Once upon a time, hoteliers had to rely on spotty and inconsistent feedback from the field and handwritten information stored in bulky, three-ring binders to make business decisions. Now, thanks to technology, the communication with the field can be consistent and real-time and the binders are history (for the most part). They have been replaced with essential digital metrics for hoteliers to slice and dice in limitless ways. But with an overwhelming supply of data, many hoteliers suffer from paralysis-by-analysis. With the right analytics-driven platform in place, brands can access the industry’s most powerful data–including financial performance and profitability trends of the assets, STR data, PMS stats, guest satisfaction surveys, comments, and operational snapshots from multiple properties at once–all at their fingertips.
Below are three tips for hoteliers to leverage “big data” to gain essential business insights and drive revenue.
1. Embrace hotel-specific software.
When it comes to financial and operational performance, hoteliers have a unique set of needs that must be met by an intuitive solution specially designed, developed, and deployed to make their lives easier. Many companies are enticed by the promises of an ERP solution, only to find that the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t fit their shops at all, add-ons are expensive and rarely anticipated, and contracts are anything but flexible and “user-friendly” for the hotel industry.
If a guest has a bad experience, they won’t be back, yet every day, hoteliers sign agreements binding them to industry-agnostic and labor-intensive solutions giving them essentially no recourse when the system(s) fail to give them what they need. By selecting a niche, ERP-lite solution that is specifically programmed to deal with hospitality challenges and cultures, hotel companies can take advantage of customizing their data and benchmarking against peers to gain an edge over the competition. This combination of offerings provides the freedom hoteliers need to spend less time compiling and processing data and more time serving guests and motivating employees.
2. Using a system firmly anchored in the cloud.
By compiling data within a single access point, cloud-based reporting tools provide a real-time snapshot of financial performance across property lines, allowing hoteliers and management teams to make quicker, smarter decisions for their business. Using reliable APIs, an adequate data storage system should be able to seamlessly integrate with third-party vendors to transport data quickly from one point to another, removing the need for manual transport.
3. Consider leveraging hotel-specific financial benchmarking tools.
For hospitality companies seeking a leg up in the marketplace, hotel financial benchmarking data shows where a property stacks up compared to similar hotels across the industry. By performing real-time industry analytics and trend analysis, hotel benchmarking enables owners, investors, and management teams to analyze wages, purchasing habits, client services, outside vendor costs, and more.
The new language of the industry is data. For businesses navigating the digital age, becoming fluent in data management is key to staying ahead of the curve. Instead of shying away from the sea of information available, hoteliers should recognize the opportunity to partner with an intelligent solution that can translate the bigger story analytics are telling.
About the Author
Scott Watson is executive vice president of sales and marketing at M3, a cloud-based financial platform and services company built by hoteliers, exclusively for hoteliers.