Business intelligence (BI) for hotels can be complex because it incorporates multiple disciplines. In a nutshell, BI allows hotels to capture data from internal and external sources (e.g. benchmarks and market data), then analyze and organize it in ways that allow hoteliers to improve business performance. It’s not only technology but a methodology. A powerful management approach that, when done correctly, delivers knowledge, efficiency, better decisions, greater guest experiences, and profit to any hotelier who uses it. So, is BI an art or a science? Actually, it’s a bit of both.
It’s About What You Do with It…
Big Data is transforming the hospitality industry, and the rise of cloud computing has led to next-gen BI solutions that provide increased access to all that great information. BI technology and tools provide data collection, storage, and analytics capabilities. And a strong BI solution also offers robust integration with your other platforms, such as your property management or central reservations system. Further, BI offers the ability to present key information through visualization in dashboards. Transforming dry data and complex analytics into colorful, easy-to-read graphical formats. Business intelligence should enhance analysis capabilities by providing quick access to accurate information. The ultimate goal of BI is the ability to modify your strategy and change things done in your day-to-day business via actionable outcomes gleaned from the data.
But if you only focus on the numbers, it’s easy to fall into the trap of firefighting and meeting short-term requirements. The science end of BI only tells half of the story. In order to see success for your hotel in the long game, you must apply the “art” of BI as well. Use the information in conjunction with strategic goals and a modern approach to decision making that enhances your business.
…And the Why Beyond the Numbers
According to Gartner, about 70 to 80 percent of all BI projects fail. Why? It has less to do with the science and more to do with the art. Hoteliers who want to achieve the full promise of BI need to understand that along with those valuable data stores, they require a specialized human component and a business-centric focus.
It’s up to hotel management to set a vision, connecting BI to a hotel’s long-term goals and strengths, as well as using it to create a strategy that corrects weaknesses. Hoteliers also need to ask the right questions. You must not only understand “what” you wish to accomplish with BI, but also the “why” behind it. And you need to communicate those questions and answers to your entire team, clarifying the specific goals you wish your hotel to achieve through your BI initiatives. Key decision makers should also use the intelligence to create better product offerings, determine effective market positioning, and process optimization, all while taking the customer experience to a whole new level.
With experts predicting that natural-language generation and artificial intelligence will be standard features in 90 percent of modern BI platforms by 2020, BI is a rapidly evolving discipline that is both art and science. It includes innovative technology systems to compile the data, along with creative people to continuously question, analyze, and take action by applying data-driven decisioning logic. Only when the two parts work together, can you enjoy consistent long-term success that gives you an edge over your competition.