The phrase “in real-time” is one commonly used in the modern world. In the marketing world, live metrics allow both businesses and customers to make better decisions for their needs. Real-time data can give an incredible edge to companies, particularly for the hospitality industry. Here’s a look at just a few of the key benefits of real-time data analytics for the hospitality industry.
1. Improved Inventory Management
Pretty much every entity in hospitality has inventory:
- Restaurants have food
- Hotels have rooms
- Venues have tickets
A common inventory management problem is running out of things you need. Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, waste and shrink from having too much of something. Real-time data analytics allows you to not only understand how much supply you have, but also to see trends in your usage. Accurate inventory can improve ordering and decrease loss, making it possible to fully optimize your inventory costs.
2. Optimized Staffing for Efficient Workforce Management
Labor, like inventory, can pose some challenges that impact the guest experience. A staff shortage means longer wait times and frustrated guests. Being overstaffed means increased overhead and the potential for workplace problems. Looking to previous years and seasons can make for better forecasting and scheduling.
Real-time data allows managers to move the right people to the right shifts and roles – even more efficiently than possible when analyzing past trends. With real-time data, managers have a birds-eye view of staffing across departments and functions, enabling rapid response to unexpected circumstances such as call-offs.
3. Enhanced Guest Experience
Of course, improved staffing and inventory can greatly improve the guest experience. But the benefits of real-time data don’t stop with staffing and inventory management. Data allows you to do many things that impact the overall customer experience, such as:
- Be personal with your guests (knowing details about their visit)
- Have the details guests want readily available when they ask
- Using intel to make suggestions for a better experience
4. More Effective Marketing
Knowing certain indicators (provided by real-time analytics) can prompt tailored marketing to influence the buying decisions of guests looking for a place to stay, eat, or play. The hospitality industry in particular can use the data itself to convince browsers to buy. Using the number of rooms available or how many people are looking at a certain event can be powerful motivators.
Real-time data analytics is also useful for targeting and personalizing offers to a customer’s unique interests, based on their past behaviors, buying indicators, and other factors. For instance, hospitality companies can dynamically optimize pricing packages and deals to put the right offer in front of the right customer at the right time, increasing bookings and boosting revenue.
5. Streamlined Processes
Every process you have in your business can be improved using real-time indicators. We’ve mentioned inventory, staffing, and marketing, but real-time data benefits other processes as well, such as:
- Maintenance: Knowing exactly how much your facilities are being used (and the ways they’re used) helps to better understand maintenance needs.
- New Offerings: Real-time data fuels efforts to create new products, start new activities, enter new markets, and create new offers for your guests to broaden revenue streams.
- Problem Identification: Correction of errors can only occur if you look at data and determine weak spots. Seeing potential problems on the spot makes for faster improvements and a more efficient business.
Two Real-World Uses of Real-Time Analytics
One of the most prominent, yet effective displays of real-time data analytics is available on sites like Travelocity, Trivago, and Priceline. Showing potential guests how many people are looking at a particular hotel and how many rooms are left creates scarcity. While the entire listing is geared to get individuals to book, it’s the red writing that lets viewers know they need to take quick action to secure a room at this rate.
Disney is one of the largest players in the hospitality industry, and the company engages in a variety of practices that serve as examples for other companies. However, one of their best is the use of real-time data. In 2013, Disney World began using “Magic Bands.”
Now, these wristbands perform a range of functions including:
- Room Keys
- Dinner Reservations
- and (perhaps most importantly) GPS Tracking
All of these things provide Disney with a wealth of data (in real-time) allowing them to reap all of the above-mentioned benefits. The company is also using crowd data to better serve guests and hope to (eventually) eliminate lines.
Implementing Real-Time Data Analytics
Getting ready for real-time can be summarized in three steps.
- Evaluate Current Systems: Before you can collect data and build systems to utilize that intel, you’ll need to understand your current processes. This can include how you currently manage inventory, staffing, and marketing data sets.
- Automate Data Collection: Now, you’ll need to procure a solution that will collect all data points necessary as they occur.
- Build Processes: The point of machine-learning and artificially intelligent (AI) programs are to use the data and implement changes in the same “real-time” that the data comes into play.
NGDATA’s AI-Powered Customer Data Platform not only aggregates data in real-time from a variety of data sources, but it also provides real-time, actionable insights into every individual customer – enabling true customer centricity and a personalized, omni-channel experience for every customer. Hospitality businesses that implement NGDATA’s CDP are able to react and optimize in real-time, readily adapting to customer needs and demands to improve performance across every channel.