DALLAS  – In the age of big data, one of the most vexing issues for business is figuring out just how to put all that intelligence to use.

DHISCO Inc., the world’s leading hospitality distribution company, recently partnered with the Innovation Greenhouse at the University of North Texas to open part of its global database and challenge students to come up with next-generation business intelligence solutions.

The inventive proposals presented by students at the Big Data Challenge underscore the importance of DHISCO’s commitment to advancing the hospitality industry’s analysis of massive amounts of data.

A team of computer science students, called Team SQL 6, took Best in Show for digging into DHISCO’s data to see hotel-specific rate and booking information as broader industry trends.

DHISCO CEO Toni Portmann said the level of interest from the students, professors and industry leaders who helped judge the competition was exciting.

“The students were given a sandbox of raw data and challenged to make some level of intelligence out of it,” Portmann said. “I knew we would have a great time, but I have to admit I was blown away by the level of response and the quality of entries. The students’ use of sophisticated tools and the results they produced offer some valuable real-world lessons for the hospitality industry on data mining and market innovation.”

Portmann said she looks forward to continuing to collaborate with UNT and leaders across the industry to continue developing next-generation business intelligence solutions.

Joining Portmann and Michael Monticino, UNT professor and dean of the Toulouse Graduate School, to judge the final round of the competition were Dave Mitzner, TravelClick senior vice president of strategic alliances, Bob Bennett, Kalibri Labs co-founder and COO, Brant Deranger, Sabre Hospitality Solutions vice president of service delivery, and Alise Deeb, LQ Management LLC senior vice president of revenue management.

DHISCO provided the teams with 14 terabytes of hospitality data that had been scrubbed of confidential and competitive information. The teams were challenged to come up with the best ideas for turning the data into insights and using those insights to find competitive advantages.

More than 90 students on 28 teams competed, representing the finance, marketing, business, data science, hospitality management, information technology, economics and other departments.

SQL 6’s winning entry created a dashboard for each of the hotels in the database. The dashboards showed averages for each property, including weekly bookings and rates.  The team’s analysis demonstrated that people tend to book the most after 5 p.m. and within a just a couple of days prior to arrival. They also mined the data that illustrates where a given group of individuals is most likely to book.

Other presentations included an analysis of reservation cancellations and modifications, a dashboard to determine when and where to advertise to best target specific audiences and a parsing of data that showed how group sizes impact lengths of stay.

About DHISCO Inc.

DHISCO Inc. is the world’s original and leading hospitality distribution company, providing the most reliable and advanced technology to connect hotels around the world with online travel agencies, global distribution systems, metasearch engines and other travel partners. Since 1989, DHISCO has built its reputation on providing the most efficient and affordable means to market, capture and book hotel reservations. Today, it moves more than 9 billion transactions a month for more than 100,000 hotels in over 200 countries.

About Innovation Greenhouse, UNT

Innovation Greenhouse at UNT provides students from across academic disciplines a place to incubate their ideas into action and create their own paths to opportunity. Students who are the next scientists, graphic artists, engineers, business leaders and writers can create, collaborate, test theories and learn from mentors. Their classroom is the entrepreneurial frontier of North Texas –  home to one of the fastest-growing economies in the nation.