Today’s hotel guests have become accustomed to technological conveniences where they expect advanced technology in hotels, comparable or better than home or office experience and want even more. Competition is fierce in the hospitality industry, it’s only going to continue to accelerate with new entrants, industry disruptors, and mergers and acquisitions. So, how can hotel business stay afloat amidst the growing competition while meeting and exceeding the needs of their guests? From independent hotels to management enterprises, staying ahead of your competitors means owning your guests. Ensuring guest loyalty is much easier said than done, but can be accomplished through today’s technology and the growing dependence on data. We’ve narrowed down the steps on how data can help you win your customers to five key factors: brand relevance, revenue management efficiency, data strategy, data culture, and guest trust.
- Brand relevance
In any business, product relevance is necessary for a business to have success. For hotels, your branding and positioning of your hotel need to be relevant for the guest, as well as the market. By ensuring your brand is relevant and discoverable to your target guests, location, segment type, etc., your hotel will be able to capture the right kind of hotel guests you are aiming to reach. Market research and data analysis allows for hotels to understand what their guests are looking for and how to meet their demands. The analysis of guests reviews is one of the most essential practice to build your brand relevance.
- Revenue management efficiency
Time is money, and when it comes to managing your hotel, saving time is of the utmost importance. Technology can help your revenue manager save time through the many revenue management tools available today where historically hours of combing through Excel sheets are saved by a few simple clicks in the easy-to-use technology that aggregates and analyzes your data for you. For instance, there are tools that allow revenue managers to track revenue, analyze group pick ups, monitor rate variations in your competitor set, and map data in a unified format for multiple segment performances. Why bother manually setting your room rates, when technology with algorithms does it for you in just a few clicks? By setting appropriate room rates and better managing revenue, the hotel can appeal to the right type of guests that it is targeting.
- Data strategy
We’ve mentioned before that data strategies are critical to make your hotel business grow. As a hotel, you can build a strong business through a data-driven business model that will eventually transform your data into discoverable and mineable, leading to predictive analytics and machine learning. With the current data transformation of the hospitality industry, more and more hotels are turning to data analytics to improve their hotel business. With a solid data strategy, your hotel will be on the right side of the data revolution and benefit from the current and future advantages of data analytics. With the right data strategy, hotels can better understand who are their guests, their needs and purchasing patterns to cater to their segment types even more.
- Data culture
Creating a data culture is almost as important to a company as the data itself. Without a data culture, the collection, analysis, and usage of data is difficult to accomplish without the culture to foster its results. A data culture is when the entire company and its employees are driven by data and understand the importance of its role in the business. According to Gartner, it was found that 80 percent of CEOs claim that their data is an asset, but only 10 percent of them say that their company actually treats data that way. If only the industry leaders understand the importance of data, data cultures cannot be cultivated. In the service industry, people make the operations, which is the heart of the business. Without the support for a data culture from within the property’s staff, it is difficult to solidify a data culture. Hotels must encourage a strong data culture among all of its staff, from the front desk to the C-suite, so the hotel can smoothly run its data analytics to improve its business and increase guest loyalty.
- Guest trust
With an increase in data collection comes the risk of data security. It's well published about the larger data breaches affecting the industry, which is why building guest trust is more important now than ever before. Strong data culture will reflect in higher security for data tools focusing on certified solutions. By selecting reputable hotel management tools and data analytics platforms, guests will be reassured that their data is safe with your hotel and in turn, your guests will trust you. Reputation is everything in a competitive industry like hospitality, and a good reputation only comes with trust. Hotels can even then manage their reputation within their data tools, such as tools with social media overviews that tracks a hotel’s online presence and guest review websites.
Every guest makes a difference to a hotel and building guest loyalty is not only one of the most difficult tasks, but also the ultimate priority for a hotel’s business. Data analytics can help hotels target appropriate guests, help hotel employees to provide better experiences, and improve overall business performance. Through brand relevance, revenue management efficiency, data strategy, data culture, and guest trust, the strategy of winning your guest becomes more defined. While there is no simple solution on how to guarantee guest loyalty, through data management, hotels can stay one step ahead of their competition.