big data, information, technology

5 Ways Hotels can Leverage Big Data

If you are not leveraging Big Data in today’s dynamic scenario, you are literally leaving money on the table. As a Hotel you collect vast amounts of data from multiple sources and as I have seen once collected this data usually just sits in different silos and does not do much for a Hotel.

If a hotel was using Big data smartly it would be able to understand so much more about its customers and leveraging the data on hand it would be able to create a larger pool of audiences to Target and bring to their Hotel.

The Big data should also be used to create Segments, Segments are brilliant tool for they give a Hotel deep insights.

The segments you create would all have very similar patterns, sure there would always be anomalies, but by and large it would be very similar.

As an e.g. if your Segment of customers is largely from Retail Sales you know that last week of a month is closing and Sales people are under extra pressure if the targets have not been met. Expect a dip in numbers from these people.

On, Similar lines your customers who come with Families to your Hotel would also behave in a very predictable manner, With Kids having exams in March, End January onward their numbers would start to go down.

Breaking down the Big Data into segments can not only help you better your forecasting but also give the right messaging to your Marketing teams as to where the Marketing spend needs to go.

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Current Scenario - Trends

Understanding what modern uber-demanding customers want and your Hotels ability to actually provide the kind of service they are looking for is a problem that can easily be solved if one just leverages the data already available.

As always there are 2 sides of the Coin, One side is what the Hotel Management / Hotel Owner believes the Guest wants and the other What the Guest actually wants. A lot of this can actually be solved easily if the Hotel would leverage Data.

The data needed here could either be first party as collected by the Hotel directly from the Guests who are staying or have stayed and the other could be from other sites where the guests have shared their feedback. (Even learn from Competition by studying their comments)

With the rise of new community-based online platforms like Airbnb the competition has become more intense. Analysts describe the context of today’s tourism, travel and hospitality industry as hyper-competitive and characterized by temporary advantages that a Hotel need to constantly monitor and adapt to, to maintain their edge and Brand Loyalty, else they stand to lose out to those Hotels which are following trends and leveraging Opportunity.

Leveraging Big Data for Targeted Marketing

It all starts with building your Customer Persona, as a Hotel you may be open to anyone and everyone but given the facilities and Infrastructure, your Hotel is bound to appeal more to certain Demographic.

By analysing the data that already exists with each of your Departments, the Hotel needs to start first with creating an Ideal profile of your potential customer.

By leveraging the feedback of this Demographic (From data in-house) you can fine tune your offerings to suit the needs of that particular demographic and become their preferred Hotel in your Geography.

This would also mean that your Marketing approach is more targeted and you are not wasting your Money on reaching out to the audience who may not be a good fit.

Hotels usually tend to try and satisfy all guests which is nearly an impossible task. By having a more focused approach you are spending your marketing budget right and improving your overall rating.

For this to be successful you need to keep the data separate, The Data from a Coffee Shop may not be a right fit for a Speciality restaurant, Tag your data and create separate segments as this would give us better insights on who your Targeted customer is.

By Focusing on the right demographic, the insights are better which in turn means that the hotel can now leverage this data to create more meaningful campaigns which should include both location advantage and be time-specific marketing, on the right platform which is relevant to your ideal customer and where your customers are more likely to interact with your brand

Big Data for Revenue Management

Advances in time-trend analysis means that hotels can more accurately forecast Holidays / events that affect occupancy. This when combined with Dynamic Pricing Automation would help your Hotel in setting optimized prices in order to achieve the best possible profit margins

By combining real time data, Trends and analysis and analyzing the offerings of your competition in your Segment, your Hotel can adjust its pricing dynamically at the right time to win over the Customers in the segment you are operating in.

As an example: If your Destination gets more Weekend Traffic, then leveraging the data and analysing what you competition is charging you can work on Pricing during weekends and tweak these for the Weekdays.

Another example of this could be: Given the current circumstances your Hotel may focus more on Staycations / Workcation’s for your chosen demographic and offer Staycation / workation packages, which may either be priced lower or offer better value for money. This can help you have customers during the weekdays which maybe were your low occupancy days.

Ultimately Big data would help you with not only managing your Yield better but also reduce your expenses. It is just a matter of studying the data and understanding it. New Hotels can use historic trends of Hotels in their segment to arrive at a better yield analysis.

Big Data to enhance Customer Experiences

Big Data can help hotel Managers / owners and customer service teams to identify significant trends in terms of customer opinions, learning about their strengths and weaknesses in the process.

Fortunately for the hotel industry, the guests are more than happy to let their opinions be heard, It totally depends on how the Hotel gathers and uses this feedback from customers.

A Hotel could ask for feedback in Person from the guests, in form of a Feeback form (although these today more often than not are not filled by the guests) A great way to ask for feedback is on social media, or from reviews posted on third party websites.

Gathering this data from various sources can be challenging and analysing it require some skills and time. Once done, however, it can allow hotels to understand what customers like and where improvement is needed.

This in turn can help the hotel overcome its weaknesses.

Hotels due their very nature have multiple interactions with their clients at Multiple levels, These should usually start much before Check-in and actually never end, but in over 90% cases they don’t start before check-in and don’t happen post check out.

Leveraging the Data that Hotel already has, a hotel can start delighting its customers way before the check-in happens by establishing a communication line with the Customers before arrival.

Big Data to Curate & Upsell Experiences

With access to Clients both current and potential customers, Hotels have a unique opportunity to gather large amounts of data. When collected and analysed carefully, the data can be extremely revealing, providing information about not only the Information and services that customers use, but also the Information and services that they request or ask about.

This can help hotel owners to make decisions about new services to introduce, as well as services that are not fitting in the demographic and no longer required. As an example, A hotel might choose to create multiple Private dining options (If they are a Resort or a Property with views) if the Guests are often asking for meals to be served there or of the guests choose to spend time at these places.

Another example maybe, a hotel might opt to refurbish their gym if customers are regularly asking about machines they do not have.

Big data when used wisely can also help the Hotel make informed decisions related to partnerships with other businesses, with possible examples including OTAs, local taxi firms etc.

Big Data to Learn from Competition

One doesn’t have to make mistakes to learn from them, one can learn from the mistakes of the Others as well and similarly one can learn from positive things of the competition as well.

Leveraging Big data your hotel would get a clearer idea about your competition and to see what other Hotels (whether operating in your Geography or Segment are offering their customers)

In todays day and age where there are a whole lot of Tools and places to go to & learn customer opinions, including review sites, social media, internet forums and travel publications, one just needs to be agile and understand all of this data to find the trends that matter.

A great example could be your competitor is being regularly praised for their Restaurant menu and Service, it is easy enough for a hotel to go and check it out and see what they are doing right and how you can improve your offerings.

Knowing this information can help a hotel to capitalise on its rivals’ shortcomings, but also to learn about where its rivals are actually outperforming them and learn from it.

Takeaway

It is High time that the Hospitality Industry understood that Big data can help them with not only identifying trends, but also reaching the right customer at the right time and place at a reduced cost, help with getting the Pricing right and fill up the Hotel, all this while reducing expenses and enhancing customer experience by learning from your customers and competition alike.

If Big Data is something that interests you but you don’t know where to begin, get on a discovery call with me and I will show you where you are leaving money on the Table and how to better leverage Data that already exists. 

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