Gaining Control of All That Hotel Data

By Adria Levtchenko CEO & Co-Founder, PurpleCloud Technologies | October 07, 2018

One of the mantras of the modern business world is data-driven decision-making. Certainly, in hospitality, we have more access to greater amounts (data sets) of information than ever before in a wide range of operational, managerial, administrative, investment and strategic realms - and much more is on the way.

We have become accustomed to, even reliant on, this principle. In particular, revenue managers and reservations experts are quite familiar with a wide range of data sets to which computer-driven analyses are applied. These include historical pricing and occupancy data, by day of the week and season; competitor room pricing and availability; local convention, tourist and construction information; employment forecasts; weather reports and flight information; and a wide range of industry-wide dynamic pricing information. And that's just for starters!

While much of the revenue management decision-making these days is automated and driven by pre-set parameters (i.e. algorithms), the seasoned revenue manager will know how and when to adjust each information tap to arrive at the best pricing and room allocations.  Similar considerations apply to other familiar operations like plant management and security, payroll and numerous other human resources functions, or entity accounting and investment analysis.

In recent years, one of the most important trends is how data is being brought out of the back rooms or "lock boxes," as it were, and becoming part of everyday hotel operations for a wide variety of staff interacting directly with guests. These applications include the newer hotel task platforms for housekeeping, maintenance or front desk personnel, as well as the many ways in which guests are being assessed or solicited to interact with us. Data keeps moving closer to the action.

Within this emerging context, this article will consider some common sense aspects of choosing, accessing and using this data in practical, useful ways. The goal is for all hotel staff, from housekeeper or concierge to the executive suite, to be more data savvy and feel more in control of these powerful new forces in the hospitality space.

What Data Should We Collect?

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.