NB: This is an article from SnapShot
It seems like a common point of discussion nowadays: big data’s growing importance in the hospitality industry. And the opportunities it affords hoteliers willing to try something new are huge. But where to start? And what does a tech and data enabled hotelier even look like? Easier said than done, right?
Fortunately, our friend and advisor Lennert De Jong happens to be one of these forward-thinking hoteliers. As Commercial Director for citizenM, one of the most data informed hotels currently operating, Lennert has some thoughts and advice on the subject.
Read below to get a better idea of how you can start to embrace the data, and more importantly, use it to see tangible, long term results.
How does a hotel, or any modern organization for that matter, find a balance between sometimes competing interests when it comes to tech?
Lennert De Jong: There are a lot of articles about the clash between the CMO and the CIO in terms of technology spend. Is it technology spend or marketing spend? But let’s not forget about the CEO. He needs to take a look at unified and holistic data. Data becomes the glue of the organization and I see it as the job of the current leaders to fix this. We should not have data discrepancies between our finance systems, PMS, forecasting systems, and CRM. Why would finance only report on occupancy, ADR, and distribution costs, and the marketing department on repeat figures, demographics, et cetera? The roles in organizations have changed and so have the responsibilities. But it does not happen without discussion.
Regarding customer experience and channel management strategies, what should revenue managers be focusing on?
The most important aspect for revenue managers to focus on right now is what data they aggregate, and how they aggregate it. People stuck with the same data they possessed last year are losing out on being able to make smarter decisions. In the past year there has been a mushroom impact on our business with Amazon, Google, and Microsoft entering the cloud space. This is accentuated by data aggregation moving from Excel into the cloud. All this thrust is not about simply making price changes either, but also about reporting properly to owners and key decision makers, too.
How will hotel operations adapt to these modern strategies or tools?
Believe it or not, the one thing hotels need to do is to be open to adaptation. So many times I hear from frustrated interns or staff in traditional hotels, how they’ve heard, “This is how we’ve always done it.” I’d advise every hotelier out there to take a look at their guest behavior, to look at their youngest employee, and then to challenge themselves as to whether or not they are truly open to change operationally.