During the last few years, many companies have been widening their approach to data analytics, thinking of their analytics as a broad strategy. So they jumped from having analytics siloed in each application to a holistic project in where they feed a central analytical platform with several data sources to generate more valuable insights and pave the way towards artificial intelligence and predictive analytics applications. With these better insights, they are improving their customer experience, innovation, efficiency, and boosting their sales.
Toward a more efficient use of guest analytics in hospitality
Some hospitality companies are also embracing this new data and hotel guest analytics analytics trend that is helping them to improve their guest analytics in three main areas:
- Customer Segmentation. Analyzing customer behavior during the pre-booking and booking journey to understand what the decision factors are attracting customers to book a room and how the customer is interacting with your booking platform in order to identify your customer segments and design targeted offers to convert them.
- Guest Behavior. Leveraging guest behavior to adapt service, experience, and offers to the actual aspirations of your guests.
- Operational efficiency. Collecting and analyzing data related to your operations, workforce, and day-to-day processes to identify areas of improvement and increase productivity.
Mastering in the data collection
The advanced guest analytics programs that hoteliers around the world are putting in place require first to examine the data that are being leveraged. Identifying and leveraging the right data is becoming a vital source of competitive advantage. However, even with the technologies that exist, gathering the correct data is not always easy. Data are increasing in volume, type, format, and sources. That’s why most hoteliers’ data remain an underused asset.
On the other hand, every hospitality company will have a different data and analytics strategy with different goals that will determine what data it wants to use and how it wants to leverage existing data, acquire new data, and combine the various data sources.
It is clear that this more consistent use of data across the hoteliers starts from identifying relevant data sources that go beyond the traditional ones, such as the PMS or the POS.
Data sources for advanced hotel guests analytics
Some leading hospitality companies have started to include data from fancy sources, such as third-party data or WiFi access points data, in their analytics projects.
The third-party information from sources such as Tripadvisor or social media, for example, enables hoteliers to glean real customer feedback that provides a precious set of insights that are becoming vital to improving the customer experience. The way the hotel finally uses and integrates this data might be a differentiator; some hotels are just feeding their analytical platforms with this data, some others are creating visualizations in real time to track and timely detect any issue continually, and others are matching these social data with their PMS for broader analysis.
WiFi access point data is being used by some innovative hoteliers to understand onsite motion and including heatmaps and guests’ flows in their guests’ analytics metrics. Being able to identify when a particular segment is visiting the pool area, what the most visited facilities are at a concrete time frame, how much time are new guests in the check-in area… all this further information allows hoteliers to design their guest experience better and plan their teams and operations to serve customer needs.
3 mantras to nail your hotel guest analytics
Most of the time, guests’ analytics are helping hoteliers to enjoy new insights that are exposing the true drivers of profits. As a result of this advanced intelligence, hotel operators are starting to measure things that matter and, consequently, make better decisions.
To ensure that our guest analytics program will lead us to real competitive advantage, we need to follow these three foundations:
Ask. Don’t take anything for granted, avoid suppositions, and continually question everything. Data will lead to unexpected insights, so we need to be open-minded. Some large hotel chains are still relying upon customer intelligence insights generated long time ago that might no longer be relevant, considering that guests’ expectations have changed radically (not just because we are now selling to a new generation, but also because customers in general are now used to fundamentally different experiences). Some of the company beliefs might come from times when the hotel had limited customer data, so their performance indicators can be based on variables or factors that are not relevant anymore.
Look. As we previously said, this new approach to guest analytics will require leveraging data from other sources. We already pointed out the third-party social or reviews data and the WiFi access point data, but there are many other external data sources, such as the weather or local-regional events information. For example, as Comcast Business points out in an exciting report, understanding inclement weather that could leave travelers scrambling for rooms can give hotels an edge in planning, and knowing which events will bring in large crowds can help hotels accommodate and have the right amenities at the ready.
Spread. Guest analytics must be broad, not just in terms of approach but also in terms of impact. That means that we must be sure that everybody has proper access to the resulting insights and information. That way, managers of each area (marketing, operations, revenue management, etc.) can rely on the right information for their decisions, identify growth and improvement opportunities in their areas of influence, and at the same time better calculate the potential impact of them.
Driving hotel innovation with better guest analytics
Guest Analytics will undoubtedly drive to new insights, and these new insights will become the main competitive advantage for leading hoteliers. Innovations, better customer experience, better customer segmentation, and targeting, improved pricing, increased revenue, and, finally, sustainable and constant growth will be the excellent results from the bet for a new data and analytics strategy adapted to new times.