The Hospitality Industry has never been so competitive. With the number of vendors on the rise, the consumer is spoilt for choice. Add to it the little to no differentiation hotels offer, the switching cost for the consumer is actually very low. In such a scenario, hotels have to go over and above traditional methods to identify guest trends, recognize problem areas and develop strategies to fix them at the right time so as to increase profitability. They must also be able to react to market changes quickly and efficiently. Sounds difficult? Welcome Hospitality Analytics!
Benefits of Hospitality Analytics
In the hospitality industry, data analytics can be used in numerous ways in order to improve business operations, marketing strategies, occupancy rates and yield. For example, through analytics the concierge can know which local tours to recommend that fit a guest’s preference based on his past behaviour. It allows the restaurant department to predict which menu items are likely to be ordered, based for example on the local weather. It allows the reservation department to predict the optimal rate for a room. It enables the sales and marketing team to create and send tailored messages across different networks. Analytics can also help hoteliers cut down their energy costs without sacrificing guest comforts.
Players in the Hospitality Analytics space
The Hospital Analytics software space has both big players (like SAS, IBM, Accenture, etc.) as well as small specialized players. Some of them are:
Hotels SAS: The SAS hospitality analytics solution helps hoteliers in marketing & customer loyalty, price & revenue management, data management, operations analytics, digital marketing and more.
Neubrain: Neubrain’s Business Analytics for Hospitality solution combines the entire Profit and Loss (P&L) planning and Sales and Operations planning (S&OP) processes into one integrated framework. Through fast deployment, powerful analytical capabilities, accuracy, and automation, the solution enables the management to make informed financial and operation decisions.
Duetto: Duetto provides revenue strategy solutions to the world’s leading hotels and casinos using cloud-based technology. It has 3 products. Duetto Edge delivers powerful insights on pricing and demand through a 100% cloud-based application. Duetto Insight provides a cloud-based revenue strategy solution to better forecast demand and optimize pricing, with a simplified interface and feature set designed specifically for focused-service properties. Duetto GameChanger ensures casino hotels always select and retain their most profitable customers, accounting for dynamic demand, occupancy and segment volumes, independently assessed by each individual customer segment, room type, offer or discount.
Guestware: Guestware’s hotel guest recognition system combines the marketing aspects of CRM with the service delivery aspects of a guest response system to provide an integrated guest experience management system that enables to proactively and consistently exceed guest expectations.
Hospitality Analytics in Action
How Marriott uses Analytics to maximize its Revenue and Profits?
Marriott International, Inc. is a leading hospitality company with more than 3,900 properties, 18 brands and is present in 72 countries. Its reported revenues in fiscal year 2013 was nearly $13 billion. In 2007, Marriott extended its revenue management with the Group Pricing Optimizer (GPO). GPO used price elasticity models for each statistically derived market segment to recommend room rates for group inquiries. GPO replaced the static target rates of the past with rates based on advanced analytics techniques that resulted in revenue gains for Marriott.
GPO enables Marriott to sell the way customers want to buy. Customers experience faster response times when they call sales offices because sales managers are able to provide quick, finely tuned rates for multiple dates and hotels. GPO facilitates better communication of the sales strategy between revenue managers and sales managers. Beyond the recommended rate, GPO provides the answers to the next few questions a sales manager might have. It provides a range within which the sales manager is permitted to negotiate and additional information such as the probability of winning the business at the recommended rate, the comparative rate for an individual booking, and comments about local market conditions. For example, GPO can communicate that a citywide convention is driving rates over a specific period, or a holiday has created a need time. If the rate is too high for the customer, or if rooms are not available, it simplifies the identification of alternative dates or hotels.
How the InterContinental Hotel Group uses Analytics to drive their Marketing Strategy?
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is a global organization with nine hotel brands and more than 4,500 hotels located in nearly 100 countries. So they have a lot of data to look at to ensure that the customer experience is the best, they stay competitive and that their marketing is delivering against targets.
In an interview published in Anametrix, Manish Shah, Director of Marketing Strategy & Analytics for IHG in the Americas highlight the three buckets in which IHG deploys analytics:
Operational Analytics: To enable stakeholders to make better decisions by giving them reporting structures.
Advanced Analytics: To understand ongoing trends and figuring out the right trend to invest in by using regression and correlation analyses.
Predictive Analytics: To determine “what next”. “This allows us to make adjustments as we go forward based on insights gathered through econometrics; guests’ purchasing and stay behaviours; activity on our delivery channels, such as our brand.com websites and mobile apps; and so forth. Especially in an emerging technology channel like mobile, we can learn through analytics and best set our mobile strategy to enhance the guest experience and deliver revenue for our hotels.”
How the Denihan Hospitality Group use Analytics to dissect guest feedback?
Denihan Hospitality Group is a privately-held, full-service hotel management and development company that owns and/or operates 14 boutique hotels in major urban markets in the U.S. The Denihan portfolio includes properties operating under The James and Affinia Hotels brands, as well as Manhattan luxury independents, The Surrey and The Benjamin, and additional independent affiliates in New York City.
Denihan uses IBM’s analytics technology to sift through massive amounts of information- from customer feedback to room price, length of stay and more-to understand why customers choose their hotels and why they choose to return. Denihan also uses the insights to drive its marketing campaigns to engage customers on an individual basis. For example, at Affinia Manhattan, Denihan utilized IBM analytics to dissect guest feedback and guest profile data that uncovered varied comments on what guests wanted in their guest rooms. Guests’ feedback reflected the need for flexible spaces that can be used for a variety of different needs. As a result, Denihan remodelled each of the hotel’s rooms to create a relaxation zone, a work zone and a sleep zone. Denihan then made a point of using flexible and comfortable furniture throughout the new guestroom design, adding such pieces as convertible sofas and mobile ottomans that can be moved by the coffee table or by the bed depending on the need. In addition, feedback from women and family travellers revealed a desire for more storage in the bathroom, and in response, Denihan changed the vanity design to accommodate extra counter and shelving space and additional drawers. The hotel has several rooms with kitchenettes, and with data indicating the need to enhance the kitchen product and experience, Denihan added several items to the kitchens during recent renovations, eliciting much positive feedback from guests.
These are just some of the ways in which the hospitality industry is using data analytics to power its decisions. Increasingly, the ability to use quantitative data to take better decisions is becoming a key source of competitive advantage. In-depth customer insights generated through effective use of data analytics is leading to improved guest satisfaction, an unforgettable experience and thereby increased profits in the hospitality industry.
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Bhasker is a Data Science evangelist and practitioner with proven record of thought leadership and incubating analytics practices for various organizations. With over 16 years of experience in the area of Business Analytics, he is well recognized as an expert within the industry. Earlier, Bhasker worked as Vice President at Goldman Sachs. He is B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Varanasi and MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow.