Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

New information services for the travel industry

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the travel industry are destined to become more competitive with the emergence of new tools that enhance information services and foster networking.
New information services for the travel industry
Large players in the travel and tourism industry have been using electronic data exchange on a global scale for decades. The complex and highly technical systems involved, however, have led to the exclusion of SMEs in the sector – such as hotels and travel agencies – that cannot compete effectively with their larger counterparts. The challenge is exacerbated by lack of a specific international data standard that smaller stakeholders in the industry could rely on.

Against this backdrop, the EU-funded HARMOSEARCH (Harmonised semantic meta-search in distributed heterogeneous databases) project sought to address the interoperability challenge. It worked on creating tools that can readily connect to an open data network and locate relevant information sources. Specifically, it envisioned an intelligent mapping tool supported by automatic translation of data queries and semantic registries about data providers to facilitate data exchange for SMEs and help them compete online more efficiently.

Building on past initiatives in the field, the project team developed two components that are capable of running meta searches in highly networked environments using semantic technologies. The first is a semantic meta-search component that identifies data sources based on a semantic understanding of the search intention and knowledge about existing partners in the network. The second is a semantic mapping tool that extends expert knowledge about the data schemas with semantic concepts integrated within.

Through these developments, the tools enable SME users to map and query information virtually automatically, with very little input and minimal technical expertise. This brings new services for searching and exchanging semantically enriched content, enabling tourism businesses to be part of a large network.

In effect the project's results introduce new technologies and services to the tourism sector, with the potential to benefit other fields as well. If the uptake of this technology succeeds, it can only benefit SMEs and help them become more competitive.

Related information


Information services, travel industry, SMEs, tourism, HARMOSEARCH, semantic meta-search
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top