MapCase: Tapping into data from over 200,000 sports enthusiasts

MapCase GmbH is a start-up from Eschborn, Germany. The company collects real-time, GPS-based data from approximately 200,000 mobile app users. To analyze this huge stream of information, MapCase was looking for a solution with very specific capabilities. The tool had to be able to quickly evaluate relevant data for specific target audiences, process this data in an interactive format, and then share the results online. After trying out a number of products, MapCase chose Tableau.

Bastian Kneissl, founder and CEO of MapCase Media GmbH

Through the MapCase suite of apps, skiers, hikers, and cyclists give feedback on the spot. This data is supplemented by social media, hotel ratings, targeted survey, and other touch points.

The data is relevant to both the tourism industry and sport product brands, opening up a direct channel to customers and allowing them to immediately react to current trends.

Using Tableau Server, MapCase embeds powerful dashboards into their products—and the demand for their solution is growing within the industry. Knowing the preferences, usage behavior, and satisfaction of their respective target audiences enables tourism companies to optimize their activities in entirely new ways.

Thanks to Tableau, MapCase is confident that they will become one of the major players in this market going forward.

Geolocation data: A big opportunity for marketing experts

Mapcase embeds Tableau visualizations into their MountLytics product. This heatmap shows the geographical distribution of app users.

Mapcase develops mobile apps MAPtoSNOW, MAPtoHIKE and MAPtoBIKE. The apps continuously record GPS data and allow their users—winter sport enthusiasts, hikers and cyclists—to keep track of their own achievements and compare them with others. To drive customer engagement and app usage, MapCase offers a variety of additional functions, such as prizes for certain achievements, virtual competitions, scavenger hunts and leaderboards.

According to Bastian Kneissl, co-founder and CEO of MapCase, more than 200,000 sports enthusiasts worldwide actively use the MapCase apps. They open a dialog with the user, asking a variety of questions regarding satisfaction with the touristic offers or recommendations for other users worldwide. All of this information — combined with positional data — is collected on the MapCase servers in virtually real time.

“Thanks to our apps, we had built a very valuable channel for interaction and started to actively encourage our users to give feedback about their satisfaction with the provided services,” says Bastian Kneissl. “We knew which routes and ski slopes were particularly popular and which ones weren’t. We knew what age and gender groups would stay where and for how long, and how satisfied they were with what was offered to them.”

Mapcase gathers real-time activity data from their mobile apps. Customers can then view this data through interactive dashboards, allowing target audience analysis at a glance.

It became clear that this sort of information was in demand, with both marketing and tourism companies. Before Mapcase, it hadn't been possible to collect and utilize this data using conventional methods. Companies were intrigued by the ability to identify preferences, usage patterns of regional facilities, and satisfaction levels in a timely fashion.

“Our interactivity and real-time insight into customers opens a direct channel between the tourism industry and their customers, allowing them to immediately react to current trends,” says Kneissl. The challenge for MapCase was to process those continuous streams of huge amounts of data in the shortest possible time and in a way that would allow a wide variety of companies in the tourism industry to leverage the results when making their decisions. Initial attempts at manually analyzing the data and creating reports that made sense had taken almost four full days.

This new business model has only been made possible by Tableau’s lightning-fast interactive real-time analytics!

Tableau beats competition as analytics solution

When evaluating a range of analytics products, the MapCase team was focused on a few factors. They wanted to be able to quickly move from huge amounts of data to comprehensible reports in the shortest amount of time possible. In the end it came down to either Looker or Tableau.

“Here, Tableau was able to show its great strengths: not just the ease of use and the beauty of the dashboards, but also the enormous speed. Compared to conventional methods, the speed of Tableau was a quantum leap for us,” says Bastian Kneissl. “And last but not least Tableau stood out with its stability and by being ca. $10,000 less expensive than Looker in a comparable configuration.”

Tableau quickly became the key element in analytics at MapCase. In addition to meeting all of their requirements, employees learned how to use the software within days.

Kneissl remembers, “One of our staff had downloaded the free Tableau trial and started working with it. He didn’t want to stop. Without any training, just through learning by doing, it took him only two to three days to succeed. Meanwhile he has completed a short training at Tableau and he is still delighted with the tool.”

Today, there are two people at MapCase that use Tableau Desktop to create visualizations and dashboards. The source data is stored mainly in an Amazon Redshift database. To add more value to their analyses, MapCase incorporates data from other sources such as websites, social media campaigns, or hotel rating websites. The first dashboards were focused on analyzing usage patterns in winter sports centers. As a result, MapCase offers its analytics solution based on Tableau Server under the brand MountLytics. With a number of satisfied customers, MapCase has bridged a gap in the market.

This view tracks customer satisfaction.

Increasing adoption with tourism companies

The level of interest from prospective customers is very promising. When the winter sports season starts, Mapcase recieves a lot of inquiries from tourism managers, who have stated thinking of new ways to leverage the information. With Tableau, it is easy to add new capabilities. As new use cases develop, MapCase specialists can develop new marketing tools such as customer loyalty and engagement systems.

“Thanks to Tableau, we are naturally able to quickly incorporate additional data sources that our customer segment is especially interested in”, says Kneissl.

Dashboards like this one allow for quick monitoring of essential KPIs

Digitalization is leading to more opportunities in the tourism industry, which is going through a period of upheaval. With help from Tableau, MapCase continues to innovate, creating closer, more distinct relationships between all parties.

“This new business model has only been made possible by Tableau's lightning-fast, interactive, real-time analytics," Kneissl summarizes.

Since there is virtually no competition at the moment, MapCase executives are very enthusiastic about the future. “We are planning to expand into further markets with new apps, new analyses and in new regions,” says Kneissl. “We are very confident that with the help of Tableau we can become one of the major players out there.”

Thanks to Tableau, we are naturally able to quickly incorporate additional data sources that our customer segment is especially interested in.

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