As companies grow, they introduce software solutions to support their expanded, various business departments, and this is no different in the hotel industry. Because these supporting systems are often added at different points in time and are either purchased from vendors, created in-house, or are standalone spreadsheet workarounds, they aren’t originally designed to communicate or work together, creating silos of data.
Specific applications without a mechanism to successfully integrate these data silos can cause staff to become data producers instead of data consumers. That lack of data-driven decision making can lead to decreased productivity, increased costs, complexity in learning and using data, and the inability to have real-time visibility of hotel financial performance across multiple platforms. Without data integration and an application that facilitates the use of data, hotels will find it difficult to properly balance data-driven decision making with the power of human intuition, as managers can become lost in disparate silos of data.
When operating a single property or an entire portfolio, few areas are as important as the ability to quickly consume, analyze, and make decisions based on up-to-date, real-time information. A single hotel may rely on a dozen or more different applications or data-driven services on a daily basis to drive and control revenues and manage expenses. When managing an entire portfolio of hotels the number and types of applications and the locations of data sources used increases dramatically. Add in the complication of each hotel’s system—possibly unique on a transaction level—and it’s an almost overwhelming task to try and manage the performance in an efficient, cost-effective manner.
Efficient and Accurate Data Management
A recent study of travel professionals who work with data found that more than a third found it challenging to integrate data from external sources. Selecting a single vendor, company, or building a homegrown system that attempts to integrate multiple systems across multiple functional areas is not always the best solution—hotel companies that use one fully integrated system often sacrifice software functionality and flexibility. So what options do hoteliers have to respond to this challenge?
With the many types of systems that hotel staff use on a daily basis, there is a growing trend toward single, external data management tools that automatically integrate with existing hotel systems, such as property and revenue management systems. For instance, focusing only on room revenue from one system when forcasting revenue can present a distorted analysis, as factors like payroll and food and beverage profits can also play an equally influential role. This is where data integration systems come in to play. These tools improve the communication between existing systems and users to pull data from unconnected systems into one single application. This ultimately allows staff to visualize the bigger picture of property finance and data management to make better and quicker operating decisions.
A recommended solution for hoteliers for efficient and accurate data management is selecting best-in-breed software solutions for functional areas, and integrating the required data necessary into a single data warehouse for complete hotel financial performance management. With the right systems in place, hotels can both function at peak performance and give managers and executives the power to manage data effectively across all platforms to create a well-rounded and successful operation.
About the Author
Paul Bennie is the director of global sales at ProfitSword.