Big Data can be gathered daily through various sources such as search engines, social media, bookings, and mobile and internet browsing. The data collected from such sources disclose information that is of great value to hotels.
Using this data in the right way can provide major insights for hospitality professionals.
Consider the following instances:
- Google reveals that most bookings for travel take place on Monday, while Saturday is the day where the least travel bookings happen.
- In 2018, 82% of the 148 million travel bookings made online were done without any human interaction, using a mobile app or website.
- The last five years have witnessed a growth of more than 519% in last-minute hotel bookings, searches related to travel with words such as tonight, and today.
Such data in the above examples can assist the hotels to understand customers, fix an appropriate cost for rooms, targeting advertising, identify new revenue sources, and forecast trends. However, all these can be accomplished only when data is analyzed and used efficiently.
Hotels have started to incorporate data analysis into different areas of business, ranging from revenue management to booking platforms, with some impressive results.
Here are four important applications of Big Data in hotels today.
- Revenue Management
Revenue Management is heavily dependent on in-house historical booking records for predicting seasonal demands and making the best decisions in three key areas:
- Selling the room at the appropriate price
- Selling the room at the appropriate time, and
- Selling the room to the appropriate customer.
The incorporation of Big Data into hotels and booking platforms provides significant advances in revenue management. Best Western, Hilton, Radisson, and Fairmont Hotels, among others, have successfully implemented data analytics-based revenue management software programs such as Atomize and Ideas.
With Big Data, a hotel can continuously and reliably track all significant customer and seasonal booking data required for precise forecasting and price elasticity. Hotels can analyze data points in real-time, such as:
- The number of customers looking for your location
- Country of origin
- Purchasing power
This information allows for real-time flexibility. Instead of making educated guesses based on past data, revenue managers can set pricing based on data that is available now.
- Competitor Analysis
Customer feedback is available on the internet, and this data presents hotels with a plethora of opportunities for competitor analysis. Social media, review sites, forums, and travel publications are all full of information that can provide a brand with valuable insight into competitors and consumer reactions to their products or services.
Hotels, for instance, utilize chatter monitoring analytics software for identifying what customers are saying about competitors and their own brand in real-time. A hotel brand can identify its strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities in this manner. When competitors release popular new packages or products, they will be able to respond quickly with similar offerings.
- Targeted Marketing
One of the significant applications of Big Data in hotels is targeted marketing, which is based on the preferences of a customer, and their behavior online. Big data enables digital marketing to go beyond simply ensuring that the right product is advertised to the right person; hotels can gain a comprehensive understanding of the customer’s path to booking as well as other critical metrics like booking abandonment, timing, and brand loyalty.
This enables marketers to create more particular segments that can be targeted with unique promotions or product offerings at precisely the right point in their booking journey:
- Data analysis can reveal a guest’s age, customer preferences, location, budget, and whether they travel for business or pleasure.
- This data is used by analytics software programs such as Oaky to upsell personalized offerings to guests.
- Top-funnel search patterns can be tracked, revealing how a customer arrived at booking sites, what reviews they read, whether they utilized social media for research, and how they used it. This influences social media and mobile marketing.
- Data analysis can reveal when and where a guest may have abandoned a booking purchase.
- Data can help determine which push notifications to send out to offer promotions in-app or through mobile.
Simply put, Big Data enables hotel marketers to make sure that offers reach the right person, at the right time, and in the right location.
- Product enhancements and improved guest experiences
Hotels in an Airbnb world must provide variety, flexibility, and personalization. According to research, hotels that use personalization techniques have a more positive experience with their guests.
Big Data is critical in improving the guest experience through personalization. Hotels can stay informed about guest demands, improve their products and services, and build personalized customer profiles over time by gathering data on customer preferences, booking history, feedback, and monitoring brand chatter online. These profiles enable hotels to anticipate their customers’ needs.
For more than five years, InterContinental Hotels Group has used Big Data collected through bookings, their own website, and app to offer personalized packages and deals to guests. Marriott is also regarded as a pioneer in this field, employing a seamlessly integrated app and customer recognition platform that ensures all of their global employees have access to every customer request, profile, and preference at all times. This data-driven continuous interaction between the customer and the brand has resulted in increased loyalty and better service.