Almost a third (32%) of travel and hospitality industry marketers rate data science as the skill they most lack, with programmatic coming in a close second at 28%.

This is according to our new report, Digital Trends in the Travel and Hospitality Sector, in association with Adobe. 

The respondents were a mix of travel agents, airlines, hotel groups and more, and gave their views on trends in customer experience, data, mobile and personalisation.

Let’s take a look at some of the key insights from the report. 

Data-driven marketing skills gap

Digital analytics also came in high at 23%, suggesting that the need to understand customer behaviour in this sector is strong amongst its marketers. 

Q: In the context of your digital strategy, in what areas is your organisation most lacking skills and capabilities?

travel and hospitality industry marketing skills gaps

As data becomes more plentiful it is becoming increasingly difficult to turn it into actionable information, which explains why those two skills appear so high in the above list.  

As for programmatic, it is largely data-driven, so again it is not surprising to see it ranked highly with other data-related skills. 

Customer experience seen as most important skill

While the above figures relate to skills in which travel and hospitality brands are most lacking, in terms of the most important skills to develop in future it is customer experience that comes out top. 

49% of respondents cited customer experience as one of the top three most-important capabilities to develop over the next 12 months. 

Q: In the context of your digital strategy, in what areas will it be most important to develop capabilities over the next 12 months?

travel and hospitality industry most important marketing skills

As you can see from the chart above, customer experience came out far ahead of the second most-cited capability. 

But strategy and content, with 33% and 30% respectively, are also seen as significantly important skills to develop in the coming year. 

Skills gaps don’t match perceived importance

What is most surprising about the second chart is the fact that data science and programmatic scored relatively low given that they appeared so high up on the first chart in this post. 

This suggests that while travel and hospitality brands might not be strong when it comes to data-driven marketing, this isn’t necessarily because they’ve tried and failed to acquire this capability. 

Instead, it seems they simply don’t view those skill areas as important. And it is possible that they’re spending limited time and resource on the high-scoring skills in the second chart instead. 

This theory seems even more plausible when you take into account that both customer experience and strategy scored low on the first chart. 

It seems that content is the only area where the lack of capability matches up with its perceived importance in the coming year, suggesting that while travel and hospitality brands are keen to produce quality content they’re still struggling to get the best out of this relatively new and rapidly growing channel. 

Download the full report for lots more insight. 

Jack Simpson

Published 21 December, 2015 by Jack Simpson

Jack Simpson is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (2)


Roland Santus, Director at Sensa Digital

A great article and a so very true. I personally spent 10 years in the hospitality trade before moving to the digital world. My company can help with not only collecting the data but also putting it into practice with an effective digital marketing campaign.

over 2 years ago


Lukas Kakalejcik, Marketing Specialist at RoomAssistant

Hi Jack, as analytics performer and university lecturer, I see that there is overall lack in data knowledge and it is very hard to find the right person that will provide analysis with the demanded level of quality. However, I think that this skill might be taught. In our company, we focus on mobile apps and their performance in hotels and we try to give little hints to everybody who is interested. You can find one of our latest post here: It discuss the topic of mobile app value measurement. I hope you will find it interesting.


Lukas Kakalejcik

over 2 years ago

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