Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How Big Data Will Transform Hospitality - Part 1

The hospitality industry has regular access to customer information which would make many other industries extremely envious. Since hotels are in the business of making people feel welcome and comfortable, they have knowledge of what it takes to make each individual customer’s experience special and unique. Big Data is the collection and analysis of consumer search and buying information; macro analysis that drives next level guest personalization.

The collection of Big Data on customers is not an issue for hotels. However, analyzing and effectively leveraging that data as part of their marketing strategy is a struggle for many. This leaves high value information to hotels critically under utilized. Big Data will in time transform much more than the marketing efforts of the hospitality industry. Customer service through guest personalization, hotel operations, and revenue management are other areas in which hoteliers will benefit from Big Data analytics.

 

Guest Personalization

The information gleaned about guest preferences through Big Data is precious gold for hoteliers and can give them a clearer understanding of their guests. Hotels can then tailor fit their properties and services to meet and exceed the expectations of hotel customers. In this way, hotels are given a valuable opportunity for honest self-evaluation and the chance to improve any shortcomings. Needless effort is not wasted guessing and trying to anticipate what the hotel’s guests will need or expect.

Much of the data can be collected and instantly analyzed in real time as well. This is where a local hotel property really excels. This data may include their room preferences and upgrade requests, dining selections as well as any special services such as spa treatments the customer may have requested while on-property. The data may be gathered through any direct contact between the hotel and the customer, by means of face to face conversation, phone conversations, or the hotel website.

Customer information garnered on the hotel’s website will include valuable demographics and location data as well. The one-on-one interaction, outside the digital realm, between hotel staff and guests is the most powerful. This information can have a tremendous impact in driving up direct bookings, since OTAs never have such immediate contact with their customers. Mobile hotel apps is another tool hotels have at their disposal to gather guest preference data as well. These hotel apps offer guests many more ways to engage with hotels and can provide them instant gratification when on the hotel property, while furnishing indispensable data for hoteliers.


In part 2 of this series we will examine ways in which hoteliers can streamline hotel operations with Big Data.

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