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.

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Coming up in September 2018...

Hotel Group Meetings: The Need for Speed

2017 was a banner year in the Hotel Group Meetings marketplace and that trend is expected to continue throughout 2018. Planners are experiencing a renewed sense of confidence due to a reinvigorated economy and increased job creation, which typically provides a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are maintaining a fast and furious pace, and they are utilizing an array of technologies to speed things up. For example, planner requests and proposals are expected to be turned around quickly; the mantra seems to be “as soon as possible, or sooner!” To that end, the use of electronic Request for Proposals (eRFPs) to source hotels and venues has increased in recent years, bringing many timely benefits to the Meetings industry. As a result, in order for hotels to attract and book meetings, they have to be willing to operate with a sense of urgency, which is the new baseline for success. Once on property, the need for speed doesn't diminish. Poken is a cloud-based event management platform, which enables attendees to easily and quickly connect, network and share contact info. ClickShare is a wireless presentation system that permits others in the meeting room to share their laptop with the presenter screen at the push of a button. Skype is useful in order to engage with remote participants in real time, and dedicated apps are being routinely used to drive registration and communication before, during and after a meeting. Finally, text messaging is replacing emailing and phone calls simply because it's quicker. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.