From the moment a guest books your property to the moment they check-out, every touch point with a hotel guest compiles valuable data that can be used to elevate the guest experience and make better forecasts for your hotel. Harnessing the power of your hotel data will give you insights on who is staying at your property and how to cater to each segment of your demographic. In today’s article, we’ll get into where to harness your hotel data from, and the best ways to put it to use.
This one probably seems like the most obvious but for fair reason. It contains the most important details about your clients. When a guest makes a direct booking, the reservation data can tell you all the fine details of your guest. Things like contact info, room type and rate selected, any add-on purchases, and preferences are captured at the time of the booking. This allows you to get to know your guests before they even step through the doors.
You should compile this hotel data in a guest profile that establishes stay history and important personal details like anniversaries, birthdays, special requests (like allergies or food preferences), services used and more. A good CRM will help you do this. This hotel data will contribute to your overall property analysis and help you make better pricing and marketing strategies which ultimately help you increase our bottom line. This hotel data also helps your revenue manager forecast your business for the year by understanding what type of travellers like to stay with you at what time of the year. By being able to project this, you can identify booking and occupancy trends and know when to promote specific shoulder periods to specific segments ensuring a consistent occupancy rate for your property.
Guest emails and phone numbers are key to establish and maintain relationships with your clients before, during and after their stay. This information is typically obtained through the booking process and should be made mandatory because the hotel needs a way of communicating all the logistical details for their stay. Having your PMS synced with your CRM will log this info automatically for you, making the data collection seamless. Not only is data collection automated, but you’ll be able to improve the guest journey by consistently and conveniently communicating with your guests about their needs instantly. You’ll be able to automate communications like pre-visit checklists and stay reminders to keep your guests engaged and informed, without all the extra labour on your end.
Social media has become the main way travellers share their experiences. Social media is a beast of it’s own and there is much data to be harnessed available at your fingertips. Hoteliers can gather information about guests profiles, what their interests are and the type of segments that stay at their property (and competitor properties). This allows you to know who you’re up against and tailor your offers and packages to the specific preferences of the guest segments that stay with you. For example, you search up your geo-tag and find guests that love staying at your property because it’s situated next to very popular restaurants or coffee shops. Offering them a discount or voucher at one of those restaurants or leaving a bag of locally roasted beans from one of those shops is a great personal touch that guests genuinely appreciate and remember. With the millennial age group becoming the most prominent demographic of travellers today, social media is a gold mine worth tapping into.
Putting the hotel data to work: turning variables into value
While many hotel software systems have built-in analytics tools, their capabilities tend to be restricted and not as robust when it comes to solving narrow tasks in a particular niche. For example, a PMS system may provide you with basic business KPIs but it won’t necessarily explain the cause. This quantitative data is then left for you to add the qualitative data and draw your own conclusions. To be able to dive deeper into the available hotel data you have and turn it into actionable decisions, integrating tailored business intelligence (BI) solutions with your tech stack will work with various data sources and present robust results.
These are a few of the things you can achieve with an integrated BI solution with your current tech stack:
Demand forecasting and price optimization
Demand forecasting and price optimization are the main functions of a revenue manager. They aim to maximize profitability for hotels by selling the right rooms, at the right time, in the right place (distribution channels), to the right person (customer segment). Having the right technology will be the key to solving this equation that has many variables.
An example of this is the ProfitSword X Event Temple integration. ProfitSword is a premier developer of hospitality-related business intelligence and hotel data integration software and has announced a strategic partnership with Event Temple, a leading provider of hotel and venue sales and catering software. Together, they provide hoteliers complete visibility over group, catering and event sales performance activity. With the integration, hoteliers are able to gain deep, accurate analysis of current sales efforts to optimize revenue performance across the entire organization, or quickly re-evaluate and change sales strategies in fluctuating market conditions.
Estimating channel profitability
This one tackles the importance of knowing which distribution channels are most effective for your hotel. To understand the demand level of each of your distribution channels on a superficial level, look through your PMS reports. However, for an in-depth analysis of the channel’s true value, you’ll need to dig in to facts and figures like:
– Commissions + advertising costs
– Average income broken down by day, month and year
– Cancellation rate
– Which days of the week does each channel bring in the most bookings
Feeding this hotel data into your BI solution, you can identify which OTAs, third party booking engines and metasearch will attract the best room reservations and allow you to design the optimal channel mix, while cutting out sources that generate little revenue.
Improving customer experience
Data has shown that only one in five hotel companies have a customer satisfaction program. A client-first approach requires investments and is typically not top of mind for most organizations. However, saving costs immediately proposes a risk to losing clients to competitors in the near future.
At the core of a successful client-first strategy is guest data captured by the hotel software. BI tools can turn superficial data into actionable insights on what should be improved to increase guest satisfaction and how to elevate the customer journey at every step of the way.
An example of this is Denihan Hospitality: they utilized a BI analytics tool to extract customer insights from internal hotel data and comments on metasearch sites. Their findings gave the company executives to better understand their customer’s needs and preferences. The number one complaint across their 11 hotels in New York was the constant outside noise. Their response to this was the “Put NYC on mute” initiative and provided all their guest rooms with free earplugs. The investment in this data has gained over 30 times the revenue it initially invested and has increased the loyalty of those customers.
Identifying the total guest value
From a sales perspective, not all guests are equal. Some visitors book the room and that’s all they spend on, while others like to splurge on room service, spas, casinos, and etc. Using BI tools will allow sales teams to go beyond the standard performance KPIs such as RevPAR (revenue per available room) and identify the most profitable customers and their consumer behaviour and habits. This information will give your sales teams a one up on recognizing clients with higher potential to spend and tailor personalized offers and efforts into turning them into loyal repeat clients.
Overall, when it comes to making decisions at your property, you need insightful hotel data to help make these decisions. Using what you already have at your hotel is a great way to start, but considering integrating it with other BI tools will open many doors to the type of information you can use to make insightful strategies to elevate your guests experience and ultimately raise your bottom line.