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Building hospitality brand loyalty through IM&A

Like many other industries, the hospitality industry is dealing with increases in the volume, velocity, variety, and value of gathered data. There’s simply too much information in too many places for companies to make educated decisions as quickly as possible. Hospitality businesses participate in a variety of social media portals, capture customer data from numerous sources, and offer their products through a variety of distribution channels. The challenge, however, is in developing a multichannel integration platform that can transform this data into insights that help hospitality vendors run their businesses more effectively.

 

traveler.jpgFor a better understanding of the Big Data challenges in the Hospitality industry, we sat down with Bruce Moore, Application Services Executive, U.S. Consumer and Transportation Industry of HP Enterprise Services. Here’s what he had to say:

 

ES:  As we all know, Big Data poses a challenge for every industry. But it seems like the Information Management and Analytics (IM&A) needs of the Hospitality Industry are unique, in that customers are particularly brand-loyal, and probably aren’t aware of parent organizations, franchises and how the entire industry is organized. So, given this complexity, what do you recommend to clients when getting started on a Big Data journey?

 

MOORE: We really recommend that, before anyone gets started implementing a solution, they take a step back and look at a full end-to-end data transformation strategy. This strategy encompasses both the future business needs and how IT will enable this journey. For example, we ask customers to think beyond how they are going to collect the data and imagine what what information they want to collect; how people are booking reservations, or how they are connecting into their site; and the external dynamics influencing buying behavior. Today seven percent of hotels are being booked via a mobile device or tablet. By the end of this year, that’s expected to go to 20 percent. What’s interesting is the percentage of those bookings that will be leveraging same-day booking sites is expected to increase as well. So hotels need to make sure they aren’t cannibalizing their revenue structures by releasing too much inventory to these same-day sites. That’s one example of the need to develop an end-to-end strategy. You don’t want your loyal customers waiting too long to book their stay because they are waiting for the room to be discounted.  

 

Another interesting approach is for some of the larger hoteliers to look at their brand, and the expression of the many brands within their hotel chain. The data can help you understand what the basic expectations are for your loyal customers, and help you deliver on those expectations across any number of different hotels. This enables hoteliers to deliver a consistent customer experience across a number of brands.

 

ES: What’s involved with getting a hospitality brand to put a strategy in place? How does HP help customers implement that strategy?

 

MOORE: We work with customers from the very beginning in a Big Data Experience Workshop to help lay out an end-to-end Big Data strategy. This strategy includes:

 

  1. Assess a client’s needs and align big data initiatives with specific business goals.
  2. Access and capture huge quantities of both structured and unstructured data in near or real time.
  3. Consolidate that information, then find commonality in previously disparate forms of data (and be sure to use that data ethically and responsibly at all times).
  4. Work across silos to gather the myriad data points created by consumers to gain unparalleled insights into customer opinions and preferences.
  5. Elevate the customer care role in customer experiences.
  6. Correlate company offerings and identified customer needs.
  7. Create a big data management plan for the future.

 

A high-level approach would be to ask what data is available  internally to help us understand  guests preferences. And how can the hotel better leverage this information to improve targeted offers. From there, we take that data a step further and pull in all the unstructured data available to them through social media channels, to help them understand megatrends and other factors they might want to put on their radar. This includes methods for guest feedback, or how guests are commenting on their experience with a brand through their own social media channels.

 

ES: That sounds like a job for HP Autonomy and Vertica.

 

MOORE: Well, those are tools. And they certainly are industry leading tools. But the people involved is where I believe HP adds real value to help bring this data to life, and provide truly useful information to our customers. For example, we have the expertise to look at the data and advise our customers on whether or not they could benefit from bundling services. Or the types of promotions or loyalty programs they can offer to their customers to build business value. Many of our IM&A consultants have years of experience helping our customers mine the data for information. And they know how to use the tools you mention to deliver results.

 

Moore Picture.pngAbout Bruce Moore

Bruce is a veteran of more than 20 years in the transportation  industry. With a passion for consumer airline travel and a keen eye for megatrends, he leads Big Data experience workshops to help HP customers make the most of HP’s Information and Management Analystics services.

 

 

HPB20242_Hospitality_Cover-309x400.pngTo read more about how to put Big Data to work to reinforce brand loyalty, check out this article in the Hospitality edition of HP Industry Edge.

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