Data and how it is used has been a hugely controversial topic recently following revelations about how personal information in Facebook profiles was exploited by political campaigns.

However, the collection, curation and analysis of customer data has become an absolutely critical area of business for all travel firms.

If you’re a data analyst you’re very much in demand as firms look to understand more about their customers to hone their offering.

As we report in this week’s Travel Weekly, Jet2holidays is poised to apply this in a B2B setting with the appointment of a data expert to analyse sales of its trade partners.

Also this week, we report on how The Travel Network Group is continuing to work with the Institute of Customer Service to shed light on its performance.

For some, this level of transparency might be a little unsettling – there’s no hiding place in a spreadsheet and cold hard figures can reveal some uncomfortable truths.

But the flip side of this is the better understanding of what is going on that comes with taking an independent approach to analysing every aspect of your business.

With this knowledge, firms can assess their successes, identify failures and build trust by being seen to be holding themselves to account.

As the Facebook controversy showed, data can always be used for ulterior motives, which is why new European data protection rules (GDPR) are coming in.

But, with data such a valuable resource – it is referred to as the new oil – successful businesses will grasp all the opportunities while ensuring they stay on the right side of the law.

Comment from Travel Weekly, April 26 edition