The hospitality industry specialists at SAS put together an action list that will help hotel marketers to build a strategic analytic culture and stay on top of trends that will have a major impact on the industry in the years to come.
1. Think more strategically: This is probably something we say to ourselves every year, but it’s easy to get bogged down in day to day analyses or job tasks. It is important to take time to think strategically about where you and your team are, and where you want to go. Do you understand your organizations business strategy? Do your goals line up with this business strategy? Do you have an opportunity to take on a project that will demonstrate your commitment to the organization’s business strategy (and get you some positive attention while you are at it?)? Build these activities into your plan now so that they stay on your radar when you get slammed.
2. Encourage cross-departmental decision making: We’ve been talking about integrated revenue management and marketing for a while now. With digital marketing coming into the forefront and the recognized value of review and ratings data across multiple departments, cross-departmental thinking will be even more of a focus in 2014. If you haven’t established regular communications with your counterparts in other departments (think marketing, operations, finance, revenue management), you are behind. You should already be bringing your best information to the table, and making decisions as a team. Next step – integrated data and analytics to automate some of that routine decision making. On that note…
3. Develop a common business language: Many companies have started data visualization projects to pull together data from across the organization and provide “single version of the truth” reporting for executives and managers. These projects will fail without first establishing a cross functional team to come to agreement on definitions of key metrics, data access and data acquisition rules. You would be surprised how much disagreement there can be about even the most “core” operating metrics. I think we’ll see much more focus on data management in 2014 as these initiatives get underway
4. Carefully evaluate new data sources: There are plenty of new data sources out there – more every day. It can be tempting to gravitate towards all that is new and shiny, but adding new data sources can be time-consuming and resource intensive. You need to fully understand what the data is and how it can contribute to decision making. Can the data enhance or augment existing analyses or business insights? Do you have resources available that can understand the data and be able to use it in analyses? What actions could you take with insights gained from that data source? If the answers to these questions aren’t clear, then it’s probably not worth the effort at this time.
5. Tell a story with your data: If you want to get your point across to a wide range of personas within your organization, you have to think carefully about how you use data in your presentation material (this includes both presentations and written materials, by the way). Rows upon rows of numbers, mathematical formulas or complex graphs will not grab the attention of any but the geekiest of audiences. Instead, distill all that information down into the couple of “pictures” that makes your point with the most impact.. Wrap that in a compelling set of real-world, relevant examples, end it with a solid call to action, and you’ll get the attention you need from your peers and executives.
6. Build an accurate guest profile: We’ve been talking about this for a while now, but along with your other data management efforts, focusing on building an accurate guest profile is the crucial first step to many other initiatives that will keep your company profitable in 2014 and beyond. The technology is here, and most companies have started to collect this information – but it’s time to focus on augmenting that profile with as much actionable information as possible.