Mining Data and Making Social Media More Sociable

A New Era for Hotel Executives

By Rahul Razdan CEO, Ocoos | January 24, 2016

Data and social media are the twin forces of change within the hospitality industry. Maximizing the power of these tools – for the good of workers and guests alike – is (or must be) a hotel executive’s principal responsibility. Data and social media are the currency of the Web, with their respective collection and conversion of so many ones and zeroes into words and actionable intelligence. They are also the indispensable ingredients of the hospitality industry. Whatever label we assign to the first of these two forces, whether we speak of Big Data or information in general, one thing is certain: Access to that material is no longer the exclusive province of the world’s top hoteliers and premier digital marketers – and that is very good news for travelers and hotel executives alike.

By democratizing data, by automating this process (for convenience) and streamlining this concept (for greater affordability), hotel executives can have the solution to that singular question about travelers of every age and interest; they can have a quick – and thorough – reply to this query by asking: Who are my guests? That is, by knowing more about the online identities of specific patrons, by having access to the tools that transform numbers into names of longstanding loyalty for this resort or that property, hotel executives can refine their marketing and communications.

They can create a more detailed description – a more intimate and individualistic profile of a guest – who best approximates the actual man or woman on the other side of the screen of some smartphone or tablet.

I write these words from experience and my own professional expertise, where, as the Founder and CEO of Ocoos, I seek to empower hotel executives with the means necessary to succeed in this dynamic economy. The practical benefits of this solution are instantly visible, thanks to what a hotel executive will no longer see: Reams of printed files, and one seemingly infinite scroll of numbers, dates and columns, which runs a from the corner of one wall to the far end of another – a paper trail, indeed!

By reducing these administrative tasks, a hotel executive can escape this self-imposed form of house arrest, and explore the grounds and the rooms, and speak with staff and guests, to get a better sense of the pulse of this living, breathing enterprise.

For, every hotel has its nuances and quirks; every property has its idiosyncrasies, both organic and inorganic, from the mannerisms of a sometimes mercurial maître d' to the ceremonial presentation of wreaths and flowers for visiting dignitaries to the sounds of the slow ascent of a passenger elevator with vintage grillwork and a metal mesh gate. A hotel executive must ensure that this vast network of men and women, and this interconnected collection of machines and mechanical devices, performs properly.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.