Like many IT projects before, Visit Finland’s DataHub undertaking has proved that creating all the desired functionality is not as straightforward and simple as originally imagined. As a result, DataHub’s introduction to the public has been delayed from the original schedule.
However, the project has been quietly making progress in the meantime. The objectives have been refined and streamlined. Some of the desired features would take longer to implement than allowed by the release date, so they have been pushed back to upcoming iterations. At the same time, we have been thinking of ways to make the implementation process effortless for everyone involved.
Helsinki Marketing will be the first pilot project where DataHub is used to provide services. The Experiences section on the MyHelsinki website will be populated through DataHub from now on. This means that experience providers will enter their information through DataHub to have it uploaded via an interface for use on the MyHelsinki site.
We will start entering product data in February and the information should be up on the MyHelsinki site (https://www.myhelsinki.fi/en/your-local-guide-to-helsinki) around mid-March 2021.
During spring 2021, the use of DataHub will be expanded through similar pilot projects where the necessary procedures will be planned and monitored in close cooperation with Visit Finland’s implementation team. This way, we can also ensure that destinations and travel businesses are given immediate support when necessary and that their feedback on user experience and usability will be taken into account immediately for further improvements.
In place of the general launch originally envisioned, we now have separate pilot projects. Why is that? You must understand that initially, DataHub is only an empty database. Why would a single travel company enter their data if they do not know when and where it will be displayed? Why would any travel destination or other operator introduce the interface if the database does not have any content to present? This is why we are looking for partners that have a shared motivation for using DataHub, gradually expanding the database in the process.
In the first phase, DataHub covers the basic product information for the experiences. Step by step, the product information will be expanded to cover other product types, such as attractions, accommodation and rental services. At the same time, the scope of product types is being expanded from basic data to increasingly more detailed information. If you look at global players in the tourism ecosystem, such as Google MyBusiness, TripAdvisor or Booking.com, each of these have their own data content, and while mostly convergent, it is ultimately also very service-specific. DataHub aims to consider our various partners’ specific needs the best we possibly can, but clearly, this is easier and faster said than done.
The development and utilisation of DataHub will take place step by step. The best results will come from involving the system’s users, regional organisations and travel companies from the outset. By sharing and leveraging our experiences, we will ultimately reap the greatest benefits and can direct future developments in ways that best benefit the entire industry.
In February and March 2021, with insight from the MyHelsinki pilot, we will tweak both the process of introducing single areas and the roadmap for further development on DataHub. We will review the needs of each interested party and use that information to create best practices and timeframes for implementation.
marko.filenius (at) flowhouse.fi
+358 50,336 5447