"The hotelier needs data to understand what happens at his property, as well as to be more efficient in terms of personalizing the offer and offering customers’ recognition. The quantity of information sent to clients is an important subject. OTAs were the forerunners in this game.” Jean-Luc Chrétien, Executive VP Distribution Sales & Loyalty at Accor.
Data is being gathered and analyzed in every industry but some industries rely on data more than others. The hotel industry is one that is embracing the use of data to analyze its business processes, distribution strategies, and build relationships with its guests. However, the data is everywhere. It’s held within primary operational systems, secondary platforms, and online distribution environments. As a result, capturing and consolidating the data can be extremely difficult.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to capture relevant information concerning a specific aspect of your hotel or brand then this can be seen as a big win but the question then becomes how do you make the data actionable? When discussing how to use data related to each and every guest, the goal is to send the right guest, the right information or offering, at the right time. Once you are able to perfect this model of using data effectively it now becomes possible to manage customer experiences and excel at delivering optimal service.
When it comes to online hotel distribution, data analysis with a focus on “data perfection” must be the ultimate goal. During the annual global gathering at the 2017 Hotel Data Conference of hotel execs that live and breathe data, some incredibly valuable nuggets of information were delivered to a very receptive audience—making it clear almost everyone is looking for guidance in this area. During a session entitled “Distribution Channels, Surfing for Success,” panelists were adamant that even though hoteliers are trying their best to drive as much direct traffic as possible, the online travel agencies aren’t going anywhere. They have much larger ad and marketing budgets, and they do, indeed, have a loyal following of users. Hoteliers do not want to become completely dependent on OTA’s; however, they must have a distribution strategy that works and helps drive overall profitability. Data analytics plays a key role when trying to understand the channels that are performing well as does an awareness of which channels are least or most profitable. The only way you can get to this level of strategic acuity is through the use of data and applying the results in an effective manner.
Data also needs to be harnessed during disruptive times, and the hotel industry is right in the middle of a hotel distribution disruption. Airbnb, Facebook, and Google (maybe someday even Amazon) are all jumping on the hotel distribution bandwagon because there is money to be made. Hotels must keep a watchful eye on these new entrants and begin analyzing any data possible in order to put in place a strategy to either combat or work with these companies.
The HEDNA Hotel Analytics Working Group has been formed to raise awareness of the opportunities data analysis brings to optimize cost and conversion and, thereby, empower hoteliers to collect, store, analyze, and action their data to make intelligent decisions about their distribution strategies. At the group’s inaugural session, held during the HEDNA conference in Dublin, hoteliers and their system providers recognized that now is the time to start laying foundations for industry-wide standards and best practices. A survey of today’s hotel data distribution landscape is the starting point for recognizing today’s impediments to optimizing distribution and developing strategies to remove them. To learn more or to get involved, CLICK HERE.