I recently returned from a trip to Minneapolis after attending this year’s HITEC show. As an HFTP member (Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals), it’s always a pleasure to connect with peers and discover what they’re doing at their properties. However, I couldn’t help but notice one underlying and unfortunate vein that ran through almost every conversation I had: “Tom, my company generates an exceptional amount of data, but that data is un-centralized and often inaccessible. I’m swimming in a sea of numbers!”
Within hospitality and lodging/resort management in particular, there is an overabundance of systems which collect and generate data (PMS, POS, CRM, ERP, etc.). However, there is also a concurrent and perplexing lack of systems which will centralize data and facilitate data-driven decisions. Perhaps that’s because no one has taken the time to pioneer such a product, or perhaps, within this arena, the necessity for data to be integrated is so crucial that it’s been too intimidating for anyone to approach. My guess is the latter, and it’s time that changes.
Let’s assume the role of General Manager to explore this further. As GM, it’s not only my responsibility to ensure that day-to-day operations are carried out, but also ensure that my property remains solvent and my brand image is carefully and meticulously maintained well into the future. In order to do that effectively, I need data – data that tells a story. Let’s say that RevPAR is below my benchmarked goal. Do I drop my ADR? Generally, we want to avoid that and find alternative, more creative ways to increase occupancy percentage. But how possible is that if I can’t see data from all areas of my property’s operation? Maybe the best approach would instead be to increase awareness of my property’s additional offerings. Example: Has the spa been fully utilized? Is there an area of my customer base that has not been properly marketed to? Are there untapped revenue streams I could be accessing?
The fact is that within hospitality, we don’t just have data, we have lots of data. That data, however, when put into the right hands and with the right system, can translate to effective and efficient decisions. That’s where dashboards come in. While dashboards aren’t a genie in lamp (although the best dashboarding software will allow you to run predictive analyses), they will provide a way to quickly and easily integrate data from all areas of your company so that even the smallest of decisions in any area can be evidence-based and tied directly to the company’s (rather than just the department’s) overall direction and goals.
You wouldn’t build a hotel without a front door, would you? No one would be able to get in. So why should you build a data system without an efficient means for accessing and understanding what happens behind those doors? Within hospitality, everything we do comes down to one factor: the guest experience. It’s time we make our data just as focused. It’s time for dashboards.
Tom Butler Cloud Account Manager