What Makes Hotel Analytics Intelligent?
By Kristina S. Park, Marketing Manager at SnapShot GmbH
With the amount of data available in the hospitality industry, more and more companies are looking closer at the tools and solutions to help make the most of their data. We discussed in our previous article the importance of building a data strategy to stay competitive and there are still many more moments along that path to cover too.
It's nearly impossible for businesses to succeed in today's current climate without some form of business analytics. Hotels, especially, collect data from all aspects of a hotel's business throughout daily operations. Business analytics "focuses on data, statistical analysis and reporting to help investigate and analyze business performance, provide insights, and drive recommendations to improve performance," according to Harvard Business School. This includes determining trends to discover why things are happening, which then allows users to make decisions to better their future outcomes.
Today, technology companies are increasingly realizing the importance of analytics. For example, PMS companies are adding additional analytics modules to their solutions and smaller hospitality companies are enhancing their current operational systems with additional apps through Marketplaces. Ideally all hotels would have tech solutions to generate such insights or a team of data scientists who can manually run analyses or develop algorithms to visualize data.
Intelligent analytics is a step beyond business analytics as it creates the ideal tool to analyze data and make predictions to determine data-driven strategies. As the industry is evolving, analytics solutions are evolving too. Besides the well-known data analytics solutions, more advanced solutions are coming and are adding intelligence to their functionalities.
As mentioned in a previous article about the importance of BI tools in hospitality, intelligent analytics allows users to make data-driven decisions based on analysis and data visualization to better understand a business's strategy and success. While most data platforms and solutions provide analysis on hotel performance based on stored data, many tools are still unable to produce intelligent analytics that allows for further improvements. Intelligent analytics includes prediction and recommendation functions, whereas standard analytics is more descriptive and based on limited data sources. For instance, if looking at PMS-related modules, analytics will only focus on PMS data, but there are still many valuable data sources to consider when making data-driven decisions, that only intelligent analytics can provide. According to Finances Online, business intelligence has a "5-year average return-on-investment (ROI) of 112%, and a payback of 1.6 years for every $4.5 million spent after implementation." Who wouldn't want to invest in an intelligence tool with numbers like that?
If you're still not convinced, here are a few examples of where intelligent analytics take existing data analysis one step further:
Ability to co-mingle dataIntelligent analytics, built on top of data platforms, provide the ability to add different data sources and harmonize them. With this next-level of analytics, hoteliers are given the unique opportunity to slice and dice their data and build multi-dimensional analytics, including examples like adding your PMS Segments to your POS data, adding social media data to see how it impacts performance. The more advanced the data platform, the easier it is to have instant access to all this previously siloed data.
Advanced visualizationOnce analytics introduces intelligent features, the visualization of the data analysis becomes even more advanced. The new technology allows users to see their data beyond the tabular view through improved diagrams for pick ups, pace graphs, and the opportunity to add multiple data sources to the same visual. These advanced features enable visualization to go way beyond the usual, simple pie charts and bar graphs, into more complex graphs like parliament charts, directional chords, sankey diagrams, network graphs, and so on. In order to access these visualization types, hotels can employ data scientists to manually transform data findings into advanced visualization or use self-service intelligent analytics to automatically generate the upgraded results. These new visualization tools are much more efficient and exact when your data is talking to you.
Another important distinguishing feature is a custom analytics designer, as every company is unique, especially when talking about a big multi-brand organization. Due to the huge range in sizes of hospitality companies, intelligent analytics is crucial to ensuring the flexibility to build the custom visuals.
Data story-tellingWhile analytics offers users an overview of their collected, harmonized, and analyzed data, data intelligence takes analytics to the next level. Intelligent analytics tells a business explicitly where they are now and what exactly caused the situation. Hotels are able to see the summarized overview of their KPI's, but also look deeper by driving into details of every property or segment. Data story-telling also uses modeling to establish trends and figure out why things are happening the way they are happening. When looking at current numbers and figures, intelligent analytics doesn't just present the facts, but it helps build models through deeper analysis and track trends for your hotel's future business.
Another example is intelligent analytics helps hotels improve their booking pace through advanced analytics that shows who is booking, when are they booking, how many are they booking, how often are they booking, and more.
Prediction capabilitiesWhen it comes to a business's strategy, the ability to predict future trends and performance rates could completely change the fate of a company. Hotels budget their financial plans and forecast performance rates based on historical data and their current financial status. While standard data analytics is more of a descriptive tool, it still provides story-telling features that could be used to make forecasts with the expertise and knowledge from revenue managers or general managers. However, this method would bias any business decision due to the human involvement factor. Intelligent analytics, on the other hand, enables hotels to take their forecast data and predict trends more accurately. If hotels are able to forecast trends, they could customize their current business strategy to take full advantage of future happenings to come.
ConclusionIntelligent analytics takes the current data tools we have and produces better results for hotels through its increased accuracy, efficiency, and usage. Hotels with advanced data solutions or teams of data scientists are already ahead of hotels who are using outdated technology, or none at all. By introducing more future-forward technology platforms to a hotel's existing data strategy, hotels have even more options and opportunities for improved results and bigger market shares in competitor sets. Hotels with advanced technology have started to take a larger share of the bookings from hotels still using outdated technology. Hotel technology providers are aware of the future demand for intelligent analytics and soon more and more intelligent analytics tools will become available.
Take your data strategy to the next level by initiating the shift towards more intelligent analytics tools.
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.