Hotels are continually generating data. The PMS, booking platforms, POS systems, WiFi technologies,... many systems participate in this continuous data generation. And despite it is obvious for all hoteliers the enormous potential in terms of customer intelligence that these data hides, just a few of them are leveraging their systems data for business growth and development.
Either because is challenging for hotels to dig in the Big Data and transform it into compelling insights or even because they are not capable of gathering the data they need, the truth is that their growth and development is limited by their lack of knowledge about their customer (guests), their expectations and needs.
The way hotels generate and collect their guest data has changed drastically in the last few years. Now these data, instead of that in paper-based surveys, are spread among the different technologies and systems running in a hotel. So we have a lot of data in a lot of places, which makes it more complex to leverage it.
How data can help hotel growth and development
A hotel company is generating data about its customers during its different touch-points. During the booking request, when arriving at the hotel, during the hotel stay, and even after the hotel stay. If we would be able to collect the relevant data from every one of these touch-points and integrate it, we will have a good picture of our customer and its journey.
Apart from that, the hotel data is extremely valuable to monitor and analyze the hotel operations, and thus be able to improve it.
So even though if it is for growth and development in business or improvement and streamline in operational processes, data are one of the greatest assets that hoteliers have to succeed.
Where can we find valuable insights
As we already mentioned, hotels are continually generating data related to their guests, their operations, etc. in several systems. These are the top 5 sources of data from where hoteliers can extract valuable insights to drive their growth and development.
- Booking systems: By gathering the data generated during the search and booking processes in our different distribution channels, hoteliers will be able to understand better what their potential customers are looking for. Most of the time hospitality companies have limited insights regarding what their real demand is because the systems they have in place only provides them with data about the converted sales. But what if they could explore also what happened in all the availability request performed by potential customers throughout their several distribution channels. This information can lead them to identify lost opportunities and understand the reason why some of these availability searches are not converting, and adapt their offer and prices to increase the conversion, for example.
- Property Management System: Being the main system for hoteliers to manage their guest's reservations, guest profile, check-in, check-outs, etc., clearly the PMS is a relevant source for compelling guest data. Unfortunately, the potential of this data often remains untapped due to hard-to-decipher reports generated by the PMS. That’s why some hotels are extracting their PMS data and send it to their own BI or analytics tools, to freely play with the information and generate the insights needed to better segment their customer database for marketing campaigns, for example; or better understanding customer profile for designing an improved in-stay experience.
- WiFi technologies: Most of the time hoteliers can access data regarding the behavior of the guests before the stay and the opinions shared by the guests after the stay, but just a few of them are successfully collecting data related to the guest's behavior during the stay. One of the main sources for data related to the guests during the stay can be the data generated by the WiFi technologies from the hotel, that for example can be used to generate insights about the movements of the guests inside the hotel.
- Guest reviews: One of the most useful data collection tools a hotel can have is a reputation management software. This technology allows the hoteliers to gather data from the reviews and social comments their guests are publicly sharing about them and from these messages they can produce the insights needed to improve the customer experience and increase the satisfaction level. repeat bookings and building loyalty, if email address acquisition is not a top marketing priority.
Main growth and development opportunities from leveraging guest data
Improve the guest experience: That’s the primary objective of the majority of data and analytics programs that hospitality companies develop to gather and explore the guest's data. For hotel operators, an excellent guest experience means a strong competitive advantage. Nowadays customers expect a delightful service and more personalization, and for that end is primordial to deeply understand the guest's needs, aspirations and behavior.
Improve the inventory management: Hotels are continually struggling to fill their inventory, their rooms, with enough demand and vice versa, have enough offer to the demand they receive. In other words, at an inventory management level for a hotel is a problem running out of rooms but also having too many empty rooms. Being able to leverage and analyze demand, customer, behavioral and even third party data (weather predictions, cultural events,...) can make a difference in the way a hospitality company adapts its offer and manage its inventory.
Optimize staff management: A staff shortage means longer wait times and unsatisfied guests and being overstaffed means increased costs and overhead. So, having the right data to make improved decisions on how we manage, forecast and schedule the hotel staff is vital.
Improve marketing strategies: The guest's data is the main source of information for a reliable customer profile and segmentation, which is basic of hotel marketers want to develop targeted, personalized and successful marketing campaigns.