Travel and hospitality is an incredibly competitive industry which requires the businesses operating within to create unforgettable guest experiences.
Until now, the ability to do this has required massive marketing budgets and inordinate amounts of time.
Now, we live in a world of big data and something called ‘hyper personalisation’. In human language, this means there’s an inordinate amount of information about consumers available to businesses, who now have the ability to use that information to send precisely targeted marketing campaigns.
But what does this mean for independent hotels and their guests?
Big data and hotel customers
It’s easy to dismiss big data as being another indication that ‘big brother’ is watching us all, ready to pounce with unsolicited offers and irritating emails, but that’s a little short-sighted.
The hospitality mantra of ‘customer-first’ runs deep within hotel operations, and big data could help your hotel tailor a much more personalised offering for its guests. And that’s a win-win for everyone.
The more data you collect about a guest, the more you know about them. Demographics, past stay habits and their behaviour on your website can all inform the packages you put together and the offers you send to them via email.
It enables you to segment your guest database, too. An example described on Forbes.com tells of a hotel chain that used analytics from big data to rearrange rooms for either leisure or business travellers.
Why not match your rooms, service and food offering to the data you hold about guests?
Big data and the benefit it offers hotel businesses
Big data can be a bit overwhelming. It comes at you from all angles and arrives in such large quantities that it’s understandable if the desire to do anything with it slips further down the priority list.
For instance, if you publish your availability via OTAs, they’ll likely provide plenty of data and statistics on the guests who book via that method. Likewise, your PMS will probably store comprehensive guest contact and preference details, along with stay histories.
Then you have the smartphone-carrying housekeepers who generate data about room cleanliness and turnaround times. And what if you’ve connected your till system to the PMS? All those bar tabs and table accounts will be generating countless transactions that provide invaluable insights into your F&B operation.
Exhausted? Fair enough. But there’s an answer to the big data conundrum.
With the right systems in place, you can take advantage of this data by gaining access to dashboards and reports that make sense of the raw information.
It’ll help you make decisions about the lifetime value of guests; which ones generate the most revenue for you? Who returns regularly but is yet to spend a penny in the bar?
Big data will benefit your hotel operation, even if you’re yet to obtain it.
Big data: is it ‘now’ or ‘future’ for independent hotels?
Big data might not quite be at full adoption stage for independent hotels, but with technology once reserved for large chains fast filtering down the industry food chain, it’s coming.
For your guests, big data will deliver a more personal experience. For your hotel, it will enable you to build profitable relationships with customers, give you a competitive edge and uncover countless latent revenue generating opportunities.