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Big data empowered agility for dynamic, volatile, and time-sensitive service industries: the case of tourism sector

Nikolaos Stylos (School of Management, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK and Department of Hotel Management, College of Tourism, Tainan University of Technology, Tainan City, Taiwan)
Jeremy Zwiegelaar (Department of Business and Management, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK)
Dimitrios Buhalis (Faculty of Management, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 3 February 2021

Issue publication date: 15 March 2021




Dynamic, volatile, and time-sensitive industries, such as tourism, travel and hospitality require agility and market intelligence to create value and achieve competitive advantage. The aim of the current study is to examine the influence of big data (BD) on the performance of service organizations and to probe for a deeper understanding of implementing BD, based on available technologies.


An ethnographic study was conducted following an abductive approach. A primary qualitative research scheme was used with 35 information technology and database professionals participating in five online focus groups of seven participants each. Analytical themes were developed simultaneously with the literature being revisited throughout the study to ultimately create sets of common themes and dimensions.


BD can help organizations build agility, especially within dynamic industries, to better predict customer behavioral patterns and make tailor-made propositions from the BD. An integrated BD-specific framework is proposed to address value according to the dimensions of need, value, time and utility.

Research limitations/implications

Little research exists on the key drivers of BD use for dynamic, real-time and agile businesses. This research adds to the developing literature on BD applications to support organizational decision-making and business performance in the tourism industry.


This study responds to scholars’ recent calls for more empirical research with contextual understanding of the use of BD to add value in marketing intelligence within business ecosystems. It delineates factors contributing to BD value creation and explores the impacts on the respective service encounters.



Stylos, N., Zwiegelaar, J. and Buhalis, D. (2021), "Big data empowered agility for dynamic, volatile, and time-sensitive service industries: the case of tourism sector", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 33 No. 3, pp. 1015-1036.



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