Hotels and resorts are laying the groundwork for how they will do business in a new decade and beyond, in an effort to stay competitive, profitable, and ready to meet new challenges. Industry leaders are examining the workflows and mechanics of technology-driven processes, like data infrastructure, reservations, event planning, inventory control, competitive price setting, and revenue forecasting—and seeking out ways to tie them all together to better serve operations, revenue management, and brand strategy.
In the last post, we discussed 4 ways technology can help hotel businesses achieve long-term success in the next decade to come. In today’s article, we will go through the next 4 ways.
How technology can help hotels achieve long-term success
- 1. Embrace changing guest expectations
- 2. Keep it personal
- 3. Maximise the value of properties
- 4. Keep staff connected
- 5. Let data drive decisions
- 6. Keep data secure
- 7. Integrate machine learning into revenue forecasts and pricing
- 8. Unify systems across locations in the cloud
How technology can help hotels achieve long-term success
5. Let data drive decisions
At the beginning of 2020, the number of bytes in the digital universe was 40 times more than the number of stars in the observable universe. While the enormity of that number may seem overwhelming for any business looking to use data for their own needs, it helps to emphasise the importance of tapping into business data to create viable strategies.
With the right platform and tools to collect, unpack, and then strategize around key data that’s aligned with KPIs, hotels can reveal new ways to remain competitive as the industry landscape shifts.
By using industry-specific analytics that is inclusive of all brand and sub-brand locations, hotels can answer essential questions that can help ensure operational sustainability. Some of those questions include:
- Who is visiting our website?
- Who is selecting us as their destination?
- Who is our ideal guest and player and how do we serve them better?
- What markets are we competing in locally, nationally, and globally?
- What guest trends are we seeing within those markets?
- How are we performing in relation to our competition?
Integrated systems that inform organisations about guest needs are vital to helping to answer these questions. By building up a base of data knowledge that can be interpreted by multiple departments, it becomes easier to connect operations, revenue management, marketing, finance, and other parts of the organisation. In the 2020s, this is the level of precision that will determine resilience in a fast-moving industry.
6. Keep data secure
With the increasing emphasis on data-driven decision-making, the issue of data security must be addressed in kind.
Cybercriminals are keen to turn stolen data into money-making enterprises, raking in an average of $2.7 billion annually according to the FBI’s 2018 Crime Report, and with an average data breach cost of up to $3.9 billion as of 2019.
Although the finance industry and the public sector are still the biggest targets of cybercrime, the hospitality industry is also a contender, in large part because of its rich databases that have become a key lever for the way industry leaders do business. The increasing value of the data has made it a prime target.
To safeguard the data and to preserve good relationships with guests, hotels need to create a more secure environment and transaction process. Encryption, anti-virus software, firewalls, and constant security monitoring can help businesses stay ahead of the relentless threat of hackers and malware.
Ensuring guest data privacy includes investing in solutions that comply with the PCI Security Standards Council, which safeguards consumers against credit card fraud by maintaining global payment industry standards.
Any scrutiny of systems should include regular review of connected systems, including airlines, suppliers, and third-party technology partners, to ensure they are equally committed to data privacy and practices. As an extension of this, partnerships with new technology providers need to be pursued carefully in the quest for resilience.
7. Integrate machine learning into revenue forecasts and pricing
In volatile and unpredictable markets, the need for adaptive revenue management and dynamic pricing capabilities has never been more important to decision-makers. The more data that becomes available, the faster markets will move to adjust.
If data is the rocket fuel of revenue management and pricing, then machine learning and automation are the vehicles that can help bring organisations into the future.
Over the years, industry leaders have come to see that algorithm-based automation is not mutually exclusive with the insight of revenue management experts. In fact, machine learning and automation empower revenue management teams with greater flexibility and insight—all of which help initiate faster strategy and action in markets that are shifting multiple times a day, often by the hour.
With the right technology, revenue management leaders can use data to create a viable offering in comparison to their competition in local, national, and global markets.
They can run scenarios and experiments to get better clarity on pricing strategies before they go live, easily identifying rates that will attract guests and optimize profitability.
With machine learning algorithms, businesses can automate the process of correlating market segments with client data—creating deep insights into competitive pricing. This empowers teams, creates more informed decisions and allows organisations to move as fast as their markets move to stay resilient.
8. Unify systems across locations in the cloud
With all the other areas discussed here in mind, a clear path to hotel and gaming industry resilience centres around the need to unify a business on a single, reliable technology platform.
Clear, data-driven and timely decision making is crucial to creating and maintaining business momentum in the 2020s. Looking at data across functions, sources, and brand locations helps create a seamless data bridge across operations, IT, revenue management, finance, and beyond.
With access to insight from each area of the business, organisations can build a global view of how well the business is performing, and how ready it will be for the future.
The key to building a connected ecosystem is a cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) approach that enables data-driven insights and action to keep pace with—and exceed—guest expectations and competitive pressure.
Cloud deployment assures the flexibility of systems and helps to enable:
- Rapid mobile deployment
- Access to real-time data reporting and analytics
- Automatic deployment of upgrades across all locations
- IT expertise and maintenance with no additional hardware or staff investment
- Ease of integration with hotel PMS, RMS, gaming systems, events management, and other systems
- Advanced and vigilant data security support
- Minimal system downtimes
Many hotel organisations are transitioning out of the legacy on-prem model to stay agile, support a wider range of solutions, stay connected to changing market conditions, and ensure resilience.
Adaptable technology platforms are the foundation for hotel organisations to meet the challenges of constant change. Staying resilient into the 2020s and beyond means leaning into that change and being manoeuvrable enough to change with it.
The next steps are identifying KPIs, investing in the right technology, and forming relationships with the right technology partners to be proactive as a new era unfolds.
Are you looking for a suitable solution for your hotel business? Discuss your challenges with us!