The Data Journey in a Hotel

August 22, 2018 Kristina S. Park

hotel data platform hotel analytics

Data scientists are becoming increasingly popular and necessary as industries realize the need to manage data points and understand how to collect and breakdown their data to better advance their business. Data scientists are experts in collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data and can make educated decisions on what to do with and how to use that data. Within the hospitality industry, data scientists are crucial to understanding the hotel’s data and how to use it to benefit the overall business of the hotel. However, data scientists cannot analyze data without the help of hotel operations staff members who are doing the groundwork of collecting daily data - it doesn’t take a data scientist to be an integral part of a hotel’s data journey.

Data operations, or DataOps, is a data management practice that allows an organization to maximize the value of their data and is a growing discipline across all businesses.

As more and more businesses are becoming data-driven, according to Nexla, a data operations platform, 73% of companies are planning to hire in DataOps in the next year.

The roles of data professionals are becoming increasingly significant to all businesses and the hospitality industry is finally catching on to its true value.New Call-to-action

Every action and task in a hotel generates data, whether you know it or not. When a housekeeper finishes cleaning a room and inputs the completion into a software, that’s data. When a front desk officer checks a guest into their room, that’s data. When a guest orders room service and informs you of their food selection, that’s data. Now how exactly can hotels benefit from the valuable data being generated and collected on a daily basis?

Data goes through a journey and ultimately ends with the data scientists who translate the data into actionable insights. However, in order for the data to make it safely and securely from the beginning to the end, there are many roles to be played by the hotel staff members to ensure its delivery.

 

11:00 am - Housekeeping

 

Housekeeping hotel dataWhether the hotel guest has checked-out or is remaining another night, it’s time for housekeeping to get to work! With different rounds and shifts, it’s important for a hotel to use a system to keep track of which rooms are being cleaned for check-out, simple room cleanings, replacement of toiletries and towels, and changing or making up of the beds. While the housekeepers might not realize it, they’re actually greatly contributing to the data journey of the hotel. Once they indicate that a room has been cleaned or that there has been a decrease in inventory for toiletries, they are generating data.

Role: Data Generator - A staff member whose job functions immediately generate data.

Data Types: Guest check-out patterns, housekeeping communication, cleaning time

Risk: The guest experience is everything to a hotel’s business. Unhappy guests could bring down your entire organization. Details are crucial to a hotel and one tiny mistake could affect the entire guest experience. If housekeeping doesn’t properly record whether or not a room has been cleaned or when the cleaning took place, this could lead to guests having to wait longer to get their room or to complaints that the room hadn’t been cleaned in several days. Proper scheduling and communication are of the utmost importance to guest satisfaction. If housekeeping cannot communicate within their own team or with the front office, they risk providing guests with a subpar experience.

Solution: In order to ensure smooth housekeeping operations, hotels should install automated systems, or better yet, an internal system to set immediate tasks and reminders to be integrated with your PMS. For instance, SnapShot’s application Fabric not only allows hotel employees to chat with one another or in groups, but it also enables staff members to set tasks for themselves and for others.


12:00 pm - Concierge

 

Hotel concierge data gathererIt’s lunchtime and a guest has asked the concierge to recommend a restaurant for lunch and make a booking for them. Here is an opportunity for the concierge to gather guest specific data on their preferences and expenditures. By taking note of the type of cuisine, the price point, and the level of interest in F&B, the concierge can build more onto the guest’s profile, and in turn generate data on the guest and build loyalty.

Role: Data Gatherer - The team member who collects data from various collection points and inputs the data into systems.

Data Types: Guest information, F&B preferences, price point ranges

Risk: If your hotel doesn’t already have a built in CRM program, front desk officers will have to manually input information on the guests. This is as ancient as making notes on a piece of paper! Your hotel risks losing valuable data about a guest’s preferences for future stays and chances of loyalty decreases greatly.

Solution: There are a handful of great CRM systems available to store this type of guest data where you can even share the information between properties. Chains would definitely benefit from a CRM program that allows different properties to pull up data on a customer from stays at other hotels. For instance, if a guest stays at a chain property in New York City and the staff there keeps records of the purpose of their stay, the amenities used, their room temperature preference, what dish they ordered and how they liked it cook, etc., they’ve already started to build a guest profile. When the same guest arrives to the hotel’s sister property in Shanghai, the rooms can be pre-set to the right temperature, more of the guest’s preferred amenities can be placed in the room, the chef will know how to cook a certain dish, and so on.


3:00 pm - Check-in

 

Hotel check in data gatherer hospitalityThe time has come to check-in returning guests and new guests to the hotel. Here is where most of the data is collected on the guests as they are required to give certain details of their personal information. Whether they have been to the hotel before or not, the front desk officers can take advantage of the situation by inputting new details or updating old records.

Role: Data Gatherer - The team member who collects data from various collection points and inputs the data into systems.

Data Types: Guest details, payment methods, loyalty level

Risk: Just to reiterate the large risks of not using a proper CRM system to store guest profiles, we’re listing it again here. By not creating detailed guest profiles, hotels are not only losing valuable data, but also loyalty. As competition grows in the hospitality industry with new brands being announced on a regular basis, loyalty is crucial to a hotel’s success.

Solution: CRM, CRM, CRM!


5:00 pm - Events

 

Hotel Events Data Contributor HospitalityCheers! A wedding reception begins to take place in one of the hotel’s ballrooms and guests begin to stream in to the hotel. Given that the event is on a larger-scale, a lot of event planning has gone into the reception, including the catering, decorations, music, and service staff. Here you take count of the number of guests, the number of plates, and the time the event begins and ends. By recording these numbers, the events team is collecting data on this event, but also allowing for budgeting and forecasting for the events to come. From this event, there could be future events from the current attendees and thus, even loyalty is being built from events.

Role: Data Contributor - The support role who assists with the collection and generation of data.

Data Types: Event attendees’ information, event trends, event seasonality

Risk: Without an integrated system, events data could risk not being included in a hotel’s forecast if they are utilizing a separate event calendar or manually recording data elsewhere. Additionally, without data automation, revenue managers might not receive the data on time before the forecasting report is created.

Solution: While there are a handful of PMS that have event management as a feature, there are also event specific tools like Event Intelligence. By using either your existing PMS or an add-on tool that is integrated with your PMS, revenue managers and sales managers can use the cross-functional platforms to reduce data collection time and share data cross teams.


6:00 pm - Revenue manager

 

Hotel Revenue Manager Data Analyst HospitalityA revenue manager’s job is never fully done as guests are checking in and out of a hotel on a daily basis. There is a lot of data being produced from a revenue manager’s daily tasks in regards to pick-up, room rates, demand, pricing, etc. The revenue manager essentially collects, harmonizes, and analyzes the data being created in relation to revenue.

Role: Data Analyst - The person who knows how to read, analyze, and understand the data.

Data Types: RevPAR patterns, occupancy trends, room seasonality

Risk: The more data you’re dealing with, the more opportunities for mistakes and errors. Given that revenue managers deal with various data sources, they also need to work with siloed systems and data that hasn’t been integrated with the other programs. To make matters worse, if some of the data was recorded outside of the programs and simply in someone’s notes, the revenue manager has no way of accessing this valuable information.

Solution: Once again, technology is key. By implementing a PMS with revenue management features or using a data dashboard like SnapShot Analytics, it is much easier for revenue managers to have a better handle on all of the data being created and stored in a hotel’s database.


9:00 pm - Room service / F&B

 

 

Hotel Room Service F&B Data HospitalityIt’s after dinner and some guests have not fully satisfied their cravings. While some guests might order a second dinner, others will order dessert or drinks. Perhaps you might find some guests sipping on after dinner cocktails at the hotel lobby bar. There is tons of data to be gathered here as guests are indicating their eating and drinking habits, as well as their preferences and spending styles.

Role: Data Gatherer - The team member who collects data from various collection points and inputs the data into systems.

Data Types: F&B preferences, profitable vs. obsolete items, trendy F&B habits

Risk: There is a lot to gain from a guest ordering room service besides the additional revenue to be added to the room’s final bill. If this F&B related data isn’t properly collected, your hotel risks losing valuable information on your guests’ tastes, as well as knowing which dishes sell more than others.

Solution: By integrating a F&B POS tool with your hotel’s PMS, you can easily manage your guests’ preferences and orders, and even build loyalty through it. For instance, Shiji Group’s Infrasys offers a cloud-based POS system that provides restaurants with centralized menu management, integrated payment solutions, loyalty management, and digital menus.


11:00 pm - Night audit

Hotel Night Audit Data Hospitality

Hotels are extremely busy places and there is constantly something happening throughout the property. By the time night audit comes around, given all of the interactions and transactions, your hotel staff has collected a tremendous amount of data on its guests. This data will not only help your hotel learn from what has already occurred, but it will help with predicting what is to come. In order to successfully process the end of day review, the front office needs to deal with shift changes, count the hotel’s cash flow, balance each department, and follow up on any outstanding and pending tasks.

Role: Data Converter - Taking the analyzed data, this role converts the data into actionable strategies for the company.

Data Types: Department patterns, scheduling efficiencies vs. inefficiencies, cash flow types

Risk: When you’re dealing with money, especially your company’s money, the pressure is on. Night audit requires not only someone who is detail oriented and great with numbers, but also the technology to support the work being done. Without properly inputting transactions in a centralized location, it would be nearly impossible for a front office to conduct a perfect night audit.

Solution: We cannot stress the importance of selecting a good PMS tool that meets the needs of your unique hotel. For instance, eZee FrontDesk offers a night audit feature that automates the process and generates the audit reports for you. If you’re a smaller hotel without the resources to hire a team for night audit, why not find a PMS that can help you save money and help get the job done?


8:00 am - General manager

 

Hotel General Manager Data HospitalityIt’s 8:00 am and it’s time for your meeting with your Management Team. Here the heads of departments will report to the General Manager on happenings in each department. Reviewing the night shift’s numbers, forecasting for the coming day, and taking account of the occupancy, ADR, and RevPAR for the day, are just a few topics of the meeting to be discussed.

The general manager is the final stage of the data journey before handing off to the data scientist. Before the data scientist sees the hotel’s collected data, the general manager is responsible for interpreting the collected, analyzed, and harmonized data points in a correct way and in a manner that makes best sense for the hotel. These decisions from the final data are what the hotel’s future business is based off of.

Role: Data Owner - The last team member to receive the compiled, analyzed, and converted data and summarizes the data for overall business purposes.

Data Types: Overall hotel performance, occupancy seasonality, department needs

Risk: If a general manager doesn’t have accurate data that could have been lost along the data journey from manual work or misplaced from silos between multiple systems or data that hasn’t been harmonized, there are a lot of risks for miscalculations and inaccurate forecasts. Furthermore, there is even more chance of risk of hotels missing business opportunities if they are using outdated technologies, manually building diagrams in Excel, or worst of all, departments individually preparing reports using completely different methods and forcing the GM to try to make sense of the varied styles and inconsistent data points.

Solution: Analytics tools that include an integrated data dashboard, BI tools, data platform, forecast and budget tools, and so on, can help general managers make educated decisions specific to their hotels.

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Summary

Everyone working in the hotel contributes to the property’s data journey in one way or another. While big data and data scientists can seem like daunting terms, in the end, everyone is involved!

Think about the hotel staff as a football team and the data scientists are the offensive players who need the assists to make that final goal. In order to understand how the plays are going to be made, we need to first see where and how this data is being created through real-life examples. Here we present to you the daily schedule of a hotel’s operations and the points where data is created and stored.

By realizing the advantages to data sooner, rather than later, the hotels that do catch on first can benefit from data technology before the rest of the industry. While most the majority of expenditures in a hotel primarily focus on refurbishments, inventory, and personnel, it’s crucial for hotels to also invest in data because whether they like it or not, data is everywhere and it’s not going away any time soon. We’ve all been told that the early bird gets the worm. In this case, the early birds are the hotels who are acknowledging the importance of data analytics first and jumping on the data bandwagon before the rest of the industry catches up. Before we know it, we’re not going to remember a time when data operations wasn’t a major factor of a business’ success. Be a data pioneer and start analyzing your data now!