PriVELT: PRIvacy-aware personal data management and Value Enhancement for Leisure Travellers


The provision of a seamless travel experience increasingly requires travellers to share data with numerous travel and tourism providers.

On the one hand, travel service providers need to identify effective ways to incentivise travellers to share personal data in exchange for tangible benefits such as higher quality service, personalised offers, discounts and add-on services. On the other hand, travellers need to better manage the sharing of their personal data to minimise privacy-related risks, while optimising value from a seamless travel experience.

PriVELT aims to address this two-sided challenge by:

  1. Developing an innovative, user-centric and privacy-aware digital platform that will empower leisure travellers to better manage the sharing of their personal data with travel service providers and other entities
  2. Fostering new business opportunities for the travel and tourism industry through encouraging better (more transparent and effective) usage of travellers’ data.

PriVELT aims to better explain how consumers make decisions to disclose personal information in exchange for values by drawing from theories in social sciences, including consumer psychology and behavioural economics. PriVELT also considers psychological factors, such as travellers’ limited understanding of privacy risks, which may induce irrational behaviour in privacy-related decision-making while traveling.

In order to achieve its aims, PriVELT’s research will be interdisciplinary, co-created, theory-informed, evidence-based, user-centric and real world-facing. PriVELT will combine both social and technical methods to collect and analyse data to identify and apply an array of effective nudging strategies to inform travellers with risks and consequences of sharing personal data while traveling. This will include (but not be limited to): integrating focus groups and interviews with relevant stakeholders, a panel survey, lab-based user studies and field studies with real domestic and international travellers (end users).

Digital Platform

One of the key outcomes of PriVELT is producing a digital platform. PriVELT will develop the user-centric platform based on a holistic socio-technical framework of privacy-related traveller behaviour. The framework will provide intervention points to effectively nudge travellers to share their personal data more responsibly.

The digital platform will be composed of three main components:

  • Tools at the traveller (user/client) side in the form of a mobile app
  • Infrastructure and tools at the server side for anonymised data aggregation and analytics purposes
  • API and user interfaces for consumers of data shared by travellers.

The platform will be used to:

  • Monitor travellers’ data sharing activities
  • Enhance situational awareness of privacy risks related to data shared
  • Provide an innovative way of achieving dynamic consent management for participants, allowing dynamic updating of the consent while travelling
  • Provide better recommendations for travellers to adapt their data sharing behaviours.

Work Packages

The proposed research will be conducted in four main work packages (WPs 1-4) with a separate WP5 for project management, engagement and communications.

WP1: Social Framework

WP2: Technical Framework

WP3: System Development and Testing

WP4: System Validation and Refinement

WP5: Project Management, Engagement and Communications

Project Group and Background

PriVELT has an overall budget of £~1.4m, with 80% (£~1.1m) funding from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and is led by Professor Shujun Li of Kent Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Cyber Security (KirCCS), University of Kent.  The project started in September 2018 and will run for 36 months, until September 2021.

PriVELT is one of 11 granted projects following EPSRC’s 2017 call on “Trust, Identity, Privacy and Security in the Digital Economy 2.0”.  Please see the (EPSRC news release) for its public summary of the project.

This project involves a group of researchers working in five academic disciplines (Computer Science, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Psychology, Business and Law) at four UK universities (University of KentUniversity of SurreyNottingham Trent University (the team was at University of Warwick) and Durham University).