Thanks to advanced business intelligence (BI) tools, hotel operators today can spend more time focused on analyzing the data rather than collecting the data. They can get more work done within the same timeframe, and make better, faster decisions along the way.
Beyond measuring the extent to which ADR and RevPAR have been optimized, and making it easier to adjust pricing as necessary to maintain a competitive advantage, they can engage in all kinds of ad hoc data analysis. They can make changes to key assumptions, look at business outcomes over different time periods, test every imaginable scenario, and understand the financial impact of their decisions. They can run what-if analyses, simulating the impact of data changes on overall patterns or derived calculations.
Having such analytic capabilities at their fingertips can force people to question assumptions at all levels of the organization. An unexpected result deserves to be questioned until it becomes certain it is not based on faulty data or a flawed analysis. Again, what should be avoided is the smug I know better attitude that has been known to blind hotel operators particularly, seasoned revenue managers to genuine opportunities to increase RevPAR.
A next-generation BI solution can force everyone, from the general manager to the sales, marketing, and guest services teams, to think more strategically than ever before. It can spur them to drive the business further and faster. It can enable them to respond more quickly to business change and empower them to drive integrated decision-making and ownership.
The desire to enhance a hotels analytic capabilities is driven by the recognition of the existing gaps in the organizations current BI capabilities.
According to the new Starfleet Research study How to Leverage Business Intelligence to Improve Hotel Performance (currently available for complimentary download), there are many ways hotel operators can improve their BI capabilities. Here are four recommendations:
Focus on improving data quality. Data quality will never be perfect, but there is always room for improvement. Errors invariably creep in through manual data entry as well as from glitches in automated data merge processes. Look for ways to identify and eliminate errors, by improving validation at the entry stage, cross-checking reference data against other databases, and employing data cleansing solutions that use algorithms to flag anomalies and contradictions.
Track and measure results. Can an increase in RevPAR be attributed to a new BI solution and the actionable insights it produced? It can be difficult to determine the financial impact of faster and better decisions. Its easier to pay attention to employee usage and satisfaction metrics. Ultimately, hotel operators should select metrics that really matter for the performance of the business as well as ones that are specific to the users individual areas of accountability.
Annotate and collaborate. Most BI dashboards allow users to add comments and tags to data that is presented to multiple people. This commentary enables a conversation about data and can add greatly to the value of BI. Hotel executives can ask questions and knowledgeable users can answer; people can point out important discrepancies; and everyone can see which data points gather comments and which collect dust.
Ensure a positive mobile experience. Having the right data at the right time means being able to access and analyze that data on a mobile device. The mobile dashboard should provide an accurate, real-time graphical representation of the data with a user-friendly interface.
To learn more, read the Starfleet Research study How to Leverage Business Intelligence to Improve Hotel Performance, which is currently available for complimentary download.
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