11 must-have features in a Business Intelligence tool for hotel Revenue Managers

As a Revenue Manager in the hotel industry, your primary focus is to optimize room revenue, evaluating and acting on performance metrics, and spearheading the commercial direction of your property, or portfolio of properties.

But, chances are, a significant portion of you and your team's time is spent on more labor-intensive tasks such as creating reports from isolated datasets, that are distributed across various systems and manually analyzing data that is plagued by inconsistencies and compromised by quality issues.

Due to what seems like an exponential rise in data complexity, combined with a reduction in time and resource, many Revenue Managers feel trapped, unable to extract the actionable insights they need to drive business performance - and the net is tightening.

Luckily, hotel Business Intelligence (BI) is to the rescue

There's a growing consensus that Revenue Management workflows need to be simplified in order to cut through this excess of data and find the insights that matter. Well, that’s what BI does, and then some! 

A hotel business intelligence solution simplifies your data to make it easier to use

Hotel BI refers to the process of collecting, tracking, analyzing, and understanding internal and external data to make informed revenue, sales, and distribution decisions. A BI solution helps you:

  • Easily understand commercial performance

  • Drive the right strategy

  • Capture missed revenue opportunities

This means you can immediately cut time on Revenue Management tasks, streamline your commercial analysis, gain a competitive advantage, and most importantly, increase your revenue.

But, not all BI solutions are created equal. So let’s take a look at what sets apart an industry leading BI solution from the rest of the pack.

1. Data integration

Effective data integration is a critical component of a hotel BI solution as it allows for the consolidation of data from various sources such as your Property Management System (PMS) and Revenue Management System (RMS) into a single, unified view. Providing you with a single source of truth. 

The better that your BI solution synchronizes with the multiple systems and partner data sources you have running, the more holistic the picture of your business you will get. 

A hotel BI solution consolidates data from various sources such as your Property Management System and Revenue Management System into a single unified view

For example Lighthouse BI, can pull in your RMS forecast to get a more detailed outlook, alongside your OTB reservations and actualized performance.

From this position a BI solution can slice and dice your wide variety of data for actionable analysis and insights, for more informed decision making and strategic planning. In time Lighthouse BI will also be able to integrate further with other financial BI and digital marketing management tools to create further efficiencies.

2. System-agnostic approach

The hotel technology space is highly saturated with a multitude of brands and systems, and not all BI solutions may integrate seamlessly with the systems you already have in place.

An industry leading solution such as Lighthouse BI is truly brand neutral, in which all the data looks the same in the platform, regardless of origin. And most importantly, it integrates with over 70 PMS systems.

3. Predictive data analytics

BI software should have the ability to analyze your historical data and use statistical algorithms to forecast down to the individual market segment level, which can then lead users to make more informed strategic decisions when it comes to predicting demand, or creating a detailed yearly budget.

In turn, this can inform decision making across pricing strategies, promotions, and other revenue-generating activities - while enabling you to develop personalized marketing, improve operational efficiency, and provide a competitive advantage.

Make informed forecasting decisions for your hotel

This can be especially powerful when combined with real-time market intelligence that uses forward-looking search data to forecast demand. As well as a rate-shopping tool which contains an exhaustive events calendar for your local market. 

4. Artificial Intelligence

Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) is changing the face of hotel operations, from crafting promotional content to automating guest communication through chatbots. However, the challenge of converting data into practical, actionable intelligence persists. Until now. 

Lighthouse BI is using the latest advancements in GenAI to dramatically improve the quality and speed of quantitative data analysis for Revenue Managers. ‘Smart Summaries’ leverage generative AI to transform complex data sets into easy-to-read daily performance summaries for hotel commercial teams, transforming how hotels interpret complex data to make revenue decisions.

Lighthouse Business Intelligence uses AI to create Smart Summaries

This cutting-edge technology was meticulously developed and trained on extensive data collections, including tens of thousands of human-composed performance summaries that formed part of the learning models. 

The 'Smart Summaries' feature can encapsulate changes in pick-up, Average Daily Rate (ADR), segmentation, and occupancy, a task that previously required hours to complete.

5. Customization

To get the most out of a BI solution you want to be able to adjust certain elements of the platform to fit the specific needs of your business. These customizations should flow through to your dashboards so you can better understand complex data sets.

In Lighthouse BI there are a number of different reports and visualizations which can be modified to suit your preferences. 

For instance, segment drilldown and the accounts modules can both be adjusted, and then instantly exported to excel in the format created in-app.

At the hotel daily glance level there are two additional reports - 365 pickup and reservation detail that can be attached or left off. Then at the portfolio daily glance level there is an additional pickup report and an “owner report” which displays consumed revenue - either of these reports can be switched on and off.

6. Up-to-date, automated reporting

A BI solution should enable you to completely do away with manual reporting, so your team no longer has to sift through countless spreadsheets and can focus on more strategic tasks.

Automated reporting saves significant time by eliminating the need for manual data collection, analysis, and report generation. The risk of human error is also removed, so you have consistent reports that can be easily shared with stakeholders, to break down silos across your commercial teams

Lighthouse BI reduces time spent on common Revenue Management tasks (such as reporting) by over 60%, and not to mention, the reporting is updated daily.

A BI solution should enable you to completely do away with manual reporting

7. In-depth segmentation

An effective BI solution allows you to look at the same data through various lenses, which tells the entire story, so you can better understand customer behavior, create targeted marketing campaigns and make the Revenue Management decisions that drive bookings and give you a vital competitive edge.

Within Lighthouse BI, detailed segmentation analysis is usually no more than a click away - most modules support some form of segmentation analysis, whether in convenient pop-out tooltips, or in entire modules dedicated specifically to segment analysis.

You can see how segments produce in a detailed day-by-day view, or in aggregate for the entire year. For example, in the ‘Accounts’ module, you can perform detailed length-of-stay and stay pattern analysis on just certain corporate accounts. 

8. Automated performance updates

It’s more than likely, most days you’re going to put the pedal to the metal. You may not always have the time to log into your BI software and check on your business performance.

Sometimes it helps to have a quick reminder! The best BI solutions will have automated updates to help you stay up to date with the most valuable insights.

Lighthouse BI provides a ‘Daily Glance’ email, so you can quickly see a performance overview and then drill down into areas of interest, within the platform if you wish.

9. Cloud-based software

Cloud-based BI solutions offer many advantages over traditional platforms for hotel management. Firstly, you won’t have an expensive on-site database to implement and maintain! 

Cloud-based solutions are easily scalable, meaning they can accommodate growth or contraction in data volume and analytical needs with ease

Your data and analytics are also available anytime, anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection, which is especially great for hotel chains and management companies. Additionally, it enables better collaboration among teams, as data and insights can be shared and accessed easily.

Cloud-based solutions are easily scalable, meaning they can accommodate growth or contraction in data volume and analytical needs with ease. As your business expands, your BI needs will also grow.

Providers invest heavily in security measures to protect data stored in the cloud. For example, Lighthouse BI is ISO 27001 certified and developed using a Secure SDLC process with authentication requirements.

10. User-friendly interface

You may have the most powerful software and the best data available, but if it isn’t displayed in an optimal manner, which makes for quick and easy decision making it’s all a bit pointless.

That’s why a user-friendly interface is an indispensable feature of a BI solution. Revenue Managers are short on time - they need actionable insights at the speed of light to increase profitability with high-value strategies.

Lighthouse BI’s isn’t a generic dashboard that has been retrofitted for hoteliers. Its interactive dashboards have been built from the ground up by real-life Revenue Managers, with deep commercial strategy knowledge, who know exactly how you want to visualize data to optimize performance.

With Lighthouse BI You can monitor performance with the click of a button and effortlessly spot, analyze and maximize every single opportunity.

11. Customer support

Not a feature necessarily but vital to the success of a BI solution nonetheless. 

It's not just about solving problems, it's an integral part of the experience, in which there is a human touch guiding you each step of the way. So you feel totally at ease with your software.

Despite innovations in hotel technologies, a human touch is still essential which is whay your BI provider should provide excellent customer support

This ranges from onboarding to the support on hand when you’re a year or two in and still need a bit of assistance from time to time. With Lighthouse BI your onboarding is one-on-one, and usually completed in weeks. You get specialized training BI support in the form of a live chat with real people, available when you are, 24/6. 

And we have the numbers to back up our best in class support:

  • Industry-leading NPS score of 75.2

  • Average customer response time of 100 seconds

  • 98.2% of our customers rate our support as great or amazing.

Final thoughts

Lighthouse BI helps you outpace your competitors in this highly competitive hospitality industry. But don’t just take our word for it, look to your fellow hoteliers.

Lighthouse BI has been named number one Business Intelligence solution for four years running by Hotel Tech Report.

Unlock the power of your data and switch from spreadsheets to simplicity.

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