Angie Dobney

The Power of BI: Improve Profits Throughout Your Hotel

Big data has become a cornerstone of business strategy for companies looking to improve. But true visionaries understand it’s how a business uses that data – the analysis, slicing/dicing and insights gleaned from it – that truly propels a business forward. Therein lies the magic of business intelligence (BI). BI comprises the practical and technological infrastructure that collects and analyzes data from disparate internal and external sources, transforming it into easy-to-digest, actionable insights to inform decision-making and improve business performance. The world’s top industry sectors have long benefited from the use of BI. Nearly everyone has experienced Amazon’s algorithm-based system that seems to know what we want to purchase before we do. But within the hotel industry, BI has been comparatively underutilized.

For the hotel owner, the newest iterations of BI allow you to juxtapose historic, real-time and predictive analytics, to generate a holistic view of your entire business that guides you in making impactful improvements in revenue optimization and profit growth. Nucleus Research reports that analytics pays back $13.01 for every dollar spent. And while state-of-the-art BI not only provides clear benefits in pricing optimization for your revenue management team, it also delivers tremendous profit-lifting benefits for every area of your hotel operations.

Sophisticated, Insightful Reporting in Seconds

When attempting to capitalize on all the benefits of big data, manually compiling information and creating reports via Excel spreadsheets or Google Sheets is no longer effective. They’re time intensive and prone to human error. By implementing a top-line BI system, revenue managers can focus more time on formulating revenue-generating strategies and less time collecting data.

BI looks at past, present, and future, integrating external data with internal data generated from your hotel property management, central reservations, and revenue management systems (RMS). From high-level overviews to drilling down to the most granular levels, relevant information is delivered through cohesive, easy-to-interpret graphic visualizations within seconds rather than hours.

Moving beyond the traditional measures of occupancy, average daily rate (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR), the new breed of BI generates more advanced metrics – such as slot performance, revenue per VIP, comps and revenue per geographic region and source market – that allow you to see each department of your business from fresh angles, spot anomalies and identify and influence trends before they happen. It places a magnifying glass over every area of your management reporting, identifying inefficiencies within your organization and unlocking the “why” behind the numbers. Plus, it creates a new level of sophistication in the reporting process that benefits your entire business strategy.

BI IMPROVES BUSINESS PERFORMANCE THROUGHOUT YOUR ORGANIZATION

Say So Long to Silos

BI ensures your hotel departments work together as a single unit instead of isolated entities, each pursuing their own agenda and goals. In the past, each department held a single piece of the “big picture” puzzle, lacking coordination with other teams in ways that negatively impacted demand forecasting and business growth. For example, if you know you’ll have less high-end gaming segment demand during a particular period, you can reduce your VIP room and upscale restaurant staff, because your current in-house business won’t be frequenting these areas. Cloud-based BI solutions glean insights throughout your property and provide every department access to a single, comprehensive version of the truth. This leads to cross-team collaboration and more precise forecasting for greater business gains.

Identify Your Most Valuable Guests

Perform a guest valuation analysis, moving beyond legacy ADT-based approaches to identify significant trends in your guest gaming behavior across different game types and customer groups. With improved insight into your overall guest spend patterns, you can maximize profits by creating your optimal business mix and better allocate priority discounts and comps to your most valuable guests.

Maximize Casino Floor & Player Development

A BI-enhanced RMS combines customer segment data and game analytics, allowing casino management to optimize slot denominations and table game types to correspond with the preferences of current in-house guests. In addition, BI consolidates player data from across multiple systems into a single accurate profile so that player development (PD) is no longer an isolated function falling solely on hosts and PD teams. Instead, every guest-facing employee – front desk, restaurant and bar staff – has the information necessary to execute your PD strategy, comping a meal or hotel stay and helping to grow your customer base.

Master Your Marketing

Marketing is a huge driver in the casino hotel business, and marketing teams also benefit from the detailed customer analysis available through BI. Oftentimes marketing campaigns are too generic. Through effective customer segmentation, behavior analysis, and campaign performance tracking, BI tools effectively close the gap between promotional campaign design and performance.

Research from Accenture shows that 75 percent of consumers are more likely to buy if they feel recognized, remembered and receive personalized recommendations based on their purchase history. Through BI insights, casino marketing teams can laser focus their promotional campaigns in more strategic ways, presenting each customer with a relevant offer that he or she is more likely to accept.

BI also helps casino management spot trends, which can make the difference between retaining or losing a customer. Perhaps analytics shows that a guest has wagered less than previous years due to a skipped monthly visit. Marketing can send a customized email message offering a free meal, show ticket or other comp to inspire a return visit.

Personalized Services Drive Customer Loyalty

Beyond the benefits of personalized marketing, hotels capture value and improve customer loyalty by offering guests personalized services and meaningful experiences obtained through insights from advanced BI solutions. Perhaps a hotel learns a particular business traveler orders the same pre-dinner cocktail at a specific time each evening. With the benefit of that knowledge, the hotel has the cocktail mixed and ready to serve the minute that guest enters the bar. The customer is pleased and Google data shows 36 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for personalized services. Moreover, BI can also be used by hotels in upselling, targeting services to specific guest profiles for maximum conversion and increased revenues.

BI OPTIMIZES HOTEL OPERATIONS

Achieve Optimal Staffing Levels

Hotel operating costs and expenses that go unchecked deplete profit margins and affect your property’s livelihood. The predictive analytics component of BI creates accurate consumer demand forecasts incorporating business on the books, customer behavior and even regrets and denials. Hotels no longer watch profits evaporate by being overstaffed, nor struggle to keep guests happy by being understaffed, instead maintaining optimal staffing levels on a day-to-day basis.

Better Manage Food and Beverage Inventory

Food-and-beverage inventory losses tend to be hidden, with hotels neglecting to analyze the difference in how transients versus groups affect restaurant and bar revenue and labor cost margins. BI helps you effectively track and manage all your F&B operating expenses so that you can better forecast future needs based on anticipated bookings and trends over time.

Conclusion

As technology evolves, next-generation BI is driving a paradigm shift in how hotels develop business management strategies. Business decisions no longer rely on gut instinct and perceived market demand, but rather accurate, timely data presented in customized visualizations to meet the needs of every facet of your hotel operations.

Enjoy a richer RMS that allows you to quickly adapt to changing market conditions and experience the synergistic effect of informed decisions shaped by interdepartmental collaboration. Create standout guest experiences, reduce operational costs and drive more gaming profits when you utilize the new breed of hotel BI.

Angie Dobney is the vice president of Gaming & Casino Sales at The Rainmaker Group. An industry veteran with more than two decades of experience in revenue management and hospitality operations, she provides hands-on optimization of total resort profit to Rainmaker’s industry-leading gaming and hospitality clients. A recognized expert in total asset and portfolio optimization, and as enthusiastic as she is knowledgeable, Dobney is frequently tapped to speak at conferences around the globe. She is a guest lecturer on hotel and hospitality asset and revenue management at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, her alma mater, where she was named Mentor of the Year in 2007. She continues to seek out opportunities to get involved in other university programs in her quest to inspire and motivate the next generation of revenue managers. Contact Angie.