automated reviews guest personalization Loyalty Programs

How Having the Right Data can Boost Your Independent Hotel Business

Prabhash Bhatnagar
Prabhash Bhatnagar

Significance of data

With the hotel industry evolving so rapidly, change seems to be the only constant. Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), mobile technology and loyalty programs are just some of the changes that have recently rocked the industry. With new developments happening every few months, chances are that the process changes you implement in your property are already redundant.

In such a challenging environment, hotels can turn to data to generate new levels of guest personalization, maximize RoI and improve efficiency – the three pillars of hotel operations. Since most bookings are done online, there’s an abundance of data available to hoteliers by which they can address a whole range of questions. This can vary from simple questions like what kind of guests frequent the property to complex ones like how to price rooms for the upcoming holidays.

Needless to say, major hospitality brands have already recognized the value in data and are analyzing them to create impactful business decisions. For instance, Disney World Resort guests now use MagicBands instead of carrying their room keys or entrance passes. When guests book their trips to Disney World Resort, initial data is collected and stored in an encrypted database. Then MagicBands uses radio-frequency technology to connect guests with their trip necessities.

Data and analytics

So what should be your hotel’s data goals?

Invest in a system that’s intuitive enough to assist you with the following,

Guest profiling:

Guests love special attention. Say, a married couple is coming to stay with you for the first time. The guest information logged into your system shows they arrive on their anniversary date. So, you may place a bottle of wine and a card wishing them on their special day. This will impress them and their chances of returning to you are much higher now. Not to mention the word of mouth marketing that you have ensured.

Impress a loyal guest:

Let’s say a guest has come to stay with you for the 2nd time. Your hotel system tells you he had requested for a sea-view room during his last visit. Going by this, you present special deals that your hotel might be running on sea-view rooms, maybe offer a special discount since he is a returning guest. A great way to upsell rooms and services.

Automated reviews:

There is hardly any geography that isn’t under the scanner of TripAdvisor, the hotel review giant. It has the potential to create great credibility and visibility for your hotel. Cloud PMS’s like Hotelogix come with the easy option of automated review collection through TripAdvisor to enhance hotel reviews and ranking. Your hotel must leverage on this opportunity, and it’s a great way to get feedback on areas that need attention.

Right pricing strategy:

How was sales during last Christmas? Were the rates constant through the entire holiday season or were they dynamic? Did you check how OTAs and other hotels in your area are pricing rooms? The answer lies in your hotel data – occupancy report, ADR, RevPAR and more such metrics.

Effective marketing:

Analyze your hotel data to understand which offers are popular, what items are fast moving in your POS outlets, which seasons attract high occupancy and which social media channel is the most effective in pulling in bookings. Plan your marketing strategies according to your findings and ensure maximum returns.

Intelligent systems have the capability to maneuver through multiple platforms like Google, Facebook, etc to extract relevant data, analyze and make sense of it. Very few industries, like hospitality, are positioned to leverage this abundant data, which is so easily available. With guests active on OTAs, hotel websites and social media channels, they are leaving behind digital touch points all over.

Digital footprints left by a typical US traveller by ThinkwithGoogle

Property Management Systems, Review Sites, Revenue Management platforms are using data collected by them to arm hotels with the right information in order to enhance guest experience. With hotel chains and independent properties both warming up to the benefits of real time data (thanks to cloud), it’s a matter of time before data analysis becomes a way of life for hoteliers.

Data and analytics