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The BIG Data Trend Part 1: Raising the Bar for Guest Experiences

Jan 04, 2017

Imagine for a moment, passing guests in queue at the hotel front desk waiting to check-in while you’re heading straight to your room instead, or securing your favorite table and skipping the wait list, all without having to talk with a single staff member. No, you’re not dreaming. The day of frictionless guest service is here. Guests are demanding it. Hotels are embracing it.

The rapid evolution in mobile, social and cloud technologies combined with a monumental shift in guest expectations has launched us into what is one of the most pivotal transformations in hospitality. Throughout the guest journey, mobile and digital interactions have become an expectation of guests everywhere across virtually every generation. Alternate methods for everyday operations and guest interactions are driving this transformation, and further raising the bar for what a guest expects in terms of their stay and service-level experiences.

The real gold lies within the data that supports these interactions. While mobile technologies are driving us toward enhanced guest experiences, each and every guest technology interaction generates volumes of data; data that drives the largest hotels brands toward more automated workflows, guest services and increased revenue.

Data Quality versus Data Quantity

Only about a fourth of this data is actionable, according to a recent IDC study. Rather than focusing on acquiring and maintaining high volumes of often extraneous data, we should focus on the most relevant data. How do we know what data is essential? What data is relevant in order to understand the guests’ stories, their needs and their expectations?

There is already a rich and wide variety of data in hospitality, which is often compartmentalized in silos. These silos are typically owned by departments and reside within three key business areas:

1.      Guest Acquisition

2.      Guest Retention

3.      Guest Servicing

4.      Guest Monetization

Guest Monetization data is some of the most essential information we can collect. It’s what brings the complete story together.

The need to effectively visualize and consume the data from these disparate systems requires a single, integrated data framework. Moving the data from silos to a unified repository creates a 360-degree view of the guest stay, their history, preferences, spending, allergies and even wine choices.

There is a tremendous potential to harness on all of this data, and to leverage it to perform analytics, specifically predictive analytics, and drive personalized service. So, how are businesses moving from silos to data integration? What are these same organizations able to do once they have a complete view of the guest? How are they better at understanding the value of each patron?

Why BI isn’t Enough

Business Intelligence (BI) tools have been in use for many years to answer specific business questions. However BI alone does not provide the predictive insights that are necessary to model and anticipate guest behaviors. Moreover, it often isn’t accessible via a mobile platform. For this, hotels are leveraging big data analytics.

Big data incorporates the use of additional tools, such as statistics, data mining and machine learning, and is well suited for large datasets. It can easily scale to address the high volume and velocity of data to provide the predictive insights most valuable to hoteliers. The result of big data often manifests in the form of predictive analytics; recommendations that the guest is most likely to act upon if offered the opportunity.

Stay tuned as the BIG DATA story continues on our next blog post.

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