Hotels have always run on watching for patterns among guest behaviors.
NB: This is an article from RateGain
It is how hotels strategize for growth. But with the rise of personalized guest journeys, the scale of data collection and analysis has reached new heights.
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Data collection and analysis remains among the most under-utilized tools in the hotel industry. Hotels have long sought to understand the needs of their guests in order to provide the best possible service. These insights lie in untapped guest data. Using a blend of data analysis and consumer psychology can help provide that springboard into guest engagement and loyalty that hotels need.
At the base of it, guest data is private, personally identifiable information that is related to the guest, all of it is crucial in helping hotels service guests better and sustainably over a long term.
Step 1: Data collection
Accurate, well-defined data forms the most important foundation in seeking insights. Having someone to find data in every step of the guest journey is not only very labor intensive, it could also lead to inaccuracies in the data due to the repetitive and frustrating nature of the task.
A good rule of thumb is to always collect data pre-arrival (about the guests’ preferences, that helps create a guest profile for every individual) and right before checkout (About their experience at the hotel, reviews etc).
The secret weapon that holds the power to unlock all these data points and more lies in technology. It helps glean in-depth insights from existing guest data. With the intervention of tech, guest data can be collected across the guest journey all the way from pre-arrival to post check-out. Automated data analysis systems can compile reports that provide a deeper understanding of the data collected and help identify trends and patterns that allow hoteliers to make better decisions. AI has made data collection extremely easy and secure.
At every step of the guest journey, guest sentiments, their bookings, interest and footfalls can be tracked to not only add more data to the guest profile but also to provide individual data driven insights into the different parts of the hotel experience.
Step 2: Data analysis
In order to find insights from specific areas of the guest journey, data needs to be segregated for effective analysis. Hotels must have the right tools in place to gleam actionable insights from the data. Otherwise, it’s just a collection of numbers and numbers alone won’t help hotels understand their guests better.
There are softwares that helps compile and sort through these data points to present graphs, compiled pointers and actionable insights with important numbers. These softwares can also be integrated with the hotel PMS itself to ensure smooth and seamless exchange of data.
One example of a data collection and analysis software is an AI chatbot that comes with a sentiment analysis tool. As the hotel staff and guest engage on the chat, the messages are automatically analysed and the sentiment analysis tool is able to attach a positive, negative or neutral emotion to every message. This data is collected throughout the guests’ stay and then analysed to show an overall negative or positive experience which lets hotels intervene in time to tip the scales towards positive experiences.
Step 3: Finding the right insights
Now that the data has been compiled and analyzed, it’s time to derive actionable insight from it. Oftentimes, just one data point would not have the full story behind guest experiences. For example, finding out that revenue through the bar has suddenly seen a dip is only part of the full story. The next step is diagnosing the problem; Is it the location? Was there a personnel change? Is there a problem with the drinks or food?
Multiple data points need to be considered while finding insights. From the previous example, analysing reviews and guest sentiment around the keyword “bar” could help pinpoint the source of the issue.
What are the advantages to having the right data?
- Improves business:
The success of any business has necessary KPIs which can not only be validated by data but it can also provide a deeper insight beyond the surface level of indicators. Wondering where to invest to maximize guest satisfaction? Data has the answer. When considering what comes next, looking at the guest profiles and what they like will have the answer.
- Helps identify pain points:
The most significant use of data is in improving existing services. This data can also help understand how your guests use your facilities so that you can optimize your resources to better meet their needs.Check-ins could be taking too long, housekeeping might not be efficient or even something as small as reservation pages not working fast enough.
- Allows for a more personalized experience:
In-depth data helps hotels gain insights into their guests’ preferences and behaviors. Keeping track of changing guest behaviors also becomes easier with a month to month comparison allowing for faster adoption of these changes. Knowing that a guest is vegan can help craft their meals around their restrictions. Something as small as personalized welcome cards on their bed can vastly improve guest satisfaction.
- Improves upselling
Having a guest profile with their likes and dislikes helps hotels upsell the right kind of services. For example, sending a message about spa services to someone who is a food connoisseur when a specialized tasting event is also happening. The mismatch between the data and the guest leads to reduced conversions.AI powered sentiment analysis combined with a guest profile that computers maintain for every guest can help identify the right guests to enjoy the right services.
- Helps hotels craft a guest journey perfect for their needs
In today’s highly competitive hotel industry, collecting and analyzing guest data allows you to gain valuable insights into how your guests interact with your hotel and can provide the necessary data points to make informed decisions about your hotel’s operations. By understanding which segments are performing well and which are not, hotels can better adjust their services and strategies to meet the demands of their guests.
Data treated right is the key to unlocking a lot of new possibilities and insights which ultimately builds businesses. For hoteliers, this helps better understand their guests, operations, and potential risks. It also allows them to tailor their services and experiences to their guests’ individual needs, helping to provide a higher quality of service and experience. By collecting and analyzing the right data, hotels can greatly improve their performance, increase their revenues, and provide a more enjoyable experience for their guests.