It has long been known that business Intelligence (BI) can be instrumental in helping hotel operators make smarter and more timely decisions. A new groundbreaking study from Starfleet Research explains at length how hotels that use advanced BI tools and capabilities to transform raw data into actionable insights are driving significant improvements in various aspects of their operational and financial performance.
According to the study, entitled Leveraging Business Intelligence to Improve Hotel Performance (currently available for complimentary access), 96 percent of hotel operators believe that their ability to generate business intelligence has been “successful” or “very successful” in enabling them to achieve their desired business results. Amongst the key research findings:
- 95 percent of hotel operators cite time reduction (e.g., time needed to get information, make decisions, etc.) as a top reason to utilize advanced business intelligence tools
- 92 percent of hotel operators agree BI tools are “effective” or “very effective” in helping them manage and optimize their market and channel mix
- 84 percent of hotel operators view the need to achieve optimal data quality as a top challenge with business intelligence
“Rather than spend inordinate amounts of time grappling with endless formatting, data importing and exporting, version control issues, and poor visualizations, hotel operators can utilize powerful, flexible and intuitive tools designed specifically for their industry and even their specific roles and areas of accountability,” note the Starfleet Research analysts who authored the report. “The tools allow them to focus their attention on getting the answers and insights they need to maximize operational and financial performance as well as improve the quality of the guest experience.”
“The best of these tools deliver real-time insights that enable hotel operators to make the best decisions quickly and accurately. Data discovery tools help answer new questions as they arise, allowing for a more proactive approach to decision making.”
Having a wealth of analytic capabilities at their fingertips can prompt hotel executives and other decision-makers 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. 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 business intelligence (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 hotel’s analytic capabilities is driven by the recognition of the existing gaps in the organization’s current BI capabilities. The following are just a few recommendations for hotel operators to keep in mind as they embark on the journey to improve their BI capabilities in 2019.
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. It’s 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.
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