Business Intelligence (BI) has become a necessity in the hospitality industry. Those of us who have figured out how to leverage Hotel Data as Business Intelligence have increased both revenues and guest satisfaction.

Unfortunately, I have also spoken to many hoteliers who mistake it to be nothing more than reporting. Thus, they keep comparing it with excel spreadsheets where data is manipulated after the fact and there is no tying back to the sources. They naively think that they can compete on historic data that their controller has massaged and boxed in spreadsheets for them.

BI is far more strategic. It is an organization’s ability to track data flow and in the process identify opportunities, minimize risk, and optimize the way it does business. Rather than historic only, BI also engages current data (directly from the source systems) so you can closely monitor the pulse of your business. Instead of static spreadsheets, BI surfaces data via interactive visualizations so you can slice and dice information for faster discovery and timely decision making.

A successful BI program recognizes the value of data, nurtures it throughout its life, and empowers the business to easily utilize it. As a hotel manager, you have to be cognizant of how you handle data quality. After all, data is the fuel that powers BI.

Data Standards

Just as you have service standards to ensure an acceptable level of guest satisfaction, you need data standards to ensure a reasonable level of business insight. Think of data as a liquid that flows into a mold and solidifies into that shape. The outlines for these molds exist within your operational systems (PMS, CRS, POS etc.) but it is the business standards that solidify the mold.

For example, in your reservation system(s) you set up rate codes, market segments, and maybe some seasonal boundaries. If you have a clearly defined purpose and convention for these you can easily extract a lot of insights about your guests, booking trends, and pricing amongst other things.

Of course you may have collected data before defining your standards or may decide to refine your standards further for better data quality. Make sure you choose a BI partner who understands your business and they’ll work with you to extract the most out of your existing data. Plus, they will also be able to help you identify gaps in your data and improve data processes.

Data Processes

Possibly hundreds of people check in and out of your hotel every day. But you ensure every new arrival walks into a clean room. That’s because you have a clearly defined process. Check-in and check-out times are set so that housekeeping has time to clean and set up rooms for new arrivals.

You need to implement a similar process for data stewardship. For example, regularly review new bookings to see if you can identify any repeat business and update the guest profiles. Guest recognition is a virtuous cycle that leads to more repeat business!

You don’t need a separate team for data stewardship (although you may choose to do so). Your reservation, front office, and night audit teams can all be incentivized on data quality scores. You can determine and track data quality scores by measuring data against standards, completeness, and reduction in duplicate data. That way they will be more careful during data entry as well as double check their work when there is down time.

Click to read full article: Hotel Online