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Business Intelligence: Your Part-Time Business Sidekick (By Rachel Shabtai)

Technology has become the norm in today’s society, which has greatly impacted the hospitality industry from all different angles.  Restaurants depend on easy to use point of sales (POS) systems such as Squirrel or Aloha, but what about other departments such as Revenue Management and Sales and Marketing? 

The business intelligence goal is to solve this issue by providing the most efficient and up-to-date information on tracing booking patterns as well as maximizing promotional marketing to external outlets.  It is important for hotels to understand the efficiency that business intelligence can offer; it isn’t the technology that seems complex, but rather the algorithms used to collect all the data.  Of course, those who may use this program won’t have to worry about complicated calculations or data collection, even though they already have the experience of gathering the information.

Business intelligence should be used hand-in-hand to complement the skills a revenue manager or sales and marketing director has to assist in efficiency.  Using this kind of resource can shave time off a busy schedule to focus on things such as improving performance in budgeting or pricing.  

Another way that business intelligence comes in handy for the marketing segment of a hotel would include bridging promotional designs to the performance of the advertisement’s effectiveness. Although marketing strategies will vary, performance and revenues can significantly increase if done correctly.  The data collected would enhance the accuracy of the target market that a hotel strives towards; the analysis provided by business intelligence would include scanning information based on who the demographics of guests traveling in the area, what kind of travelers guests are (e.g., business, leisure, etc.), how much guests are willing to spend, and possibly membership program perks.  

This would also benefit in calculating revenue stream because there would be more accurate information on the types of guests staying in a particular hotel, their length of stay, and how much they would spend during their stay.  With this in mind, business intelligence also promotes seasonal campaigns to maximize revenue for seasonal and off-season periods.

Finally, business intelligence would increase the productivity of measuring the booking pace in many different segments in sales and marketing or rooms.  Although managers manually analyze this sort of data, business intelligence would be able to bring forth more details about which mechanism works best for booking pace in sales and marketing as well as which room types may sell better to specific travelers.

Of course using an external source may have flaws, however human error exists as well; if managers decide to go forth in reaching out to these sources, then it can only do more good than harm.  It is only reasonable that businesses move forward with technology because it is and will be the future of measuring a business’s failure or success in reaching out to guests or customers.

Because business intelligence encourages seasonal and off-season promoting, would it be worth investing in off-season promoting or would it be leaning further towards risk?  Is there any outsourcing of any kind required if businesses decide to use business intelligence?

About the Author:
Rachel Shabtai is a full-time undergraduate student at the Collins College of Hospitality Management at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management with an emphasis in hotel operations.  She has had many hospitality related experiences geared specifically towards hotels including a Revenue Management internship at the Hilton Financial District in San Francisco this past summer.  Rachel has also received the Starwood STAR scholarship through the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality organization.  

References:
Coleman, Kevin. "Using Business Intelligence in Hotel Marketing." Using Business Intelligence in Hotel Marketing. N.p., 9 Apr. 2014. Web. 13 Apr. 2014.

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