The ability to leverage data effectively is crucial for maximizing revenue and enhancing guest experiences. It’s such a huge topic that we discussed it over three stages at Unfold 2024, shedding light on the current challenges and opportunities. You’ll also find best practices for transforming raw data into actionable insights. 

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Table of contents

Current trends in the hospitality revenue space

Without further ado, here are some of our favorite revenue insights from Lighthouse, iDeas, Atomize, Zoku and many more:

Ancillary revenue streams

Focus on maximizing ancillary revenue streams to enhance overall profitability. Ancillary spend should not be seen as a separate revenue source but as an integral part of overall revenue strategy. There’s a growing emphasis on driving revenue from ancillary spaces and services, such as coworking memberships, day passes and team retreats, and tailored marketing efforts can target audiences that use multiple facilities within the same venue.

Unused hotel spaces

There is so much empty capacity in hotels, such as restaurants during the day or meeting spaces. More properties are exploring creative approaches to utilize these spaces effectively, such as transforming hotel rooms into coworking spaces or private offices, bookable by the day or hour.

Dynamic pricing and revenue management

Dynamic pricing and revenue management are becoming increasingly important, not just for rooms but also for other revenue streams like food and beverage and meeting spaces. There is a shift towards holistic revenue management that considers all revenue sources and guest behaviors.

Challenges with data

While there’s a push towards data-driven decision-making, there are challenges with data quality and integration, particularly regarding guest information, costs and profitability metrics.

AI and automation

AI and automation are essential tools for optimizing revenue management and strategy. AI can help automate repetitive tasks and provide insights for strategic decision-making, but there is still a need for human intelligence to interpret and implement strategies effectively.

Transition to revenue strategy

There’s a shift towards revenue strategy from revenue management, focusing on developing joint strategies with stakeholders and balancing work across departments to maximize profitability.

What does the future bring?

A good revenue strategy requires a combination of clean data, integrated systems, a data-centric culture and experienced revenue managers. By addressing these areas, hotels can unlock the full potential of their data, driving revenue growth and enhancing the guest experience.

The challenge of data siloes

One of the main obstacles is the fragmented nature of data across various systems. Hoteliers have access to a wealth of information (from booking behaviors to in-stay expenditures), yet this data often lives in different systems, making comprehensive analysis difficult. Claudia Meglin, Director of CMC Hospitality, emphasized the importance of integrating these data points to create a cohesive view of each guest's journey. This integration is essential for identifying valuable insights and making informed decisions.

From data collection to actionable insights

Collecting data is only the first step. The real challenge lies in transforming this data into actionable insights. As Nadine Böttcher, Head of Product at Lighthouse, pointed out: “It's not enough to know how many guests are coming from specific countries; hoteliers need to understand the booking patterns and preferences of these guests to target the most profitable segments effectively.“ 

This requires clean, accurate data – a sentiment echoed by all panelists. The saying "garbage in, garbage out" rings particularly true, as the quality of input data directly impacts the usefulness of the insights derived from it.

Encouraging data-driven decision making

For data to drive meaningful action, it must be ingrained in the organizational culture. Bram van Berkel, CCO at Juyo, highlighted the importance of making data accessible and understandable to all departments within a hotel. This involves not just creating intuitive dashboards but also fostering a culture where data-driven decision-making is the norm. Educating staff on the value of data and encouraging collaboration across departments can lead to more effective use of data and improved operational efficiency.

Leveraging technology for enhanced insights

The Unfold panelists also discussed the role of advanced technologies, such as AI and machine learning, in enhancing data analytics. AI can help in identifying patterns and making predictions that might not be immediately apparent through traditional analysis methods. For instance, Nadine mentioned that Lighthouse runs data correlations through their data science team to determine the potential impact on outcomes before implementing new features. This ensures that only valuable insights are pursued, reducing noise and focusing on what truly matters.

Customization and flexibility

Different types of hotels have unique data needs. Whether it's a business hotel, a resort, or a city hotel, the type of analytics required can vary significantly. Customizable solutions allow hotels to tailor their analytics to their specific requirements. This flexibility ensures that the data being analyzed is relevant and actionable, leading to more informed decisions and higher revenue.

Looking ahead

Our panelists agreed that the future of data in hospitality lies in deeper integration and smarter insights. The goal is to move beyond simply collecting and visualizing data to extracting meaningful value from it. This involves not only adopting new technologies but also refining existing processes to ensure that data is clean, relevant and actionable. As AI continues to evolve, its role in automating and enhancing data analysis will become increasingly significant, enabling hotels to deliver more personalized and efficient services to their guests.

To catch up on other sessions – and every other speaker from the main stage – check out Unfold 2024 Unpacked. Enjoy the highlights from hospitality tech’s most innovative event, including main stage messages, workshop wisdom and a photo roundup capturing the excitement.