Now that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, global tourism and travel will be picking up once more. And hoteliers of boutique hotels and chains in Singapore, such as yourself, will be gearing up to welcome guests once more.
Here, the question is the same as always; how do you convince potential guests to choose your hotel for their travels, and how do you keep your establishments profitable?
One way to do this is to leverage data analytics and tools such as ERP software to the advantage of your establishment. This enables you to optimise your establishment’s operations, analyse your guests’ behavioural patterns, and create unique marketing strategies to appeal to them accordingly, amongst other benefits.
This enables you to make business decisions based on actionable insights. Because of this, hotels which understand how to leverage data analytics enjoy a significant advantage over their competition.
We’ve put together a list of industry challenges that hoteliers like yourself face in common, as well as how data analytics can be employed to address them.
Through this, we hope that this will serve you as a resource that’ll give you an idea of how to employ data analytics and business intelligence (BI) tools to your advantage and gain your establishment an edge over your competition.
Overview of data analytics trends businesses could tap on; Source: Spring People
It’s often said that the most valuable resource in the world is no longer oil but data.
According to McKinsey, “The use of big data – large pools of data that can be brought together – will become the key basis of competition and growth for individual firms, enhancing productivity and creating significant value for the world economy.”
This is especially the case for hoteliers like yourself, as you enjoy access to a steadily growing amount of guest intelligence data generated by your operational processes.
Guest profiles, transactional data, website metrics, call centres, and surveys all serve as sources of valuable data.
Therefore, the only thing your hotel needs is the right data tools and erp system to collect all of this data and derive actionable insights you can follow up on.
These can inform your business decisions for your establishment, leading to better outcomes such as being able to provide superior services for your guests, and gaining an edge over competing hotels.
Now, let’s take at some of the most common pain points that boutique hotels and hotel chains in Singapore often face, as well as how the application of data analytics can help you address them in your establishment.
Characteristics of revenue management ; Source: Catala Consulting Ltd
When it comes to operational processes within boutique hotels like your establishment, one of the earliest adopters of data analytics is revenue management (RM).
It makes sense since revenue management is one of the most data-dependent functions in Singapore’s hospitality establishments apart from accounting. It also benefits greatly from leveraging the power of predictive analytics for forecasting purposes.
Proper revenue management involves hoteliers like yourself leveraging external data like market data and competitor activity, as well as internal data such as historical performance.
You can leverage a good business intelligence (BI) tool to generate actionable insights that guide your decisions on key aspects of your business. This includes pricing, inventory controls, promotions, and demand forecasting.
Knowing this information could be valuable for your hotel. This is especially so during the Request for Proposal (RFP) season, when your hotel is bidding for business from large corporate and/or government accounts with deep pockets.
Utilising data analytics in your revenue management is also crucial when it comes to keeping track of your competitors’ performance, relative to that of your own establishment.
With real-time data analytics, you can compare your hotel’s pricing strategy to your compset, and determine the price levels of your competitors accordingly.
This can in turn help you set competitive rates for your own establishments, thereby increasing the bookings for your rooms.
Leveraging data analytics for revenue management; Source: LatentView Analytics
To carry out proper revenue management for your establishment, you need to keep track of certain key performance indicators (KPIs) that show just how well your hotel is performing. These include, amongst others:
More importantly, a good BI tool can generate accurate pace and pickup reports, critical for forecasting future demand for your hotel rooms more accurately and identifying upcoming booking trends.
With ERP software, BI and data analytics, you’ll be able to examine your pickup daily. Gradually, you can paint a picture of the type of business your establishment has been getting within a specific timeframe, and this can help you adjust your forecast accordingly.
Accurate pace and pickup reports from a good BI tool can also help you optimise your pricing strategy. For example, you can deploy different rate strategies based on leading or lagging metrics as necessary, especially during times of high demand for your hotel rooms.
Conversely, it can also show you which months see lower demand for your Singapore hotel rooms and are thus good times to reduce rates and/or offer promotions to increase pickup for your establishment.
Another aspect of hotel operations that can be greatly enhanced with data analytics tools and ERP software is curating guest experiences.
Feedback from your guests is a valuable resource for boutique hotels and hotel chains like yours, as it can be used to understand guest sentiment, and help you identify ongoing trends and patterns.
You can obtain guest feedback about your hotel’s service quality and experience from diverse data sources. These include your property management system (PMS), surveys, and reviews posted on social media platforms or review websites such as Yelp!
Applying data analytics could also give you insights about which of your services see the most usage by your guests. This can inform your decisions on which additions or improvements to services and systems to introduce to your establishment to improve the guest experience.
It can also show you opportunities to form partnerships of mutual benefit with external parties, such as nearby F&B establishments and travel agencies.
Last but not least, you can also leverage data analytics to help you figure out how your direct competitors in Singapore are delivering their guest experiences. This, in turn, enables you to figure out how to deliver a superior experience to them.
Net Promoter Score Scale; Source: NICE Systems, Inc.
These are some of the KPIs you want to focus on when determining the quality of guest experience provided by your establishment:
And to determine the level of guest loyalty to your boutique hotel or hotel chain, some of the KPIs based on your ERP software’s data that you should look out for are as follows:
Armed with this information, you’ll be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your establishment, and subsequently improve your services to boost guest satisfaction and loyalty.
Tapping into marketing analytics for insights and decision-making; Source: Digital Inspiration
Marketing is another department where your boutique hotel or hotel chain can greatly benefit from data analytics tools and an ERP system, due to its data-heavy nature.
After all, marketing your hotel’s services today involves multiple channels – including a website, search engine marketing (SEM), email marketing, and having a presence on social media platforms.
The marketing strategies of Singapore’s boutique hotels and hotel chains have also had to evolve accordingly to leverage the valuable data generated by each of these marketing channels.
You’ll need data tools such as Google Analytics and Search Console, as well as a digital marketing platform, to track key marketing KPIs in your establishment.
With the insights this affords you as a hotelier, you’ll have a better idea as to how you can better market the services of your boutique hotel or hotel chain to potential guests.
Marketing offers a wealth of KPIs which a BI tool can track, and generate actionable insights for future campaigns.
Overview of digital marketing metrics,; Source: DashThis
For example, when it comes to digital marketing, you’ll want to track the following KPIs on your hotel’s website:
If you’re running an email marketing campaign for your establishment, these are the KPIs you’ll want to keep track of as well:
And if your hotel has a presence on social media, you’ll want to take note of the following:
With the insights derived from the ERP software and BI tool, you can then identify key consumer groups for your establishment and adjust your marketing efforts accordingly to appeal to them.
Because of this, you might want to share these insights with your Singapore marketing team. This allows them to combine data from pace and pickup reports with their own data points to create a more complete analytics report and overview of marketing promotions. They can then see how their work impacts the performance of your establishment.
It also enables them to become more proactive in decision-making and target their marketing efforts more strategically to present each customer demographic with relevant offers. This increases the likelihood of converting these prospective customers into paying guests at your hotel.
For example, if your establishment is popular with families, your marketing team will know to promote family-oriented activities and programmes in your hotel. Or if your establishment gets many business travellers instead, your marketing team can then promote services and amenities designed to cater to their particular needs.
Where there are hotels, there are also bars, restaurants, room service, and other F&B-related services that operate exclusively within your premises in Singapore and cater primarily to your guests.
These F&B services generally operate on tight profit margins, so ensuring that they don’t end up making a loss for your establishment is a priority.
To do this, you can derive the revenue data of your F&B services from the POS systems and payment systems those services are using.
By using ERP software and applying data analytics to revenue data from the F&B services operating in your establishment, you can gain insights on the most effective ways to increase guest spend on them. For example, through updating your menus, upselling, and offering promotions.
It can also help you identify the types of guests who are much more likely to spend their money on F&B services within your property, so that you can focus on marketing said services to these specific guests.
To know how the F&B services in your hotel are faring, you need to keep track of the following KPIs amongst others:
Revenue per available seat hour can be a useful restaurant metric to track seat performance at specific time periods; Source: Eat App
With a BI tool and ERP system, you can convert these KPIs into reports that provide actionable insight into the profitability of your in-house F&B services and take action to address any concerns.
The pace and pickup report a BI tool generates can also prove useful in managing your establishment’s F&B services.
For example, if your bars and restaurants have access to data about the spending habits of certain customer segments, they can better plan their short-term operational forecasts. They will also be empowered to maintain tighter control over their costs.
This will eventually lead to them being profitable businesses in their own right and a profit-making part of your boutique hotel or hotel chain.
Introduction to Microsoft Power BI; Source: Microsoft Power BI
We’ve covered why your boutique hotel or hotel chain should be utilising the data analytics capabilities of a BI tool to optimise your establishment’s operations in Singapore. So the question is, which BI tool should you be using?
For our part, we recommend Microsoft Power BI; a cloud BI suite that not only offers a powerful and user-friendly solution, but is also free to use at the Power BI Desktop tier.
This makes Power BI a great starting point for your hotel to begin leveraging BI and data analytics. This is because it provides basic analytics and visual dashboards that can generate reports visualising the most important KPIs in your establishment.
And when you and your employees have familiarised yourselves with the use of Power BI at the free Desktop tier, you can then upgrade to the Power BI Pro tier with a monthly subscription fee.
This can be especially useful as Power BI Pro enables collaboration between your end users by allowing them to share reports and dashboards they’ve created with each other.
And as we just covered, pace and pickup reports are not only crucial to the functioning of your revenue management team. They can also be shared with other functions in your establishment, such as marketing and F&B services to greatly enhance their own operations and systems.
Last but not least, because it is a Microsoft product, Power BI can be easily integrated into one of its parent company’s ERP software products, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
This confers the standard business benefits that ERP software brings to the table. It also means that Power BI can draw data from the centralised database that Business Central uses to unify and store business data generated by your establishment’s operational processes.
Because of this, Power BI becomes an even more effective BI tool for your boutique hotel or hotel chain. It also enables you and your management team to use its data analytics capabilities to the fullest within the ERP software.
To maintain an edge over your direct competition in the hotel industry, you need to leverage the power of data analytics and ERP software in your establishment.
Doing so allows you to monitor critical hotel-related KPIs in real time, providing you with critical insights about your business from the vast amount of data generated by your business operations.
With these insights, you can address some of the most common pain points faced by boutique hotels and hotel chains like your establishment today. This includes revenue management, guest experience, marketing, and F&B services.
You need the right BI tool from the right vendor to generate accurate pace and pickup reports from your establishment’s data. More importantly, this allows your end users to share reports and dashboards with their colleagues to ensure the insights get to the parts of your business which need them the most.
At AFON IT, we recommend Microsoft Power BI as the BI tool of choice for boutique hotels and hotel chains like yours, thanks to its powerful feature set and compatibility with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
As a qualified Microsoft partner in Singapore, AFON IT can help you implement Microsoft Power BI in your establishment’s system. We can also configure its data analytics capabilities to best suit the unique reporting needs of your industry.
If you’d like to know how we can help your boutique hotel or hotel chain leverage data analytics and BI to its full potential, schedule a free consultation with us today!
Otherwise, should you like to know more about Power BI and how it can meet your financial and business reporting needs, click on the image below to download our resource on Microsoft’s cloud-based BI suite.