The Increasingly Important Role of Data Analytics Beyond Customer Engagement

By Barbara Krzywoszanski Senior Product Manager - Systems, dormakaba | January 27, 2019

I was speaking to a few colleagues recently about 'Big Data' and what they thought it meant to the hotel industry. Our company's technical support representative beamed when he listed all the information an RFID hotel lock could provide to operators. Soon our software development engineer jumped in with a laundry list of services, features and details that could be extracted from our electronic access system.

Analytics in the Hotel Industry - Moving Beyond the Guest

As we went around the table, I sat back and listened to each of my colleagues and noted each specialist's insight. It was clear that big data meant something different to each person. More importantly, it became obvious that big data has a role to play to all touchpoints in the hospitality industry. Today's hoteliers look to big data to optimize their guest's experience and build loyalty. However, few are leveraging operational data that results in operational efficiencies and preventative asset management. Furthermore, with the ever increasing use of mobile technology for both guest and staff usage, information capture and analysis can better support staff training, increase security measures and track movement for optimal service and resource layout 

What Is Big Data Really?

Simply defined, big data refers to large informational data sets that, when combined and analyzed, identify patterns and trends that may be used to gain visibility into the components that make up a business' processes and operation. When data is used well it forms the foundation for accurate forecasts and predictions. 

Big data is represented by three factors, frequently referred to as the 3Vs; Volume, Velocity and Variety. Volume refers to the over-abundance of data that is being delivered. Velocity is the accumulation of data at an ever accelerating delivery speed that can make it virtually impossible to analyze in a timely way. Variety is the combination of expanding data sources that often reveal 'ah ha' moments when creatively merged for analysis. 

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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.