Todays Hotel Guest Data is like Oil in the 18th CenturyBy Todd Kramer, VP Business Development Europe @ HotelAppz
Hotel Data in the 21st century is like oil in the 18th century and the hoteliers that are able to see its value and learn how to extract it will realize huge rewards that will put them way ahead of the curve. It’s no longer about having a technology strategy but rather a data strategy.
So where do you start? Where do you find the data? Why is it important to have historical data? How can you make your data useable? How can you then use your data to increase revenue and get higher margins?
Spread out hotel guest data is impossible to use
Hotels have been using PMS Systems to run their core business since the mid-1980s and by definition, these systems contain a huge amount of data, but it has always been extremely difficult to exploit the data, let alone make good use of it. So, all of that data in the PMS is like sitting on an immense oil (data) field and now the question is how do extract it out of the ground? And why is it important to have all that historical data?
Imagine being able to go back in time and see the entire history of one specific guest. How many times have they stayed in your hotel? How much did they spend each time? On what? Did they use the spa? Were they on business or leisure? Which channel did they book through? You can see why having this historical data can give you an entirely different perspective on your guests, so therefore the more historical data you can extract, the better you’ll understand your individual guests and their habits. Plus, if you know enough about each guest, their preferences, their desires, imagine what you could say to them to get them to come back to your hotel, booking direct, feeling special, and becoming a truly loyal customer?
Now that you’ve started to extract historical data from the PMS, what about all the data coming from your channel Manager, your e-reputation solution, your instant guest communication tool? All of this data is important but how can you make sure it’s all in one spot and easy to access? You need a Customer Data Platform that is able to connect to all of these systems and aggregate your guest data.
Once you’ve got your data consolidated from multiple sources, you can now use it to do very targeted marketing campaigns. You’ve now struck ‘black gold’ or an oil field full of incredibly rich guest data that comes from very diverse systems. Not only do you know the entire financial / booking history (through the PMS data) but you can now start seeing the emotional side of your customers (their comments, their desires, etc.). You’ll be able to use this data to target your clients and to improve your relations and loyalty.
Refining the data so you can make use of it
However, like oil, data needs refining before its true value can be unlocked.
Once the data has been obtained, it now needs to be cleaned and consolidated. Using today’s latest technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), the hotel data can be automatically cleaned, refined, and structured into a system to allow you to use the data in a simple and powerful way.
How many duplicate guest profiles does an average hotel have? The industry average in hotels is well over 40% and this can cause more problems than benefits if it’s not addressed correctly. So, having refined, clean data is essential before you try to go to the next step.
Putting your guest data to work
Now that you’ve discovered the oil (data), you’ve got it out of the ground, you’ve refined it, you now need to turn it into a profitable business. This is where a customer data platform (CRM) solution steps in to help you use your data to increase both your revenues, your profit margins and enhance your guest experience.
HotelAppz is a cloud-based data-driven digital marketing product which allows hoteliers to harness the power of customer data enabling intelligent marketing initiatives and managing strong client relationships.
About the Author
Currently VP Business Development Europe for HotelAppz, Todd has always been a business development entrepreneur. Previously, Vice President, Global Corporate Sale at HRS and Vice President International at Oracle, Todd has proven track record and expertise within the technology space and the travel industry