Improve your independent hotel with data-driven decision making

Over the course of a day, hoteliers make hundreds of decisions that impact the flow of operations, team member performance and the guest experience.  With years of experience, as well as DATAestablished policies and procedures, to lean upon, many decisions can be made without much debate or contemplation.  However, as new consumer behavior trends begin to alter guest expectations, independent hotel managers will need to take a closer look at “the way things have always been done” and gauge whether or not their property is currently set up for long-term, sustainable success.  In doing this, operators should look to gather and analyze useful data and then apply their findings toward the important decisions that will affect their hotel’s future.

Deciding which functional areas, from front desk and back office operations to guestroom renovations, to focus upon is obviously the first hurdle in the process of preparing for the future.  But once specific areas have been identified and their potential return on investment have been discussed, hoteliers should acquire reliable and useful data to back up their ideas.  Here are few places operators can look to find the high-quality data they need:

Property Management System
One of the many benefits of a great hotel property management system (PMS) is the ability to extract lots of valuable data to support a variety of critical decisions.  For example, our hotel partners are able to leverage their innRoad cloud-based PMS to pull historical booking data that can help identify time periods when sales and marketing efforts can be enhanced to maximize revenue growth or, conversely, optimal times for rooms to be taken offline for maintenance.  As an independent hotel’s central technology hub, data collected from a PMS should help lay the framework for almost any improvement project.

Online Travel Agents (OTAs) and Review Sites
As most people do when they are searching for information, hoteliers can also turn to the internet for insight, even on their own property.  Guest reviews on Expedia, Orbitz and TripAdvisor are not just for travelers, operators can use them to identify on-property issues.  For example, are guests complaining about noisy air conditioning units?  Or is breakfast mentioned as just being OK?  These are the types of comments that operators can leverage to make educated decisions, rather than guessing what improvements need to be made.  And as a result, not only will your future guests benefit from the enhancements, past guest will know their feedback was taken seriously.

Team Members
Team members, like front desk agents and housekeepers, have their finger on the pulse of every independent hotel.  Their interactions with guests and activity around the property can provide operations managers with detailed suggestions for enhancing the guest experience and the company culture as a whole.  To get the most out of team member insight, hoteliers should have an “open and ongoing” dialogue.  Internal events, such as leadership meetings and town hall discussions, are the perfect venues for leaders to share news and for team members to provide thoughts on improving the property.

With the speed at which the hotel industry is evolving, operators can no longer afford to make top-down decisions.  By taking a data-driven, holistic approach to decision making, independent hotel operators can avoid making costly mistakes, as well as feel confident knowing that their data, guests and team members support their decisions.

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