What's a TDMS?

A TDMS or Tourist Data Management System, is simply a platform that retrieves data from various sources, processes it internally either automatically or not, and offers this data back to external platforms.

The TDMS we built for the city of Bruges works no differently. Raw data is retrieved from owners of that data. The system will automatically retrieve data from event organizers, Tourism Flanders, the hospitality sector and UiT database. That raw data is distorted and checked. We keep and structure everything that is relevant. We filter out noise.
Structured data is sent to a declining platform. Think for example of VisitBruges or Salesforce. Or in short: Data in, data is structured, data out.

Benefits

  • Faster and easier data management.
  • Security: All data is centralized and data breaches are avoided. Dataflow is kept under scrutiny.
  • Strengthens cooperation within an organization. This is also evident in our cooperation with Bruges. What was difficult on the one hand, namely bringing together different visions and parties, became a strength: through mutual dependence, the system created more cooperation.
  • Cost savings: by automating many tasks, a TDMS can help save costs.
  • By analyzing the data, more insight into customers, market and trends can be gained.

Structure please

Structure, both technical, and visual, is and always will be the focal point in a TDMS. Ultimately, the goal is to make data manageable and usable for the end user.
User-centricity at its best!

Enter structure

The data that flows in is handled in various ways to be molded into a usable form. First, it is cleaned up: errors, inconsistencies, duplicates are extracted and/or reported. Next, the system ensures that the data becomes fully normalized: this makes it easier to analyze and combine it with other data.

UX, making all data visually clear and uncluttered

The eye wants something, too, of course. We are visual animals. After data has been structured and centralized, it is best to let a UX'er loose on the platform. They take into account the user experience and know how to perfectly empathize with a user. The result? Structured data made visually clear. Information can be extracted from a graph faster than the dataset itself.

Datasets

A tourism data management system can generate a wide range of datasets, depending on the specific goals and functions of the system and the buyers of the data.

For example, aggregated data from merchants can be used to feed external websites: the city's own tourism website, as well as Google Maps, Facebook or other buyers.

Key features for administrators

Control of and over data

All data remains continuously up-to-date. The control is inimitable: even scheduling in advance to ask data owners to enrich or check off their own data can be done automatically. If an owner changes data, everything goes through an approval-flow before the data goes 'out'.

Data loss is impossible. Accidentally shifted your fingers before you knew it? Don't worry, versions are tracked automatically. Even better: you can compare versions with each other.

Data visualization & reporting

Data visualization allows users to create graphs and tables to help them make decisions based on the collected data. Simple export capabilities to Excel, PDF, CSV, as well as more complex links for business intelligence, such as to PowerBI, Tableau, etc., ensure that the data can be easily shared and analyzed.

Security

Of course, data platforms must also be secure and watertight to prevent unauthorized users from accessing the stored data or changing or deleting the data. 

Access to the data can be restricted using role and rights management, with privacy in mind. Encryption is applied to the most sensitive data so that it can only be accessed again by those with the appropriate key. 

All changes in the data are tracked so that irregularities can be detected and addressed. In this way, the integrity of the data is guaranteed.

The more infrastructural side must also be addressed: firewalls, backups and monitoring ensure that in the event of an attack, it is possible to react and, in the worst case, to initiate a recovery procedure.

Author: Tom Van den Eynden
Web Architect | Coordinator
Tom Van den Eynden

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