Articles

Big Data and the Modern Hotel Industry

25 07 2017

Running a 21st century hotel requires processing a staggering amount of data, including rates, types of rooms, booking details and the competition's activity on booking portals. The growing importance of the Internet forces hotel operators to search for tools that will help them manage the massive flow of data and analyse it with the aim of making key business decisions.

A revolution linked with the rapid development of the Internet has been going on in the global hotel industry for some time now. The World Wide Web currently holds a gigantic amount of data with terabytes of information flowing between servers. The development of Internet shopping, social media, tourist websites, etc. requires data to be arranged in ways that will allow the businesses to grow further. This is where Big data comes in. It is a new concept used to define enormous collections of data that are hard to process and analyse, but further information leading to new business opportunities may be extracted from them.

Using user data makes it possible to carry out successful advertising on the Internet. Tracking the behaviour of users visiting hotel websites provides information on what exactly they are interested in. This allows hoteliers to carry out personalised advertising campaigns, both through email as well as through displaying banners, for example using Google’s advertising network. Big Data informs hoteliers on the number of prospective guests who visit the website through smartphones and traditional computers. It is Big Data that makes it possible to form target groups used in Google Adwords and Facebook campaigns.

There are currently several thousand websites through which hotels sell their services. Some of them are large and well-known, such as Booking.com and Expedia, but there are also numerous small local OTAs and those that offer only a selection of hotel services, e.g. wedding receptions. Hotels currently rent their rooms through an average of 5-10 OTAs, whereas big hotel chains sometimes use as many as 25 OTAs at once. Effectively managing such a big number of channels, including full sales analyses and competition monitoring, is extremely time consuming and, at a certain point, becomes a huge burden for hoteliers. This is where professional multichannel selling tools come to your rescue. They centralise all sales in a single account and, thus, hotel operators are not required to log into all of the websites one by one.

YieldPlanet’s Channel Manager is one such tool. It uses SaaS technology (which means that you are not required to install it on your computer) and because it is connected more than 400 of the most popular OTAs, GDS, wholesalers, etc. it provides you with a wide range of distribution channels to choose from. Channel Manager is also integrated with most popular PMS systems and, therefore, provides a trouble-free and quick transfer of data from partner websites to the hotel’s website.

Central processing of large amounts of data, and in the case of tools meant to manage room reservations this includes mainly rates, restrictions, bookings, types of rooms, etc., becomes easier thanks to the principles of automatic sales. You only need to define the basic room type and rate plan after which the system will recalculate all of the plans for all types of rooms within a specified time period. This allows you to plan sales months in advance without worrying that your employees will forget to take care of it while they are preoccupied with their other duties. Another example is the central allotment function that allows you to manage all bookings and cancellations through an automatic system that updates room availability across all channels.

Big Data also makes it possible to follow what the competition is doing. A single OTA website hosts offers from thousands of hotels. Each of them has a number of room types and various special offers. Such large amounts of data may only be processed in a short time by using an algorithm. Sales channel management tools are able to monitor the rates of selected hotels in a given time period. Users are provided with a report that will prove helpful in planning short-term sales strategies and making key decisions regarding rates.

A revenue manager who is keeping up with the times will use management tools to not only supervise sales channels, but also manage rates. The available tools identify and recommend rate strategies that correspond with the hotel’s general strategy based on an in-depth analysis of customer habits. Revenue management systems use Big Data to analyse historical data, but also forecast rates up to a year in advance. YieldPlanet has recently teamed up with academics from across the world to work on a new rate management tool. This will be a new generation tool using algorithms that mimic the artificial intelligence of a virtual revenue manager.

Many would probably wonder why should you invest in such solutions, but the annual growth of the world’s, but also Polish, hotel market in essence forces you to use increasingly modern tools, which will do complex data analyses for you and streamline decision making processes. Are you ready for the new dimension of hotel operations?

Article series

This article belongs to the following series

Channel Distribution

  1. Rates in Online Distribution – a New Deal?

    Recent decisions made by the governments of several European countries may have a significant impact on the online hotel distribution system. The French administration body that oversees competition on the Internet received a complaint from French hotel operators' associations and the Accor group which resulted in Booking.com being forced to introduce a number of changes that allow hotels to introduce more flexible, fully independent - at least in theory - rate policies.

  2. 5 Steps to Effective Multichannel Selling on the Internet

    The Internet has taken over the hotel industry. Most booking decisions made today are based on information found on the Internet. Of course, not every reservation is made over the Internet. Tourists often use the web to search for information on hotels and then do the booking by telephone. One thing is for certain: a 21st century hotel does not exist if it does not make its presence known on the Internet. What is it then that tourists look for when searching for a suitable place to stay?

  3. Hotel Marketing – What Strategy Should You Adopt in 2016?

    Although we do not yet have access to last year's figures, the rising trend in the Polish hotel market seems to be permanent. The growing demand for hotel services is reflected by growing supply – in 2013, the number of available rooms has increased by 5% and there are currently more than 2100 hotels operating in Poland. Occupancy rates, especially in big cities, are also on the rise. At the same time, older hotels are forced to compete with newer facilities that better fit the needs of the market. Whether your goals for 2016 involve aggressively increasing sales or maintaining your position in the market, be prepared to deal with increasingly competitive conditions.

  4. Big Data and the Modern Hotel Industry

    Running a 21st century hotel requires processing a staggering amount of data, including rates, types of rooms, booking details and the competition's activity on booking portals. The growing importance of the Internet forces hotel operators to search for tools that will help them manage the massive flow of data and analyse it with the aim of making key business decisions.