While technology obsessed consumers have grown accustomed to clamoring around big splashy launches like the latest iPhone or social media app, innovation in the hotel technology space is more nuanced, often requiring a refined eye to understand them. This complexity leads to a unique challenge for hospitality tech buyers and users: how do you spot innovation in hospitality? Cutting-edge hotel tech rarely makes the headlines, and you won’t see star-studded launch events in this ecosystem. Instead, innovation in hospitality is won in the long game. In this article, we’ll study real-world examples that show how Duetto, a leading revenue management system, ideates and prioritizes product changes, then develops and rolls out new features via the Cloud to help their customers gain readiness for rapidly changing market conditions.
Hotel Business Intelligence Software Articles
The hotel sector has grown used to absorbing the blows as the pandemic has thrown punch after punch in their direction. Yet now, as the rather choppy recovery progresses, inflation could well be the blow that lands the knock-out punch to some in the sector. For those with hotels situated in areas with strong tourism demand, there has been the chance to increase ADR, sometimes with the added benefit of high occupancy, to help soften the impact of wage and cost inflation, but for those dependent upon business travel, the surge in demand is yet to materialise, meaning many remain on the ropes. Inflation - and the added spectre of stagflation - is greatly feared by both economists and the wider population alike. For those with debt, however, there at least used to be a silver lining as the loss of value in money has a corresponding effect on any debt. This is a particular favourite among some governments, who have been known to use inflation to reduce their borrowings and get out of periods of high spending intact. But you can go too far. If inflation starts to run away, the borrowing to deal with it can outpace any reduction in value, and then a spiral begins, which is hard to break. Away from the macro, is the mechanism traditionally used to control inflation in the form of increasing interest rates, leading to significantly higher debt coverage - a negative sting in the tail. The hotel sector has been through a phase of borrowing just to stay afloat. While we saw Marriott International and Hilton using their loyalty programmes to raise money to build up cash cushions, for the rest of the sector, government support and additional borrowing were the route to staying afloat. With supply chain issues, inflation, and war in Ukraine grabbing governments’ attention, supporting the hotel sector while it tries to move towards stabilised trading is not a popular issue. Many loans are now being demanded back by governments eager to balance their books. Of those who looked to the private sector for loans and investment, many are finding money taken to save a business is harder to pay back than they had hoped, hindered as they are by inflationary pressures and increased debt costs. In addition, lenders have continually adjusted their risk appetite, leading to pressure to enforce covenants. Hotels are finding that what kept them afloat may now sink them as they find ever-decreasing volumes of cash available to meet such demands, let alone service debt, which could drive an acceleration of loan-to-own scenarios as well as an increase in transactions in general. A critical additional factor is the impact this scenario has in terms of the valuation methodology applied, and the increased potential for the sort of downward pressure on asset values many investors anticipated (and in some cases hoped) would lead to forced sales before now. Although the focus on the top lines is necessary for a speedy recovery, it’s recommended asset managers and hotel owners re-run their projections: evaluate the inflation impact on their 10-year projection, and clearly estimate the risk of a high debt ratio on the discounted cash flow. It is important not to misjudge the inflation threat until it is too late. Although tempting, it is important not to play down rising prices and concentrate only the recovery efforts on the operating departments. It is essential to evaluate the potential exposure below GOP and value the risk of rising inflation and cost of debt. Although hotel value is holding up, for now, the current market conditions will soon impact hotel valuations. Combined with the geopolitical instability, the situation may worsen rapidly. The sector is not yet in desperate straits. The latest study from HotStats, for April, reported: “The higher cost for goods is not yet wrecking traveller appetite. Despite record gas prices, ballooning airfares and crippling inflation roiling the globe, hotel performance remained widely steady, if not getting better, in April, with increases in both the top and bottom line.” The M&A market is, however, ticking up. 2021 was a year of strong recovery for European hotel transactions. A total of €16.4bn  worth of hotels changed hands, representing 322 individual transactions, 498 hotels and 79,000 rooms. Institutional investors and private equity investors were the largest net buyers as they rushed to deploy capital which had been hard to move at the height of the pandemic. 2022 is expected to show increased volumes. Lenders who have been lenient so far are expected to lose their patience, and hotels are forecast to sell rather than refinance. Some owners have been down on the canvas but bounced back due to pent up tourism demand; some cling to the ropes in the hope that improved trading will ensure few fire sales; but investors are still holding out for a bargain, and many are poised, and ready to pick up those who are forced to throw in the towel.
According to McKinsey, AI-based pricing can deliver between $259.1B to $500B in global market value. But the critical question remains: can Revenue Management be completely automated? The answer is: theoretically, yes, but, in practice, things are a little more nuanced. But let's step back for a second and try to reword the original question, at least slightly: should Revenue Management be completely automated? The answer, in this case, is a big, resonating, capital letter YES. A recent study by MIT-BHI showed that companies that “undertook AI-driven pricing transformations achieved more than $100 million of revenue improvement 70% more often than companies that focused on another area”. "Self-learning algorithms are evolving fast, becoming highly sophisticated, and they already have a high impact on operational efficiencies and increased yield. As a result, there is no doubt that the future of revenue management will be fully automated," says Alexander Edström, CEO, Atomize. The pieces of evidence are all around us, and not only in travel. Some examples? Amazon uses artificial intelligence to drive dynamic pricing; Starbucks adopts predictive analytics based on its data from over 90 million weekly transactions, and multinationals such as Coca-Cola or Johnson & Johnson have been using AI pricing for years. During the 2019 edition of the Revenue Management & Pricing in Services Conference, hosted by the prestigious Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, Kevin Hof, Data Scientist at RoomPriceGenie, shared several case studies where hotels experienced an average of 22% increase in revenue by adopting RMSs, and similar results can be found on dozens of similar publications. "The hospitality industry is very fragmented when it comes to tech adoption and AI implementation in revenue management. Many hoteliers are still very protective of their own pricing and strategy; they believe that their historical knowledge and gut feelings know better than any algorithm. The truth is: that they don't trust what they don't necessarily know, understand, and cannot control (like a Human Revenue Manager). That's when tech Vs. human becomes a dilemma, and that's when we need to go back to basics and work on the "tech it easy:" step by step education followed by measurable results. Revenue Management is a hybrid human+tech cooperation, and the future is already now," says Silvia Cantarella, Commercial Strategy Expert & Founder Revenue Acrobats.
How can data unlock decision intelligence and help your hotel stand out from the pack? The pandemic made hoteliers reconsider many aspects of their operations, and perhaps you’ve also had to figure out creative ways to do more with fewer employees or with less budget. As you navigate this new world, one of the most critical inputs to your decisions should be reliable, timely data about your reservations, your guests, and your financial performance. As you’ll learn in this article, real-time data can unlock better decision-making at all levels of your organization. We talked with Robert Goad, the Senior Vice President of Revenue Management at Nationwide Hotel Management Company, which operates roughly 120 Woodspring Suites hotels across the United States. The Woodspring Suites brand, which is part of the Choice Hotels umbrella of brands, sits within the economy extended stay segment and attracts guests who stay anywhere from one night to many months, which presents unique operational challenges, especially during and after the pandemic. Robert and his team have partnered with HotelIQ to develop a strong culture of decision intelligence and real-time data, which we’ll dig into in this article. Whether you operate one hotel or a hundred, or if you have a team of 10 or one-thousand people, you can take some nuggets of wisdom from our interview with Robert to improve decision intelligence in your own business. These principles can help your team harness the power of data, make decisions more quickly, and achieve better revenue and occupancy performance while keeping costs low.
The hotel industry has undergone drastic changes globally in the last two years, having to deal with uncertainty, ADR swings, increased last minute bookings and cancellations. Revenue Managers have been forced to find strategies to deal with this new paradigm and in many cases have had to readjust their planning. Here are 3 tips that can help you redefine your revenue management strategies for the next quarter: Review and redefine Segmentation Take a look at the key dates in your Demand Calendar Make sure you have an efficient Rate Structure Review and Redefine Segmentation The basis of good segmentation work is the identification of groups of consumers who respond similarly to marketing strategies. The effectiveness of segmentation depends on how well these groups are differentiated and measurable by their behaviour. The ideal is to start by identifying macro segments such as transient and groups, then dividing those segments into smaller groups that are relevant for your business and measurable. The more detailed the segmentation, the more you can get out of it, but don't break it down so much that it is more costly to extract behavioural data than the benefit of having the information. Consider yieldability for every market segment: can we work with dynamic pricing in this segment, or is it a contracted rates type of segment? (leisure, business dynamic, business FIT, etc) Channel segmentation is also key to understand where your bookings are coming from, so for every market segment, you should be able to identify what is the main channel: direct, OTA’s, Tour Operators, GDS, etc. Reviewing this double segmentation, and configuring it correctly in your RMS will lead to an optimization of your strategy and revenue management procedures towards personalization. Take a Look at the Key Dates in Your Demand Calendar Once the market and channel segments are reviewed, we must study the expected demand for each period by setting up a demand calendar. To do this, we must identify “day types” according to events or circumstances that we know in advance and affect the demand. There will be days of high demand, medium demand and low demand. Then we will define the minimum selling price for each day type: in high demand days we can start selling at a higher price than in low demand days. When setting day types, it is important to make comparisons between similar dates in terms of demand behaviour. If we identify a specific date in the past that we can compare with a present date, then we can have an idea of what to expect from our segments. This is what we call correlation dates, and if we are using a RMS, we need to tell the system how to compare dates, so that the proper correlation is included in the algorithm and you can have your RevPAR maximized. Make Sure You Have an Efficient Rate Structure Finally, you will need to create an efficient rate structure to reach your potential customers in every segment and therefore optimise your income. Use different types of rates that are aligned with your segmentation (flexible rate, qualified rates, negotiated rates, etc.) Then, offer different selling conditions to every segment by using rate fences (CTA, MLOS and other restrictions), and avoiding cannibalization of rates, that is, not to stop selling a rate which is profitable for us, because the demand can access a more advantageous offer. The difference between one rate and another has to be a benefit for the hotel and an advantage for the customer, so that all interesting segments are attracted to our product and profitable for the company. On the other hand, it is highly recommended that you work with open rates, if your tech stack allows it. This means not having pre-set price levels, but instead prices can move freely without following rules or ranges. This allows a tighter adaptation to the market, since the optimal price can be found between two price levels. When creating or reviewing your rate structure, the first step is to think over room types and meal plans. To do this you have to define the generic room types available, the different occupancies that each room type admits, the additional attributes that can be added with supplements, and the types of meal plan you want to work with. A second step would be to set your cancellation policies. The cancellation clauses that may apply and the cost associated to each of them must be defined. Moving forward, you need to think over the restrictions. It is necessary to decide which ones to use and what conditions must be met for them to be applied. With all these elements defined you can build your rate plans. In short, the rate plan refers to a room type, with a specific occupancy and differentiating attributes, a meal plan, cancellation policy and restrictions. And the price of each rate plan will depend on factors such as the moment of the reservation or the existing demand for the stay period. Lastly, don’t forget to define additional services that can increase the rate as an add-on to the reservation, or as ancillary revenues during the stay. This is key to increasing your revenues not only from the rooms division, but also from the rest of the touch points of the guest journey.
Are you searching for the key to better decision-making? Accor CTO Floor Bleeker recently told Hotel Tech Report that data is the most important consideration of any hotel’s technology or operating strategy. Hotel Tech Report recently sat down with HotelIQ COO Sameer Umar to discuss the hospitality industry’s shift from business intelligence to decision intelligence. In hospitality, the term “business intelligence” often refers to simply reading reports and spreadsheets. Decision intelligence, however, is the discipline of turning information into better and faster actions by combining Data Science with Managerial Science. Strong decision making practices can lead to higher RevPAR, lower costs, better guest review scores, and more. The beauty of decision intelligence is that it neither requires your team to get a master’s degree in Data Science nor develop skills like Python, R or SQL Decision intelligence can be infused into a hotel organization of any size through a combination of tools, habits, and incentives. In this article, we’ll share five actionable steps you can take to harness the power data and make better decisions to help you reach your goals.
Hotel Tech Report recently sat down with Accor CTO Floor Bleeker for a behind the scenes look at how the hotel giant is out innovating the competition. Accor is arguably the most disruptive large hotel chain in the world having recently unveiled a first of its kind multi-PMS strategy and also launching its own SPAC to invest in a hotel related businesses including technology. Back in March of 2019 Hotel Tech Report published a piece titled This is Why Hotel Brands Shouldn't Build Tech. In that article, we made the case that hotel brands needed to rethink archaic tech strategies to adapt in a world of microservices, open APIs, cloud computing and cyber insecurity. Back in the 90s, hotel companies built their own systems due to constraints of on-premise legacy systems but that playbook is no longer effective for modern hospitality brands. Accor has over 5,200 hotels in over 110 countries operating under more than 40 different brands. So how does a company of that size and scale maintain a rapid pace of innovation? In this interview we cover how Accor leverages a unique organizational structure to drive innovation, its technology investments and everything in between. We’ll break down Accor’s approach to innovation to help guide other hotel chains, regional brands and even independents in how they should be thinking about hotel technology.
Whether you're a general manager, sales manager, marketer or revenue manager - everyone has felt the pains of budgeting season. This stressful time of year has become even more stressful in the wake of the pandemic which has rattled the hotel business and made planning for the future an impossible task. Ever wish you could peer into the future and see what your hotel’s occupancy or RevPAR will be a year from now? We don’t have a crystal ball, but preparing a solid budget for your hotel is the next best thing. If you’ve never set a budget, or if the words “budget season” bring back bad memories of hours spent huddled over spreadsheets in a conference room, then you’ve come to the right place. Preparing your hotel budget doesn’t need to be painful; in fact, it can be a valuable exercise to assess the current state of affairs and to brainstorm about your goals for the future. In this article, we’ve distilled the hospitality industry budgeting process into 8 steps. While it might be easier said than done, these steps can help you find synergy with other departments during the process and set a budget that takes into consideration a variety of internal and external factors. Let’s get started!
Are you wondering how to make better decisions at your hotel? Have you heard about the benefits of a data-driven culture, but you’re feeling unsure of how to change the mindset at your property? Building a data-driven culture is challenging, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, especially when faced with talent shortages, teams that operate in silos, and a lack of guidance about incorporating data into hospitality businesses. But it is indeed possible to shift your organization’s culture to be one where data is accessible and actionable, and where decisions are driven not by the highest paid person’s opinion, but by hard data. In such a culture, decisions can be made more efficiently and confidently, and employees at all levels of seniority feel valued. In this article, we’ll explain the benefits of a data-driven culture and how you can transform your hotel organization to one that encourages collaboration and makes better decisions. Advantages of a Data-Driven Culture Simply storing guest information in a database doesn’t automatically make your organization “data-driven,” and it’s what you do with the data that counts. But why bother digging into that database? Organizations with data-driven cultures can realize three main benefits: Deeper understanding of performance. Did we sell out? Did we surpass last month’s RevPAR? Did we compress the booking window too much? Data can help you answer these questions and more, giving you new insights that can help you monitor progress and achieve your goals. More efficient decision-making. Imagine you’re in a meeting with department heads, brainstorming ways to hit budget for next month. You might throw around dozens of ideas, but without really knowing the root cause of the lag in performance, you go through pros and cons of various initiatives, and quite often the decision is made on instinct rather than on data. Instead of taking this circuitous route to a decision, data can help you pinpoint where exactly you need to improve, which expedites the decision making process. Increased coordination between employees and teams. With quick data sharing, an organization can speed up feedback cycles. Waiting for quarterly business reviews to work across teams and properties means that by the time your counterparts understand the data - it's already out of date. Coordination between teams is facilitated by real-time digital sharing. It’s important to remember that although “data-driven culture” might sound like a buzzword, it’s not a passing trend. Adopting a culture rooted in data shouldn’t be treated like a temporary experiment or an excuse for gathering data that you don’t intend to use. Be mindful that the overarching goal of collecting data is to leverage it to make better decisions, foster collaboration, and keep tabs on performance. Start by Removing Friction in Data Collection Let’s take a step back; before you can encourage your employees to embrace data and use it to make decisions, you need to ensure your data is readily available. If your staff need to jump through hoops to find the metrics they want to use, then you’re going to see minimal adoption of a data-driven mindset. HotelIQ's Decision Cloud facilitates cross-functional hotel data sharing With the goal of using data to make better decisions, we recommend assessing the availability of your data. Start by determining key areas where data is collected and analyzed. At many hotels, this will be the property management system. Does your PMS have ready-made dashboards or tools to see insights in real-time? If so, great! Otherwise, you’ll want to invest in business intelligence software like HotelIQ that will help you synthesize the data gathered in your PMS in as close to real-time as possible. “I previously didn't consider myself data savvy. Many programs require pulling and cross referencing of multiple reports to solve a problem and provide the analysis you're looking for. This was time consuming and left me feeling ill-equipped. I would sharpen your excel skills heavily or find a program that has more versatility. HotelIQ has reports conducive to our needs already set up, but furthermore those reports can be repurposed past their intention to find answers and areas of opportunity,” says Cara Gilbert, Revenue Analytics Manager at the Intercontinental New York Times Square. Any lag between events happening and data showing up in your dashboard could cause missed opportunities for data-driven decisions that would improve performance. For example, if you’re approaching a busy weekend, you’ll want to keep a close eye on occupancy and ADR leading up to that weekend; if the data hits your system after the weekend has passed, you’ve missed the boat. Although hotels may be slower than other organizations to welcome data, your employees are likely already handling data in other areas of their lives, which is a promising sign, as HotelIQ’s Sameer Umar sums up: “For years hoteliers have relied on their knowledge of the market and gut feeling. While those still matter, human instincts work best when coupled with timely and reliable intelligence. You need to keep your finger on the pulse so as to avoid any (more) unpleasant surprises. Downloading data into spreadsheets and emailing each other is a good way for people to fill their days but it fails at ensuring timely realization of opportunities and threats. Not to mention the many different versions of the truth that float around in inboxes thanks to human error and/or differences in timing of data extraction etc. We live in a world where streaming data and AI are already a part of our day to day lives. They should be incorporated into our digital workspace as well.” Create a Culture of Transparency and Collaboration Adopting a data-driven culture can increase transparency and collaboration at all levels of the organization. Numbers don’t lie; metrics can tell you exactly how your hotel is performing without sugarcoating anything. In addition, numbers aren’t political. As Rob Casper, JP Morgan’s Chief Data Officer explains, “If everybody sees what everybody else is doing, then the great ideas tend to rise to the top and the bad ideas tend to fall away.” In hotels, which are hierarchical by nature, reliance on data rather than seniority in decision making can help all employees feel more equal. So how do you achieve a transparent, collaborative environment at your hotel? First, tear down silos by sharing metrics publicly and digitally so everybody can access the same reporting. For example, revenue managers should have visibility into ad spend, and marketing staff should have visibility into booking pace. Next, make sure that you’re measuring the right metrics. Successful organizations avoid “vanity metrics” that don’t holistically track performance, and they don’t hide data that reflects poorly on their performance. Encouraging everyone to share (and trust) the right metrics will help you catch red flags early and prevent further poor performance. Develop Data Literacy at all Levels of Your Commercial Organization If you’re determined to turn your hotel business into a data-driven one, do you have to replace your front desk agents with data scientists from tech companies? As Sameer illustrates: “You don’t have to find data scientists with PhDs in Statistics and Economics. But you do need marketers that can explain the correlation between online searches, shopping cart abandonment, and booking patterns across channels and markets. You need sales people who work out of the CRM and know which customer(s) to contact when. You need revenue managers who stay on top of market trends and won’t drop your rates the minute booking pace dips. You need an operations team that’s constantly incorporating guest feedback to enhance the stay experience. In short, you need data-driven hoteliers.” Your hotel’s staff should remain hoteliers first; no amount of number-crunching can substitute for a friendly face at the front desk or a beautifully executed event in your ballroom. But your team should be passionate about leveraging data to achieve their goals, whether those goals are related to RevPAR, review scores, or repeat bookings. Making metrics checks a routine part of department meetings and performance reviews will help your team get more comfortable with data and showcase how monitoring performance can help them hit their targets. Make Your Organization's Data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) By now, you’re probably excited about all the upsides to a data-driven culture in your hotel organization. As you think about how to adopt good data practices, we recommend keeping the FAIR guiding principles in mind. These principles ensure your data is: Findable: The data has clear and consistent identifiers and metadata. For example, all of your check-in dates should be labeled with a field like “Reservation Check-In Date” rather than “CID” or something that’s not instinctual. Accessible: The data can be accessed by any user, at any time, with the relevant authentication and authorization. If you pull data from third-party sources, for example, like STR or Kalibri Labs, the data should be available without needing to enter additional passwords. Interoperable: The data is integrated with other relevant data. For instance, your database of guest email addresses should be connected to your reservation database and your restaurant’s point-of-sale system so you can connect email addresses with reservation dates, room types, restaurant checks, and more. Reusable: The data should be able to be replicated or combined in different areas. If you want to pull one report that shows guest email addresses and room types, and another report that shows guest email addresses and restaurant check values, you shouldn’t need to pull your email address data twice. Sameer nicely puts FAIR principles into a hotel context: “The cleanliness of your data is just as important as the cleanliness of your rooms...these data fields need to be clearly defined in operational systems, you need to have consistent data standards for them, staff needs to be trained to follow these standards, and data quality needs to be tracked and incentivized. Else, it’s ‘garbage in, garbage out’ and you have nothing to go on but gut-feeling.” The benefits of integrating various data sources, while keeping FAIR principles in mind, are especially relevant for hoteliers that pull value from their own systems (like your PMS) in addition to third-party sources (like STR). Connecting the two data sources can unlock even more insights. For instance, if you can benchmark your own channel mix against STR’s Market Penetration Index, you can better assess whether you have a healthy mix of channels or if you need to focus on one segment in particular. Ready to work toward a data-driven culture at your hotel? There’s no better time to start to realize benefits like increased transparency, tighter collaboration, and better decision-making. Finally, you’ll need a digital workspace where employees can collaborate. Data-driven culture doesn’t equal meeting-heavy culture; in order to be efficient, your teams should be able to access data on demand. In this digital workspace, anyone on the team should be able to plan, share, track, and comment on reports or initiatives to achieve maximum transparency and collaborative power. This content was created collaboratively by HotelIQ and Hotel Tech Report
BI (business intelligence) is an organization’s ability to track data flow and in the process identify opportunities, minimize risk, and optimize the way it does business. Most businesses - not just hotels - have yet to reach that optimal level of BI maturity. Many have automated data collection, report generation, and, in some cases, data visualization. But that doesn’t mean that they’re mobilizing data into action. Quite often people use their BI platforms for nothing more than scheduling reports to be emailed to them in their inbox but reports alone do not constitute business intelligence. Thus, they’re still stuck in static spreadsheet mode when it comes to decision support. More advanced users leverage BI tools to increase their pace of discovery within the BI portal but then end up spending hours trying to re-share and explain their findings to others who are not operating in the same environment. Often they end up having long discussions with colleagues to figure out “Why don’t your numbers match my numbers?” (Day of week vs date, corporate profiles vs negotiated rate codes, time of data capture, filter by different dimensions - possibilities abound!). Looking at automated scheduled reports is certainly a step in the right direction and even better when hotel teams are exploring data to make informed decisions. However, the shortcomings of how BI is being leveraged today are quite visible. Enter Decision Intelligence (DI) Cassie Kozyrkov, Chief Decision Scientist at Google, describes DI as a way to augment data science with social science, decision theory, and managerial science. Thus, making it more effective at helping people actually use BI data to make better decisions. A great analogy she uses to describe the difference between data science and DI is comparing them to those who make microwave ovens and the cooks who use them. Note that by ‘data science’ she is referring to the analytics that are delivered via BI platforms. Simply put, DI is an enabler of BI’s end goal - identify opportunities, minimize risk, and optimize the way you do business. But How? Firstly, it’s important to note that BI and DI are not just technologies but rather evolving organizational capabilities. In order to succeed you need data-driven culture, people, and tools. The first two you cannot buy off-the-shelf from any technology provider. They have to be embraced as strategic organizational objectives. Once that commitment is made and you actively start working towards it, here are 4 ways to get you much further with your data than basic self-service BI reports: 1. Centralize & Correlate Hoteliers today are working with a deluge of valuable data from their transaction systems (PMS, POS etc.) as well as market intelligence from a variety of 3rd party sources (STR, Kalibri Labs, Knowland etc.). However, very few can actually correlate their channel mix (and many other business dimensions) to something like their STR Market Penetration Index (MPI). That’s because most of the time these data sit in their own silos and no one is able to see how one is impacting the other. Hence, the obvious first step towards unlocking such insights is to centralize all this information on a BI platform that will then allow users to collect, layer, and correlate different types of data to get a holistic view of the business. In the below example, as users go across the time slicer they can see how their segment, channel, and room mixes were changing and impacting their STR indexes. Source: HotelIQ STR Dashboard 2. Visualize & Interact One of the worst habits people develop using spreadsheets is conditioning themselves to look at specific cells on a wall of numbers. They look at the same set of reports and glance over the same cells regularly to monitor the health of their business. Hence, when they are presented with a BI tool, their first instinct is to automate their reports. They still want the wall of numbers laid out the same way they’ve conditioned themselves to read and think. However, a huge side-effect of such conditioning is that they miss all the threats and opportunities hiding in plain sight. For example, how likely are you to spot a white tiger hiding in a dazzle of zebras? Similarly, a miscoded rate code can bury itself in a sea of reservations. By the time you notice a dip in the overall ADR, significant damage may have already been done. However, if instead of glancing over a wall of numbers, what if your rate codes were displayed on a scatter plot? It’d highlight to you which ones are performing worse than expected and who’s performing better. Then imagine clicking on a plot and getting the information you need about it literally at your fingertips! Source: HotelIQ Agency Trends 3. Analytics-powered Collaboration We’re all familiar with digital workspaces. If we weren’t before, the pandemic has forced us to start collaborating digitally. From Sharepoint to Slack to project management portals - all facilitate collaboration between teams. However, when it comes to sharing data and insights, most of us are still dependent on extracts and spreadsheets. Hence, teams spend an unreasonable amount of time trying to come up with a single version of the truth that everyone can agree on before they can take any decisive action. That’s where you need an analytics-powered digital collaboration platform - a portal or intranet where your strategic teams login to work everyday, access a single version of the truth (through automated data integration), share, comment, plan, and track performance. There are also many other advantages to digital collaboration. 4. AI-powered Decision Support Once you have centralized all your data and your team is able to easily explore, share, and collaborate, the obvious next step is to determine what course of action to take. That’s where AI can elevate your decision making capabilities significantly by processing historical and current data trends to highlight risks and opportunities that lie ahead. However, quite often we get fixated on the accuracy of AI predictions. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that no one has a crystal ball that can accurately predict the future. Instead, we need to focus on the reliability and reasonableness of AI’s input in our decision making process. It may not be able to predict a pandemic but can certainly highlight unusual activity that requires your attention much faster than a normal human can. Let’s put it this way, if you have a junior analyst who is very thorough and meticulous in her work, would the CEO leave all the decision making to her? AI is like that analyst and should be treated the same way - pay attention to what AI tells you and then make informed decisions. Source: HotelIQ Risk to Achievement Dashboard Ultimately, technology and decision science will continue to evolve. There will be even more sophisticated ways to enable consumption of information by businesses and means to let them action it. However, unlike tactical technologies like a phone or a refrigerator, there is no leap-frogging when it comes to analytical capabilities of an organization. The longer you delay building that culture and bringing in those solutions, the harder it will be to stay competitive in the information age.