. What I find really interesting is the ability of Mabrian to analyse Social Media data, so you can see what clients really think about a destination, both when they are searching and then when they have experienced it. This gives real insight into the customer perception of a destination and helps tourism boards get a steer on where to spend their marketing dollars, saving them a lot of market research time and money. Have I understood this correctly?
CC: Yes, that’s correct. We can identify and profile demand potential segments by analysing the spontaneous interactions on Social Networks regarding a destination. For example, we can see if the Spaniards are more interested in Slovenia than the French and if the tourist interests and perceptions on these markets towards Slovenia are similar or not. We could even go into more detail and compare profiles of segments inside a country of origin by its different regions. Then, we cross analyse this with other sources like the air connectivity and the demand in searches to complement the picture.
NDE: Carlos it’s been fascinating to get this insight into what Mabrian does and the benefits you can bring to the New Deal Europe region. But before we finish you should also tell us something about you. You work in travel so what are your favourite travel destinations and have you ever been to the NDE region?
I’m a sea lover so most of my favourite destinations are by the sea or related to water activities: sailing, diving, kayaking. I very much look forward to visiting and sailing through the Adriatic Sea destinations.
NDE: I think you will love your visit to the Adriatic coast. Finally, please tell us, how can our partners get in touch with you?
CC: We are so happy to have New Deal Europe as a partner for our business development in the Balkans. We need partnerships like this because you are key to knowing the actual reality of the tourism sector in a region — you know the decision makers and what can really help them. For us it is impossible to work globally without local partners. So I encourage you to contact Tine or Robert to set a specific meeting and explore the collaboration opportunities.
New Deal Europe is the only travel market platform dedicated to generating business to the Balkan region of Europe, www.newdealeurope.com. Next events: 4 April 2022 in London and 11 April 2022 virtual. (Questions by Robert Dee and Tine Murn, cofounders of New Deal Europe.)
Click here to watch Mabrain Technologies presentation for NDE.