Prototype three: finding value in and adding value to data

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This prototype explores how a peer-to-peer accommodation platform called The Best Holidays adds further value on top of an open dataset by curating it and augmenting it for their own users.

Our third prototype explores how a peer-to-peer accommodation platform called The Best Holidays adds further value on top of an open dataset by curating it and augmenting it for their own users.

The Best Holidays caters to families. Their business focus is to highlight accommodation in quieter areas away from busy roads, or whose owners have considered issues such as storage for buggies, space for travel cots and safety features such as stair gates. Another important consideration for families are suitable activities, such as alternative plans for rainy days.

Looking again to the Sport England dataset, The Best Holidays can identify local sports facilities that would suit a family. For example, swimming pools that are defined as  ‘Leisure pools’, which are described in the accompanying API documentation as “primarily designed for informal recreational swimming and may include flumes, slides, beach areas, water jets, and wave machines”. They can also identify ‘Learner/Teaching/Training’ pools, suitable for younger children.

The Best Holidays adds their own unique value to an open dataset by selecting only data that is relevant to their business model, and presenting it in a way that makes best sense to their own users.

In this example, besides showing the Sport England dataset information, they have shown information relevant to parents that would benefit the user, such as proximity to child-friendly restaurants, neighborhood quietness, and closeness to parks and museums.

This data is obtained by cross-referencing property listings with points of interest in OpenStreetMap (parks, restaurants, museums, soft play areas, etc) and integrating that with property listings.

Finding opportunities in data

By exploring data that is collected and managed by a third party who knows a domain well, it is possible to discover opportunities and connections that are unique to The Best Holidays without incurring the cost of data collection. In other words, the data facilitates innovation, business development and partnership building, and strengthens relationships in the communities in which The Best Holidays operates.

The Best Holidays approaches those sites identified as providing family-friendly facilities or activities and agrees special discount or package deals. This serves the double purpose of bringing business to the sports facilities and making the accommodation platform more attractive to families.

The prototype presents this concept from the user perspective. The Best Holidays has already used the dataset to identify partner facilities, and has agreed special package deals for the families using this family-friendly accommodation platform. These deals are offered to the user through the website.

Prototype three walkthrough:


Benefits of showing curated information

  • Gives platform a competitive advantage: they can provide services that are more enriched with relevant information than other platforms
  • Allows platforms to create more targeted, distinct services
  • Improves services for end users
  • Reduces the cost and risks of adopting a dataset maintained by a third party – through curation, less of the data gets displayed, and the likelihood that the curation is a manual process adds a layer of human vetting to the integration

Challenges to this model of information curation

  • Needs hands-on teams to engage potential partners, harvest the data, curate it and create value from it. Would necessitate a lot of extra work power
  • Some places might not have the right kind of data available, making some destinations much less interesting than others
  • Most peer-to-peer platforms might not have the time or appetite for such complex model integrations to their platforms
  • Some sources might not be easy to cross reference with, as they could not have unique stable identifiers for places for example. Our work with Thomson Reuters on the value of open identifiers is a useful starting point for those looking to understand more about this area