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 January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.