4 ways to use big data to enhance guest service and maximize hotel revenue — Photo by Oracle Hospitality

The world's most valuable resource is no longer oil.

It's data.

Smartphones and the internet have made data the currency of our times. Nearly every activity, whether it's going for a run or watching TV, creates a digital trace to be tracked and analyzed.

Data's influence on the hospitality industry is nothing new. But hoteliers still are grappling with the concept of big data, referring to the large volume of data that inundates businesses on a day-to-day basis. After all, it's not the amount of data that's important; it's what you do with it that matters.

Tapping the power of big data can yield significant dividends for hoteliers. Here are four key areas that can benefit from it:

Hotel Revenue Management

Hotels can use big data to assist with revenue management strategies; it allows operators to more accurately anticipate levels of demand for rooms. Key performance metrics include data such as past occupancy rates and current bookings. Also, big data can be used to predict demand and future trends, which are important for executing revenue management strategies successfully. Evaluating factors such as weather, school holidays, etc., can help anticipate the next "big rush," allowing hoteliers to staff accordingly, ensure exceptional guest experience, and operate at optimal efficiency.

Targeted Marketing

Big data can help hoteliers determine the optimal marketing spend across various channels to best reach different segments. It can provide a better understanding of different segments and their guests, which leads to increased engagement and greater exposure for hotel properties and their products. For example, if a hotel can determine that a specific target group books its reservations using social media channels, then marketing efforts can be focused on such platforms. Hotel data also is useful for uncovering marketing pitfalls. For example, when potential guests abandon the booking website, big data can help identify and fix the problem.

In a similar fashion, big data can identify characteristics that distinguish hotel guests - from business travelers to families going on annual vacations - and their content preferences. With knowledge about their behavior and stay expectations, marketing content can be tailored to result in greater engagement and higher conversion rates for promotions.

Guest Experience

Delivering exceptional experiences is essential to success. Guests have high expectations and demand personalized experiences. Loyalty to a brand/hotel can only be won by providing such service consistently. By creating robust guest profiles, hoteliers can achieve personalization and recognize guests as valued consumers. Analyzing guests' feedback on social media also is an invaluable means to improve hotel operations and service. It's a great avenue to address guests' concerns and potential changes to services, whether it's adding new ones, adjusting existing offerings, or discontinuing others.

Competitive Analysis

Hotel data can be used to get a clearer picture of the competition. Through social media and other platforms, hoteliers can learn about guests' opinions about their experience at competitor properties. Such insight can help hoteliers capitalize on competitors' shortcomings or shore up deficiencies at their own properties.

What's to be gained from big data? Previously unimaginable insights that can change the fortunes of your hotel business. You certainly can't extract that from oil.

Christine Allen
PR Director
Oracle Hospitality