The ultimate guide to business intelligence for hoteliers
In this guide, you’ll discover how to properly leverage business intelligence (BI) at your hotel and how this crucial tool will give your property a deciding edge over the competition.
What is hotel business intelligence?
Hotel business intelligence refers to the process of collecting, tracking, analyzing, and understanding internal and external data to make informed revenue, sales, and distribution decisions.
Three data categories are necessary for a complete picture of your property's performance and opportunities:
Internal historical performance data: This includes KPIs such as past occupancy, RevPAR, and ADR. Analyzing historical data helps you evaluate past strategies and identify areas for improvement.
Internal forward-looking data: With shorter booking windows and increased market volatility, internal forward-looking data is now essential. Shift your focus to metrics like pick-up, on-the-books (OTB) business, and sales mix composition.
External market trends: External data, such as search pressure, source market behavior, and competitor rates, contextualizes your internal metrics and provides valuable reference points.
The benefits of business intelligence
Business intelligence helps identify opportunities to optimize strategies and increase revenue. This goes beyond simply seeing when to update your BAR rates.
It also means seeing which promotions are working and getting valuable pointers on where to change your approach. And it helps you decide which rates to offer groups and corporate partners, so you can maximize your key metrics of occupancy, ADR, and revenue/RevPAR on all fronts.
Basing these decisions on solid business intelligence rather than gut feeling is essential because it allows for more targeted commercial strategies and tactics.
You’ll stop missing revenue opportunities and become better at adapting to today’s quickly developing markets.
Get this right and you’ll not only gain a competitive advantage but increase your hotel’s overall revenue at the same time.
Understanding the evolving business intelligence landscape
The pandemic hardly left a stone unturned in the hospitality industry and created unparalleled levels of uncertainty. In many cases, hoteliers had to find their bearings in a completely new environment. Characterized by lower staffing levels, changed guest mixes, upended demand patterns, and shifted traveler expectations.
Even though most markets have seen an impressive recovery, volatility still persists. To survive and thrive in this scenario, hoteliers must adopt flexible strategies that allow them to keep up with or even get ahead of this constant flux.
For this to work, two things are essential. Hoteliers need a more comprehensive approach to business intelligence. This means moving away from fragmented data sets and leveraging comprehensive and consolidated performance information instead.
Additionally, commercial teams must share these insights and use them to form solid processes and adaptable strategies.
Before we get deeper into the how and what of business intelligence in the hotel industry, we’ll take a closer look at why it’s become such a critical tool over the past two years.
Three key reasons are:
Changes in the sales mix and commercial strategies
A new need for more robust commercial services teams and strategies
The many ongoing challenges faced by sales, operations, and revenue departments when it comes to understanding hotel performance on a granular level
Changes in the sales mix and commercial strategies
The pandemic disrupted established demand patterns and sales mixes across the industry.
For some hotels, important source markets fell away entirely due to travel restrictions. Others suffered because they were geared toward the corporate travel and MICE sectors and had a hard time pivoting to leisure.
Business travel is returning, albeit slowly. The Global Business Travel Association predicts that spending in these areas will not reach 2019 levels before 2026. And even so, it won’t be the same as it was.
Companies have re-evaluated travel priorities and, as a result, they have new demands and are planning trips differently now.
MICE business also dropped considerably but is set to make a strong comeback in 2023. The Cvent Planner Sourcing Report reveals that 83% of planners across the UK and Europe expect to host more in-person events in 2023 compared to 2019.
However, new sourcing behavior and changed client expectations can create challenges for hotels.
Leisure saw the fastest comeback overall with people wanting to make up for missed experiences with trips of a lifetime.
This is a green shoot, but it also means that travelers may choose their destinations differently now and have higher expectations, especially when there’s a steep price tag.
While the return of demand in all these areas of business is good news, it’s creating new challenges for hotels as they adapt to these rapidly changing situations.
The need for robust commercial services teams
The hospitality industry has experienced a significant workforce reduction due to the pandemic, with 10-20% fewer people working in hotels across Europe.
Operations departments have been hit particularly hard, as many employees opted not to return to demanding schedules and workloads.
Revenue and sales teams also face challenges due to the loss of skilled colleagues. New hires require a ramp-up period to effectively win clients and maximize revenue in the current market conditions.
This involves learning about the property, understanding its standards and processes, familiarising themselves with key accounts, receiving training, and comprehending the market dynamics.
It's crucial to invest in training and support for new hires, as the pandemic has had lasting effects on the industry, prompting companies and leisure travelers to reevaluate their travel decisions.
Overcoming challenges for operations, sales, and revenue teams
Operations, sales, and revenue teams are implementing business intelligence as they face several challenges today.
Time constraints affect all departments. For operations, managers and team leaders often need to step in to support daily tasks, reducing their ability to communicate with commercial teams and adapt operations to shifting demand.
Additionally, many guest-facing departments lack awareness of business intelligence, necessitating further training to fully benefit from a BI-driven approach.
Revenue and sales
Staff shortages leave revenue and sales teams with limited time for manual data collection and collation. As a result, they struggle to gather accurate, relevant, and real-time data independently. This lack of information hampers their ability to make optimal pricing and distribution decisions.
To address these issues, hotels must prioritize implementing business intelligence tools that automate tasks and provide reliable data, especially in volatile markets.
These tools will empower operations, sales, and revenue teams to make informed decisions, better adapt to market changes, and ultimately, stay competitive in shifting market conditions.
The role of business intelligence in hotel management
Hotel business intelligence software covers several important bases and supports teams in their quest to reach their property’s full commercial potential.
Benefits of using a hotel business intelligence platform
One of the primary benefits of using business intelligence tools is the streamlined access to accurate hotel performance data.
BI platforms extract transactional data from your Property Management System (PMS), aggregating and presenting it in an easily digestible format. This information can be shared with the entire commercial team to ensure coordinated strategies.
This saves your team the headache of having to manually source, collect and format performance and market information.
Instead, they can focus on analyzing the data and adjusting their strategies accordingly. With a user-friendly report layout, spotting trends and identifying new opportunities becomes more efficient.
These advantages are particularly valuable when managing multiple properties. A comprehensive BI platform offers a unified overview of your portfolio, allowing you to assess overall performance and dive into specific hotel data as needed.
This holistic approach enables better decision-making and alignment across both teams and organizations.
Streamlining communication and decision-making within teams
A BI solution featuring visualized performance data enables easy comprehension of hotel and market trends across various departments. This facilitates a more streamlined decision-making process.
General summaries highlight crucial developments and trends, making it easy to share information among revenue, sales, operations, and ownership teams. Additionally, each team can delve deeper into the data relevant to their specific needs.
For operations, accurate occupancy forecasts help manage inventory, staffing, and maintenance.
Sales teams benefit from insights into the performance of negotiated accounts and the impact of contracted group business on overall performance.
Revenue teams can closely examine demand shifts across market segments to optimize rate, room type, and length of stay strategies.
Working toward the same goal
A unified BI platform eliminates data silos and fosters collaboration among operations, revenue, and sales teams. This allows them to work cohesively on promotional strategies that improve hotel performance in all areas.
With shared access to critical data, teams can evaluate their current position and identify opportunities to drive revenue more holistically.
This eliminates uncoordinated last-minute sales that strain already overburdened teams.
Improved communication at all levels
Executive committees and regional management also benefit from the BI tool's comprehensive data.
They can easily understand the performance of each property and ask informed questions. Hotels can leverage this data to justify their strategies, engage in meaningful discussions, and determine the best path forward.
Lighthouse BI: The hotel industry’s comprehensive hotel business intelligence solution
Overview of Lighthouse Business Intelligence features and capabilities
Lighthouse Business Intelligence is the only fully automated, brand-neutral hotel software that puts the right information in front of the right people to enable your entire team to make educated decisions on the fly.
Leverage the flexible integrations and unified reporting style to analyze an entire portfolio of hotels at a broad level to recognize macro trends or drill all the way down to a single reservation at a specific property.
Lighthouse BI’s scope is as broad or narrow as you want it to be.
How Lighthouse Business Intelligence supports revenue and sales teams
Lighthouse Business Intelligence allows teams to completely do away with manual report pulling.
Hotel teams can access their hotel’s historical and forward-looking data from the highest summary level information such as total revenue, occupancy and Average Daily Rate (ADR) for any given time period across a portfolio of hotels, down to the most granular reservation level for an individual property.
This level of detail gives teams the power to make informed decisions related to forecasting, group pricing, determining VIP guests and companies, corporate account pricing strategies, and so much more.
Integrating Lighthouse Business Intelligence into your existing tech stack
Lighthouse BI integrates seamlessly with any hotel’s tech stack.
It’s compatible with most PMS, Revenue Management System (RMS), and CRS combinations because the goal is to complement your existing technology, not replace it.
Effortless integration with Lighthouse BI
Data collection from branded or independent property systems typically takes a few hours, with more complex cases taking up to two days. Minimal involvement from your team is required.
Lighthouse BI consolidates data sources and can extract information from multiple PMSs, enabling your team to easily monitor the entire portfolio in a consistent format.
It provides reservation-level insights, allowing for flexible data analysis as needed.
This helps your team uncover revenue opportunities and keeps everyone informed with a daily snapshot emailed each morning.
Finally, Lighthouse BI also automates the forecast and budget process, saving your team time and providing a solid foundation for budget season.
Making the shift to Lighthouse Business Intelligence at your hotel: Transitioning from a “nice to have” to a “need to have” mindset
Business intelligence for the hotel industry has come a long way. In the past, the technology was only available for big brands due to the cost of setting it up and running it.
For many hoteliers, the steep learning curve was another deterrent. On top of that, well-established demand and booking patterns allowed many properties to get by without BI solutions. For them, a business intelligence tool was a nice yet optional extra.
But with today’s volatile markets and unpredictable demand shifts, business intelligence platforms have become essential for hotels that want to stay on top of new developments.
Luckily, they’re much more accessible, affordable, and easy to use now. As technology continues to develop, they’ve also become more reliable and offer volumes of accurate live data no team could collect manually.
And that’s exactly what’s needed for informed decision-making in a competitive, quickly evolving demand landscape.
In short, the most effective way to seize all revenue opportunities and get ahead of the competition today is to leverage the power of a business intelligence tool like Lighthouse Business Intelligence.
As markets continue to recover and demand patterns shift from pre-pandemic norms, maximizing revenue requires a comprehensive understanding of these changes.
Quickly adapting to emerging trends and fostering close collaboration between operations and commercial departments is crucial. This unified approach enables teams to work towards common goals and support each other's efforts.
The easiest way to put this all into practice is to leverage a powerful and robust business intelligence solution.
By providing real-time insights and promoting communication between revenue and sales teams, Lighthouse Business Intelligence enables the agile strategies necessary to succeed in today's challenging landscape.
If you want to get ahead of your competition and seize more revenue opportunities, reach out now to see how Lighthouse Business Intelligence could benefit your hotel.