How to turn your POS and PMS data into actionable insights
By Kristina S. Park, Marketing Manager at SnapShot GmbH
There has been much said in recent times about the value of data, and without a doubt, data has become the ultimate guiding principle for many industries. When it comes to the hospitality industry, it has yet to reach its full capacity of mastering its data. With legacy software and outdated ways of thinking, the industry is plagued by high costs and low efficiency.
What is the main goal for your business? We can bet it has something to do with revenue growth and owning your customer. The predominate revenue sources of a hotel are room revenue, food, beverage and banqueting revenue, which is where your PMS and POS come into play. A property management system (PMS) has traditionally been the cornerstone of any hotel, just as a point-of-sale system (POS) is the foundation for any outlet. Without either system, the hotel cannot operate as efficiently. However, simply having your hotel's data stored in these systems is not enough to raise your revenue and increase your customer loyalty. PMS and POS systems collect enormous amounts of data on a daily basis with every guest check-in, group booking, corporate event, dining experience, room-service and other purchases. Essentially, hotels are sitting on mountains of data waiting to be analyzed and used to better manage the property's business, but without the right mindset, tools or ability to unlock the data, the data is useless.
In this article, we are going to share the steps you need to take to turn your POS and PMS data into actionable insights through cross-analysis between the two.
Start with solving Integration hurdles
The first step is of course to understand that your data is your asset and that mindset starts with your data strategy.
Unbeknownst to many hoteliers, upon selecting the right systems for your hotels, you're instantly producing data sets throughout your property. With the proper data strategy, detailed analysis can be conducted to improve your hotel's business.
However, to move anywhere further, you need to overcome the initial hurdle of integrating the data silos. The first step is to select the appropriate PMS and POS for your hotel's operations. In our previous articles, "Reduce Data Waste in Hotels and 'Go Green" and "Don't forget to include technology for this hotel budget planning season!" we stress the importance of selecting the right PMS and provide tips on how to determine which one is right for your hotel. While there are many different types of PMS available and every hotel is unique in their own hotel needs, when it comes to making cross-analysis easier between your PMS and your POS, there are a few features to look for when making your selection. For instance, cloud-solutions are becoming increasingly popular among PMS providers as it allows hotels to take their operations online without being weighed down by outdated hardware. Cloud-solutions are also more easily integrated with other hospitality technology solutions, including POS systems, however, care must be taken to not just re-create a data silo in the cloud and look for secure solutions that enable API or web-services access to your data. It's also important to consider similar precautions when selecting a POS system, as mentioned in Infrasys's article, "Solving POS End-of-Life Issues Once and for All." Infrasys, the cloud-based POS solutions provider, demonstrates the history of POS and what to look for when selecting a forward-thinking system. Similar to PMS, POS systems should also be open to integrations via APIs or web services and not be bound by underlying infrastructures limiting the types of hardware they are compatible with.
Next step: data program
As the next step is to maximize your data analysis, your company must deploy a data program via data scientists or using a data platform to correlate the data between the PMS and POS system. If using a data platform for cross-analysis, data from different systems and data sources can be collected and input into one platform, which in turn will provide easy access for smart business intelligence and visualization built on top of the harmonized data.
A hospitality data platform collects data from multiple systems, including PMS and POS, harmonizes it into usable and uniform structures, and provides managed APIs and applications to access the data. As seen in our article "What Is a Data Platform and How Does It Work in Hospitality?" we break down the details of what makes a data platform and we at SnapShot realized the need for an independent hospitality data platform and made it our mission to become the one of the largest for both enterprise and individual hospitality organizations.
Data platforms allow for segment mapping for individual items to consolidate into one. This is both true for the PMS and must be true for the POS. For instance, if a hamburger dish is named differently in different outlets across the system, a data platform must be able to catch the item despite its name differences. More importantly, cross-analysis between various performance metrics through a data platform eliminates the need for extracting individual data into Excel spreadsheets and manually combining them yourselves.
Increase your Revenue and customer loyalty through PMS/POS cross-analysis
Whether you decide to have a team of data scientists or subscribe to a data platform solution, there are a few metrics and opportunities to consider to bring data from POS and PMS together that will provide you with valuable insights in your analysis.
Combining pace and outlet performance
When trying to determine if there is a correlation between your hotel's occupancy and outlet revenues, cross-analysis is key to visualizing the patterns and breaking down the data into more detailed indicators like time frame and menu items. For example, if your hotel has high occupancy, but low performance during breakfast hours, you can determine that an adjustment needs to be made to the breakfast offerings to generate more demand. Alternatively, if occupancy is low and outlet performance is high, you know that you had more walk-ins than guests and you are able to apply an appropriate strategy accordingly.
Combining your market segments with POS revenue
In order to pinpoint which segment has the most influence on an outlet's revenue, you must understand who your main customers are and adjust the offerings for them. On top of this analysis, by connecting a customer relationship management (CRM) system, you can also provide special offers to specific guests to improve their experience based on their known preferences from previous visits.
Matching customer needs with outlet's performance
With the increase in the diversity of international tourism, it's easy to assume that more guests are visiting your hotel from countries not previously notable in your geographic source of business. Hotels have caught onto the growth in this diversity and have started offering special programs like Hilton's Huanying and IHG's Zhou Dao programs that cater to the needs of the increasing number of Chinese guests by offering special room amenities and Chinese breakfast items throughout their stay. While these programs utilize hotel outlets to improve performance, cross-analysis with POS data can increase performance rates even more by drilling into the data to determine the most popular items among certain guests and ensure availability of these items.
It's clear that data platforms are powerful tools for hotels to manage and interpret their data. It's even more evident that cross-analysis between these platforms is extremely useful for mastering performance across multiple hotels and multiple outlets. However, it doesn't just stop there. By incorporating more types of data sources like social media and guest reviews, more adjustments can be made to your strategy based on customers' wants and needs to increase their satisfaction and eventually allow you to enhance customer loyalty beyond your competitors. With data science at the helm of the future of hospitality technology, the need for data scientists and data platforms will only increase with time. Cross-analysis between POS and PMS is just the beginning of improving your data analytics and increasing performance. Here at SnapShot, we're excited to help you get started with your cross-analysis journey.
Kristina S. ParkMore from Kristina S. Park
Founded in 2012 with the vision to build hospitality's premier data platform independent of any brand or software provider, SnapShot is now one of the largest hospitality data processors in the world, managing transactional data of over 6,000 independent and branded hotels worldwide, with over 45 different connected PMS systems, and growing. With the release of the Hospitality Data Platform, SnapShot enters its third phase, which brings forward its founding vision: a secure data platform, visualization capabilities, and marketplace.
To find out more, please visit snapshot.travel.