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The Value of Turning Data into Actionable Insights

August 19, 2019 | Jason Q. Freed, Dir. of Marketing Communications

While analytics have become a critical driver of success for companies across many industries, the hospitality industry has lagged in its ability to use data to make a measurable impact on business strategy or guest experience.

It is not because of a lack of data. Hotels make millions of transactions per year, have robust loyalty programs filled with customer profiles, and have increasingly more access to guest shopping data.


This blog is adapted from our whitepaper Strength in Numbers: Unlocking Data for Actionable Insights. Download your free copy today.


Hoteliers are making more data-driven decisions than ever before, but several challenges remain that prevent owners and operators from truly capitalizing on the troves of available data, including market and competitor data, transactional data, guest profile data, guest shopping data and other valuable data sets. One of the major challenges is the ability to share and collate these data sets among systems in an automated way, but there are many others. Brands, owners, operators and distribution partners are often cautious with the level of data they share among each other. In addition, it takes a very special skill set to turn large sets of data into actionable insights, or analytics.

With these challenges and more, hoteliers today often aren’t seeing a full and accurate picture of their performance, both past and future, and they often lack the ability to put those insights into action. In many cases, they’re leaving money on the table. A large portion of the industry is continually playing catch-up and therefore unable to innovate or use analytics in new ways to fend off new competition.

Data and analytics should be a major driver of change across verticals. In hospitality, it can revolutionize distribution and revenue management practices as well as translate groundbreaking insights around customer demand. Data is already helping hoteliers better predict average lead times and peak dates. It’s helping hoteliers better understand their customers and build accurate profiles, from room preferences to welcome amenities.

Understanding and analyzing these data sets can move the needle on profitability, and customer shopping data is key information that can continuously refine marketing tactics.

Hoteliers must start with a strategy to make data collection continuous and granular, and then ensure they’re following up and taking actionable measures with their analysis.

Embracing New Technology

Much of this process can be automated with the right technology, and hoteliers today should always be looking at real-time data and reports. Hoteliers should be spending less of their time pulling reports from the Property Management System (PMS), for example, which can be time consuming for revenue teams but also operations, finance and sales and marketing teams.

Hotel data needs to be easily consumed and understood, and fortunately there are dashboard tools available to visually communicate trends in the data. Visual reporting saves hoteliers, from the property level all the way up to leadership, from doing manual analysis and eliminates the time waiting for reports to be compiled and shared.

Hotel business intelligence continues to evolve, and today there is more flexibility and control for the user. While previously hoteliers had a list of 20-30 static reports that came from the PMS, today hoteliers have the ability to slice and dice data in ways that are more insightful, as well as combine data sources across different systems.

This flexibility allows hoteliers to build data and reporting strategies that mirror how they think about their business from both an operational and reporting perspective as well as ad-hoc analysis. The ability for revenue teams, as well as executives, to access the right data that's tailored to their business is unlike ever before.

Fortunately, the supplier market is reacting, and there are many suppliers embracing open integrations and standardization methods, such as Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG). More vendors are using open APIs that allow customers to extract data more easily from their systems.

This helps suppliers work more cohesively and process large amounts of data in short order. However, not all suppliers are on board, and hoteliers need to be increasingly diligent about asking the tough questions to ensure their partners are willing to make the right investments to remove any barriers.

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