Travelers expect to see real experiences from your guests. In fact, they depend on it. Hotel brands looking to leverage big data for actionable insights can segment the effort into four key steps. Each part of this approach is geared toward improving the ways hotels internally collect, assess, and react to data, says Tim Sullivan, president at Cendyn/ONE, a company that helps hotels turn their data into actionable plans. He focuses on ways that hotels can create strategies around newly centralized information – the goal is to acquire new, loyal guests and engage them in more meaningful, personalized ways.
1. DATA: The first pillar of the four-step approach is to connect any and all data from disparate systems into a single repository. Centralized data is searchable data and it almost always yields previously unidentified guest-behavior patterns.
2. INSIGHTS: With the new data repository in place, hotels then need to introduce tools — namely, software — that can parse, analyze, and extract the details that fuel planning around the information that the hotel or property has gathered.
3. ACTION: Understanding and creating results around big data requires hotel leaders to do more than simply put a black-box approach in place. Once analysis is underway, the right toolset is amplified by the right minds. Brands need experts — whether already in the ranks or hired into the system to train and augment existing staff — who understand what to do with data and how to take actionable steps from the models data creates.
4. IMPACT: A significant factor in ensuring success along this four-step path is to build on the practices that sustain wanted results. Business and IT leaders need to track metrics and measurements that show what is happening because of the data driven actions underway.
Constantly tracking allows for constant optimization of the tactics that the resultant models suggest. “Know what’s successful, know what’s not working,” Sullivan says. “And then you’re creating a scenario where, as you’re moving forward, you’re continuously improving upon and optimizing the results you’re getting.”
An important bottom line to this approach is that by bringing disparate data together, overlaying them with tools, and engaging with them on an expert level, hotels are undertaking a process. It’s not a finite project but an ongoing effort. As hospitality commits to that concept, future strategies are poised to grow the brand-guest relationship even further.
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