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Operations

Data Standardization to Improve Your Hotel's Operations

 

Data standardization is becoming increasingly important for hotels to make data-driven decisions.

Organizing your data to ensure it includes high-quality and accurate information is vital for creating an efficient business, providing a personalized guest experience, and increasing revenue.

What is Data Standardization?

Data standardization is the critical process of bringing internal data into a common format. It converts data into a similar format to allow for accurate analysis.

It allows for data from multiple sources to be collected in the same way and used across all departments.

Why is Data Standardization Important?

Data standardization ensures the information collected is of good quality and is accurate. If your data isn’t accurate then budget forecasts could leave you with a loss, or forecasting trends could see you investing time on tasks that were never going to increase revenue. This means staff wastes their time creating reports from inaccurate data that won’t be of any use to the hotel.

Data standardization makes it easier to measure your progress. When all data is collected in a similar format then it is easier to compare. It makes it quicker to see if you are achieving your goals and getting the results you want.

  • Data standardization will reduce your costs because you are only collecting data that you need and money is not being spent on staff collecting irrelevant information.
  • Standardized data helps you make more accurate forecasts on budget, capacity, and trends. Creating accurate forecasts helps to focus on achieving your goals and prevents you from losing money by investing in tasks that won’t bring in revenue.
  • Data standardization can lead to an increase in productivity because the staff does not have to sift through irrelevant data or enter the data into systems more than once. This wastes time and can frustrate staff.
  • When you are in control of your data you can find how to best target your guests. This helps to take advantage of every opportunity for customer acquisition and to remarket to create loyal customers.  A more personalized service creates a better guest experience, resulting in improved sales and revenue.
  • Standardization makes decisions easier because you can quickly access the data. The data will be up-to-date, allowing you to make changes to anything that is not working before it becomes a problem.

The Challenges of Data Standardization

Training staff takes time and money. While it may seem like a hassle, the advantages above make it worthwhile.

Creating a culture where staff understand the importance of data and continually strive to collect accurate data, can be difficult. It takes time to change the culture of any organization but once it is implemented, staff should be more productive and motivated as they understand how they play a crucial role in increasing revenue.

It can be time-consuming to carry out audits on top of everything else you need to do on a daily basis. With the mountain of information your hotel has, it can be a big undertaking at the beginning.

Investment in technology is needed to create a data standardization plan. Any software solution company should have no problem with letting you try their program for free for a number of months. This takes the risk away from investing in software that may not suit your hotel.  

Using data standardization could mean you treat all your guests the same. This is not the case. Data standardization means the data is in a common format and does not mean you can’t use that information to provide personalized service.

How to Standardize Your Data

1. Carry out an Audit

It is important to first streamline the data you already have. Check that the data is up-to-date and relevant. An audit should be carried out at least yearly. To make data-driven decisions, there is no point in working off inaccurate data.

2. Train Staff

It is important to help staff understand the importance of collecting data. The staff interacting with guests are the best people to collect relevant data to ensure a personalized experience and affect everything from sales to marketing.

Observe your staff to see how they use the system and find out how they record information. For instance, are they putting in information incorrectly simply because there is no accurate option for them?

3. Know your Goal

Focusing on achieving your goals makes it easier to decide the best way to achieve them. For every action, you take, link it to the relevant goal.

4. Invest in Technology

It would be almost impossible to carry out an audit and organize your data without the right technology.

While it may seem like a lot of money to invest and a lot of time to train staff, it will increase efficiency, reduce administration time, make it easier to market to guests, and ultimately increase revenue.

It will also be advantageous to integrate your systems, so all data is in one place and can be easily analyzed.

5. Know your Guests and Use Personalization

Hotels should create individual customer profiles to create a memorable experience.  This includes everything from their name, age range, occupation, what kinds of interests they have, and their communication preference.

The best way to do this is to use first-party data to note their preferences. This is better because the hotel owns the data, and it shows guest behavior and spending.

All data, from first to the third party, should be collected and merged to create an overall view of your guest.

6. Communicate

You should communicate with your guests before arrival, during their stay, and following departure.

Strive to create a seamless communication system that sells to your customers even before they have arrived.

Ask them if they want to book dinner at the restaurant, book a spa treatment, or use other facilities. Let them know what will happen during their stay or how to upgrade to a better package. Make them feel welcomed in anticipation of their arrival.

Ensure all departments across all hotels work together. It is particularly important for sales and marketing to communicate effectively.  The marketing team can market sales offers, sales can help marketers understand who their guests are, what they want, and how best to talk to them.

7. Monitor

It is important when making data-driven decisions to continually monitor the outcomes.

  • Make a list of every metric that you want to monitor and regularly report on the progress. This will identify strengths and weaknesses to improve your service.
  • Data integrity is important to ensure the information is accurate. Use other sources to check if the data you are using is correct.
  • Be transparent about the data you hold on guests. Give your guests access to the data, so they are able to update their details themselves, such as change of address or communication preference. This builds trust between your hotel and your guests and reduces admin for staff.
  • Appoint a team to take responsibility for your data. Different staff will use different systems, so it is important this data is standardized so it can be merged together for effective analysis.
  • If you have a booking engine on a different domain you need to cross-domain track it for an accurate picture.

 

Data standardization will help to streamline your data and save you time and resources in the long term.

It will allow you to collect accurate and relevant data to personalize your guests' experience, resulting in higher customer loyalty, lower customer acquisition costs, and increased revenue.

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