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Big Data: Elevating Hotels Above OTAs for CRM Success and Guest Loyalty

Big Data and AI as Catalysts for Hotels Success over OTAs

Big Data: The Reason Why OTAs Outshine Your Hotel

In our modern digital era, it's undeniable: Big Data equates to substantial business opportunities. For the hospitality sector, the absence of Big Data utilization is the primary reason hotels find themselves at a significant disadvantage, losing considerable business and revenue to Online Travel Agents (OTAs). It's a stark reality that when it comes to comprehending and capitalizing on the value of Big Data, most hotels are drastically behind compared to OTAs like, TripAdvisor, Expedia, among others.

The capacity of OTAs to attract guests to their booking platforms over those managed by hotels has a profound impact on our industry, affecting not only revenue but also market valuation. This occurs despite the fact that OTAs physically own no assets, serving instead as a conduit for transactions between guests and hotels. Nevertheless, their immense value and profitability to investors stem from the vast volumes and high quality of Big Data they possess.

Harnessing Big Data to Elevate Your Hotel Above OTAs

The Power of Direct Guest Interactions for Superior Data Collection
Hotels have a unique advantage in collecting both the volume and quality of data comparable to that amassed by Online Travel Agents (OTAs). This advantage is significantly enhanced by the direct interactions hotels have with their guests. Unlike OTAs, hotels can gather extensive data from various aspects of a guest's stay, including interactions with on-site facilities like spas, golf clubs, and limousine services.

Exclusive and Personalized Data: A Competitive Edge

The capability to capture exclusive, highly personalized data sets hotels apart. This kind of data, especially when it's not booked through OTAs, provides a deep dive into the preferences and behaviors of guests. Hotels are uniquely positioned to obtain immediate feedback directly from guests, an opportunity that is as valuable as it is rare. Recognizing and leveraging this exclusive insight is crucial for hotels aiming to outshine their OTA counterparts.

The Importance of Recognizing and Leveraging Guest Data

Despite the golden opportunity presented by direct guest data, many hotels are yet to harness its full potential. This gap in data utilization is a significant factor that needs to be addressed for hotels to compete effectively against OTAs. The critical shift required is for hotels to acknowledge the value of their unique data and implement strategies to make the most of it.

Data Gathering: The First Step Towards Big Data Mastery

The path to capitalizing on Big Data begins with one essential step: data gathering. This initial phase is where many hotels falter, yet it's the foundation upon which all successful data-driven strategies are built. Effective data gathering involves not just the accumulation of information but ensuring that the data is clean, structured, and actionable. For hotels, mastering this step is not optional but a necessity to pave the way for advanced analytics, personalized marketing strategies, and enhanced guest experiences that can significantly diminish the competitive edge of OTAs.

By prioritizing the collection of clean data, hotels can unlock the full potential of their direct interactions with guests. This approach not only sets the stage for deeper insights and personalization but also establishes a framework for hotels to significantly improve guest loyalty, operational efficiency, and ultimately, their competitive standing in the hospitality industry.

Mastering Guest Data: From Challenge to Solution

Navigating Through the Data Deluge in Modern Hospitality

In the digital era, hotels face an onslaught of guest data. The main challenge isn't gathering this data but managing it effectively. Traditional hotel IT infrastructures, characterized by isolated systems, struggle with integration, leading to inefficient data processing and a piecemeal approach that stifles progress and innovation.

Unlocking the Potential of Big Data and AI for Hotel CRM Success

Harnessing AI for Strategic Growth

The application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning in the hotel industry is crucial, serving as the backbone for analyzing behavioral patterns and forecasting future guest behaviors. This advanced analytics is vital for unleashing the potential of Big Data, which in turn propels revenue and fosters business expansion. Yet, a common oversight is perceiving AI and Machine Learning as the final goal rather than integral parts of a comprehensive strategy.

Creating a Clean Golden Record through CDM

The pivotal initial step in any hotel's Big Data strategy should be establishing a clean, unified guest profile via Central Data Management (CDM). Without this crucial foundation, efforts to leverage Big Data are significantly handicapped. This central profile, or Golden Record, needs to be seamlessly integrated across all hotel IT systems, from booking engines to CRM platforms, ensuring every guest interaction is personalized and cohesive.

Overcoming Big Data Challenges for CRM Optimization

The pursuit of high-quality, well-aggregated data remains a substantial challenge within the hotel industry, a fact underscored by h2c's 2021 study. This study revealed that a majority of global hotel chains struggle with maintaining clean data, aggregating data efficiently, and ensuring data quality. Moreover, technical hurdles, such as integrating various systems, stand as significant obstacles for 80% of hotels. These challenges highlight the critical importance of adopting effective Big Data and AI strategies to enhance hotel CRM systems, enabling hotels to not only meet but surpass the capabilities of OTAs.

From data privacy compliance to 1:2:1 marketing communications, and amazing guest experiences to robust business development, the benefits of Big Data are there for the taking. It is down to hotels to take the right decisions and implement the right changes from the top down, to make it all happen and ensure their future success.

Automated Personalization Study: Global Insights on AI and ML in Hospitality. November 2021.

Seize the Future: Big Data as Your Path to Big Business

Dr Michael Toedt concludes:

"For hotels to reclaim their competitive edge against OTAs, a radical overhaul of their IT infrastructure is required. Leveraging Big Data through modernized systems not only enhances guest experiences through personalization but also streamlines operational, marketing, and reporting processes. The journey towards achieving this involves embracing Central Data Management and Data Quality Management as the foundation for effective guest data utilization."

Dr. Michael Toedt
CEO & Founder

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