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Investing in Hotel Distribution Analytics –Seven Considerations not to Overlook

Posted By Administrator, Friday, May 10, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Investing in Hotel Analytics

Distribution data is an invaluable resource for hoteliers, but many don’t consider the challenges that are involved in implementing and analyzing it.  The hotel industry has an enviable variety and volume of data to work with. Every customer leaves a data trail from the moment they begin their search, then complete a booking to the moment they check out. However, accessing and analyzing data generated across today’s complex distribution landscape and turning it into actionable insights is challenging for hoteliers of all sizes. To become more data-driven, hoteliers must make targeted investments in traditional and emerging analytics tools, processes and skills. This requires an appreciation of the bigger data picture and the options and approaches available. HEDNA’s Hotel Analytics Working Group has just released a white paper to address this need.  “Investing in Hotel Analytics” outlines the key factors hoteliers should consider when making investment choices to improve their analytics capabilities.

This is the backdrop to the collaboration taking place among HEDNA members that include travel technology suppliers and hotel companies. The Hotel Analytics Working Group was formed to:

  • Raise awareness of how electronic distribution data is being used (survey)
  • Identify opportunities for improvements in data usage and analytics (this paper)
  • Recommend best industry practices (to be published later this year).

The group’s first paper, documenting the findings of an extensive survey into the distribution landscape, is the foundation for this second paper which details the considerations for “Investing in Hotel Analytics”.

With analytics, hotel companies can achieve new levels of precision in their distribution channel mix to optimize occupancy, rate and profits. While the value in analytics is recognized, many hoteliers are unsure how to make the most of their data. Investment in platforms, tools and skills is required that companies may not have experience in. Every hotel company is different, so there is no one size fits all, but this paper explains the key considerations for taking a data vision to reality, with some practical advice.

After a general introduction to the various types of analytics, the paper details seven fundamental factors that underpin any adoption or strengthening of analytics across an organization:

  1. Use Cases – these are helpful examples in guiding not only the questions that analytics needs to answer, but also what data is required and from which source. (Section 5)
  2. Data Integration – outlining the five considerations when using and integrating data from multiple source systems, such as booking trend analysis and revenue reporting. (Section 6)
  3. Data Quality – getting correct and complete data to analyse is critical to getting the right answers. This section addresses a data quality framework. (Section 7)
  4. Data Storage – managing capacity and data volume for the entire information lifecycle. A data storage framework encompasses data security, data privacy, and data retention, all of which are critical to get right. (Section 8)
  5. Data Access – who has access to what data needs to be carefully monitored and controlled in the context of privacy, regulation and security. This is also about empowering the right users to query the data, while not burdening others with more than they need, and the framework for feeding other data systems for advanced analytics as needed. (Section 9)
  6. Analytics Skillsets – having the right people with the right skillsets to analyze and apply the data in the right way. This section addresses the merits of developing in-house skills as well as how to develop outsourced relationships with data specialists where resources are limited. (Section 10)
  7. Analytics Tools -- getting the right tools that match business needs to facilitate the transition from reactive to more pro-active decision-making based on real data is the crux in making the right investment choices.  This section covers a checklist of considerations for users and other stakeholders. (Section 11)

This paper offers some basic help and hands-on guidance to help hoteliers make considered investments in the development of their analytic capabilities to meet the diverse and complex demands of today’s competitive hospitality climate. The full 33 page report can be downloaded here from the HEDNA website.

More about HEDNA Hotel Analytics Working Group
The Working Group is co-chaired by travel experts from Triometric, Excella and NTTData while direct liaison with the HEDNA Board is provided by IDeaS. Hotel companies who are members include Accor, IHG, Wyndham, WorldHotels and Rosewood.  About 50 HEDNA member companies, consultants and academics are active in the Group’s discussions and work program. A number of them have contributed their industry expertise to the “Survey Findings Report” (published 2018) and this new paper “Investing in Hotel Analytics”. The next phase of the Working Group is to explore and document Best Practice recommendations.

HEDNA (Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association) was founded in 1991 and is dedicated to the advancement of hospitality distribution through strategic collaboration and knowledge sharing. The next HEDNA Distribution Conference takes place in Madrid, 21 – 22 May.

Tags:  analytics  business intelligence  distribution  Excella  NTTData  Triometric 

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How to choose the right content implementation for your hotel

Posted By HEDNA News, Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2018

In hotel distribution and reservations, content enables a higher degree of comfort for the consumer. This comfort translated into a greater likelihood of purchase.


Many distribution channels resort to spreadsheets because they don’t need a lot of information ‐ just the hotel name, location and a few specific amenities such as free WIFI, airport shuttle, etc. If that’s all the company needs the content for, then it’s not necessary to obtain every available detail about each hotel.


Yet the speed of technology upgrades means that today's distribution is usually far more complex. And not just on the business side of things.


Today's traveler wants to see a variety of images and content types when it comes to selecting a hotel. If your hotel is limited in offering those perspectives to potential guests, then your conversions will also be limited.


Here's how to choose the right content implementation for your hotel.


Your listing matters


The right image makes all the difference when it comes to booking a hotel. Guests prefer multiple perspectives in order to be comfortable with making a decision to stay. Having unflattering  or inaccurate photos on a hotel listing will put off many potential guests.


Trivago found significant benefits to having robust content on hotel listing. For profiles with high quality images, there are 63% more clicks. Profiles with accurate details receive 70% of clicks. And profiles that take time to build out their hotel description get 79% of clicks.


So, before you go about switching or finding a new content provider, be sure that you have the necessary assets to improve your profile. Gather your high quality photos, tweak your description, and ensure you have the most up-to-date details. Then you're ready to get started.


Content is king -- and questions are queen


Now that you have the hallmarks of a successful hotel listing, it's time to consider which content provider is right for you.


These are the five questions to consider as you evaluate solutions. When choosing the “right” content implementation, the objective is to enable a better level of detail and planning that supports future online development. And, of course, while also presenting the content favorably for visual merchandising.


#1: Who will be using the content?  


This is critical when curating content for a user group or specific audience.


Is it a public audience or private? Are their nuances specific to the group you are targeting such as language requirements or must you be more cautious with images and descriptive information?

It’s also possible that you would be hosting and supporting the same content for multiple groups within one company organization. How the content is shared, and reliability, freshness and accuracy as it is disseminated, is important when updates and changes occur. Brands change, colors change, seasons change etc.  


You need a solution that can swiftly handle any changes!  


#2: What will the content be used for?


This helps determine the types and amount of content needed.


Consider the platform in which the content will be used, such as mobile website, app or desktop. On a mobile site, you may wish to use lower-resolution images and less descriptive content to improve speed and enable one-click consumer actions.


If you’re using content to support activities, meetings or to enhance the presentation on a page, review sizing and clarity. The brightness and contrast of the content is critical when adding images and rich media to an existing design.  


You want to consider how the content will look in the view that consumers will see!


#3: Who will be providing the content?


This will determine your API options for getting the content and keeping it up to date.


Some distribution channels might choose to get descriptive text content from one source and the visual content from another source. In that case, you would need to determine how you will synchronize the two feeds to ensure proper sizing and data alignment for your images.  


To ensure interoperability, have a clear understanding of your third parties’ capabilities, your own solution provision, and/or any intermediary supporting your distribution.


#4: What is the delivery method (push/pull) and update model (full update vs overlay)?  


This will factor into the processes you will put in place for managing updates to the content.


Fo more detail on this technical issue, refer to the Delivery Methods and Update Model sections in our comprehensive whitepaper on descriptive content for hotels.


#5: How complex does the technology need to be to support the content requirements?


If you only need to share basic attributes, a spreadsheet delivered via FTP is the quickest and easiest solution.


However, this process doesn’t scale well. As your content needs increase, or if you are sourcing from multiple partners, a web service might be more efficient, improve accuracy, and provide a better audit trail of changes.


Making the decision


As you strategically deploy your solution requirements, clearly define any standards, including the ability to implement multi‐lingual, multi‐byte characters. This should be inclusive of tools for the hearing and visually impaired according to certain consumer laws.  


Also: Check that images are tagged with multilingual terminology, the character counts match the display, and that content meets any limitations due to platform, localization or design.


Given how crucial content can be for running a successful hotel, this decision is bound to be stressful. Once you have thoroughly considered the above questions, you should be well-prepared to choose the best solution for your particular situation.


To see the full matrix of content providers, view Appendix A on the Hotel Descriptive Content Whitepaper.

 

Tags:  distribution  hotel content 

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