Part 4 of 4
All that Big Data Matters – Hoteliers, learn how to leverage this data
Hospitality industry captures numerous data from various sources. Guests start leaving a data stream from the instant they start their search till the time they check out. Technology experts, as well as hotels are beginning to get deeper with turning that data into actionable insights. However, for many hotels, this data is still largely underused.
In our previous blogs of this series, we have discussed the importance of choosing your comp-set wisely and the role of technology in evolving the role of Revenue Manager. In this final part, we shall be discussing the significance of Big Data in hospitality and shaping the role of a new age Revenue Manager.
Getting meaningful insights from heaps of unstructured data that hotels have is a huge challenge. Deriving action worthy information from different sets of large data and trying to understand the relation between these data sets about the customer preferences is not easy.
The ability to aggregate big data into meaningful insight helps hoteliers to provide unparalleled opportunities to improve existing guest services, create innovative marketing strategies, improve the efficiency of operations, and enhance the overall growth and profitability of the hotel.
Facilitate data gathering: To start with, hotels should facilitate an environment for gathering data from their guests. But how can they do this? Simply by ensuring that guests have free Wi-Fi. This will help you to tap a lot of hidden potential. How?
Almost every guest travels with at least one device (laptop, tablet or mobile), and it is said that only 1% of hotel guest fills the paper post –visit survey as compared to 21-30 % using mobile or similar devices. This stat explains the point clearly.
We cannot ignore the fact that hotels need assistance to extract & exploit this data. Various technology vendors offer data and transform the data into something meaningful. For example, having a powerful channel manager can provide a wealth of information about your incoming reservations including Channel Booked, Length of Stay, Booking Window, etc. This will surely save hoteliers a considerable time and money, which otherwise would have been spent on huge IT infrastructure to get valuable information from huge data files.
Let us have a look at what areas big data can be applied for generating better results for your hotel:
- Using big data to provide personalized experience: This is the most important area where you can apply big data. The vast amount of information can be collected through different sources like; guest feedback, storing customer demographics and details from past stays. The internet and social media provide greater details regarding online guest reviews. Booking and review sites are also a big source of information.
Hotels can use this collated information for the future and can delight their guests by making suggestions based on their culinary likes and other such details like the choice of room and newspaper. Such an approach surely improves the travel experience for the guests and makes them more likely to return and resulting in higher customer loyalty.
Utilize big data to devise more targeted marketing strategy: Hotels can use big data to come up with a much-targeted marketing approach for each customer segment type. Another approach is to tap guests spending more time on social media, with social media specific ads and campaigns.
Using big data in an effective manner will help you optimize your marketing spends across different channels. Additionally, big data can help hotels identify the downsides too. This will help them recognize the areas they are losing their customers.
Consider this example: Analysis of weblog will help identify the point where guests are abandoning your brand site to switch to your competitors. This can help hotels to identify the problem, look for a solution accordingly, and thus increase customer revenue.
Big data for capacity planning: Hotels can utilize big data received from a variety of sources such as social media, user-generated content sites, reservation, and booking logs, call centre logs, emails, photos, videos etc. to make smarter strategies, more dynamic pricing decisions and optimized capacity planning. Most hotels lose money because of inaccurate capacity planning or incorrect demand prediction.
The Challenges: The biggest challenge is to constantly derive relevant and actionable insights from loads of data generated every day from different sources.
Traditional organizational set-up, adoption of new technology, skilled resources are some of the main challenges. The security concern is another threat to the collection of big data from the internet.
Despite these threats, big data is here to stay and will evolve hospitality industry in a big way and continue to open up many opportunities for the hospitality industry to engage with customers, offer customized services and come up with a more targeted marketing approach.
Whether you are an experienced Revenue Manager or a student looking to start a career in Revenue Management, understanding and incorporating the above shared 4 aspects to your everyday practice will help you become a tech savvy, modern Revenue Manager who is well-equipped to manage multiple aspects of the evolving role.