Business intelligence is about synthesizing data from multiple sources to create new growth opportunities through continuous improvement. Some hoteliers use business intelligence tools to measure the true ROI of their marketing campaigns; others dive into lead-time analysis to find the best booking window for a pre-sale promotion. Business intelligence tools like TravelClick's Demand360 are designed to deliver fast, thorough and accurate insights through easy-to-use dashboards, reports and analytics.
The best business intelligence tools slice, dice, and filter data so sales can monitor performance, sales can track channel performance, and marketing can quickly identify opportunities for data-driven campaigns. Know when is the best time to discount rooms, when to order more inventory for an upcoming busy period, and when is a drop in bookings industry-wide – or something more worrisome. Find out what business intelligence software can tell you about your hotel and how your teams can use BI data to capitalize on opportunities otherwise obscured by noise.
How business intelligence software makes you a better hotelier
Hotels have a large amount of data. This data comes from a variety of sources including website analytics, property management systems, central reservation systems, compset data and guest feedback tools. It's impossible to synthesize and process this data in real time when it's stored in a dozen different systems. So how can your hotel make this data actionable?
Business intelligence tools analyze data collected during the guest journey from marketing, guest experience teams and business intelligence to uncover ideas for new marketing campaigns, pricing and e-commerce opportunities. The right business intelligence tool gives your hotel the ability to forecast for operational efficiencies, more targeted marketing and smarter sales campaigns.
Too many hotel revenue managers still rely on spreadsheets to perform calculations and manage reports. Spreadsheet-based reporting is cumbersome, time-consuming and error-prone. It's also not a great way to gain deeper insights from the wealth of data available through your PMS. A tool like Demand360 can use your hotel's PMS data to improve pricing and profitability – all with greater efficiency than a spreadsheet formula. "It's so easy to use and gets the timely information that helps me make better revenue, parity and strategy decisions. I don't have finance staff, so I need simple and complete information at a glance." says one reviewer. With dynamic PMS analytics, your manager can crunch the numbers and present unique information and analytical views in seconds.
During meetings, business intelligence tools can give you detailed information and provide your teams with the information they need to be successful. For example, a manager compares price codes to customer segmentation to see how different strategy changes affect booking rates. Reporting capabilities in a dedicated hotel BI tool like Revenue Insight make it easy for sales, marketing, e-commerce and revenue management to share reports and analytics with a "single version of the truth". Work within a property, within a portfolio, or between the corporate/property level. The user-friendly modules show your sales team useful data points on business performance and for negotiating new contracts. Your marketing team can monitor channel performance and create new campaigns anchored in data insights. Management teams can access reports that combine key performance indicators such as price codes, channels, room types and more to get a clear picture of how your teams can increase revenue.
Overall business intelligence software provides more comprehensive data to optimize performance. View analytics for one or multiple properties, for historical and forward-looking data, from the highest to the most detailed business level. Process, organize and present large amounts of data quickly. BI tools use predictive analytics to create more accurate forecasts that are free from the errors that come from manual report generation. Managers can plan room inventory management more strategically with granular but actionable sales and forecast data. This capability leads to less wasted resources and higher profit margins.
Business Intelligence Software Trends
Business intelligence tools are more advanced in terms of forecasting, self-service and user interface. Today's BI software offers even better predictive analytics and the ability to benchmark your performance against your competition.
BI tools use historical data and machine learning to predict future performance based on a range of metrics  ;- for example, managers can compare actual and book sales to previous times compare time periods, booking windows, historical trends to analyze and predict your revenue KPIs. Or save on one of your biggest costs: labor costs.
In addition to predictive analytics, BI software gives users the ability to develop and create custom dashboards and reports within the organization, depending on their role. Self-service business intelligence makes your valuable data accessible to more teams. BI dashboards make it intuitive for the average business user to create their own reports on the fly. Overall, these workspace tools enable better collaboration and move isolated systems into unified digital workspaces. We expect predictive analytics to become even more accessible in the future. Instead of forecasting only at the market segment level, hotel teams can plan across multiple dimensions such as distribution channels, feeder markets, and room types.
2020 will bring great innovation from Microsoft , whose BI solutions are ahead of the competition in terms of their capabilities and vision. Although not designed specifically for the hospitality industry, Microsoft's Power BI tool is the technology on which many hospitality BI solutions are built. There are many BI offerings in the hospitality market; it's important to choose one that leverages the best technology for your property, and Power BI is the best choice.
STR's Forward STAR reports will change the competitive landscape by providing a 360-degree view of actual business operations. This report compares your upcoming daily performance to that of the overall market and your competitors. Hoteliers no longer need to analyze their pace and intake in a vacuum. Compare yourself to your competitors with forward-looking market intelligence.
How to choose the best BI software
To get the most out of a business intelligence tool, there are a number of important features to consider.
Cloud infrastructure: provides cost-effective, easy and flexible access to business intelligence data across multiple devices.
Enterprise-level reporting: view the performance of multiple hotels with consistent standards to simplify divisional or portfolio-level reporting.
Depth of information: view statistics and numbers; dive deeper into the data to understand what influences those results.
Data management : manage& Clean up data to ensure the quality and accuracy of data and reports.
Forecasting and budgeting support: use budgeting data to maintain data and reporting quality and accuracy.
Interactive dashboards : process massive amounts of data, contextualize, compare and format your insights.
Conditional alerts: Set up the tool to notify you \when critical thresholds are reached; Respond sooner to take advantage of opportunities while they exist
Predictive analytics : use current and historical data to make predictions about where your business is headed.
The right BI software needs to tie into other best-of-breed hotel software such as your PMS, guest feedback tool and market intelligence platform. A property management system provides your BI with the right data to generate reports and predictive analytics. Guest feedback tool provides critical guest reviews
and survey data to existing BI sources so your teams can take advantage of potential benefits. And, just as important, market intelligence integration allows you to see in detail how you are performing against your competition and identify any market opportunities or threats to your business.
Make sure to ask potential partners the following questions during the vetting process:
What PMS and source systems do you associate with? Make sure your business intelligence tool can sync with your existing technology stack.
Can your tool be used? on multiple devices? A good BI tool should
Provide widespread access to multiple devices with as few restrictions as possible.
How users can customize and interact with data? Make sure the BI tool allows users to manipulate data to optimize reporting capabilities.
Have otherDo security settings for different user levels? The right BI tool can restrict certain capabilities and areas to certain users, so only the right people have access to your proprietary data.
Does your tool have data visualization categories? A good BI tool should do less work for you, not more; find a platform that can summarize large amounts of data from multiple sources in an easy-to-understand format.