by
Rich Siegel
1.19.2024

Siegel Sez-1/19/24

Siegel Sez-1/19/24

Definitely Doug 1/19/24: A Deep Dive into Data

CORPORATE NEWS

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

REVENUE MANAGEMENT & ANALYTICS

GUEST FACING TECHNOLOGY

MARKETING

BACK OFFICE

FOOD & BEVERAGE

PAYMENT PROCESSING

HUMAN RESOURCES

SECURITY

HOSPITALITY EVENTS AND ASSOCIATION NEWS

RESERVATIONS & DISTRIBUTION

PIQUED OUR INTEREST

I often think back to when I started my hotel career a million years ago and how clueless we were on rates. What we were charging, what others were charging and how we should be selling our rooms. Someone at the property would be in charge and all they were doing was making educated guesses. Then again, these were the days when many hotels didn’t even have computer systems for their front desk. Revenue Management? Third-party data? Who would have guessed back then where we would be today. In his Definitely Doug column that follows, Doug Rice has done a great job sharing how third-party data impacts hotel profitability. An absolute must read, it’s amazing how things like potential weather conditions, destination searches, air travel and many other things can affect a hotel’s success.

I hope everybody has seen the video our Liz Vogan created, sharing the destination for this year’s Executive Vendor Summit. Who knows, I might have a new favorite hotel in Denver. If you would like to see the video, then click here. There is nothing wrong with being happy when you travel, right? This is our 19th EVS, and who would have thought that bringing executives from the vendor community together would become so popular? Now we are getting more and more hotel tech leaders asking to attend. I guess this is a good problem to have. If you have an interest in joining us at our summit, please drop a note to kim@hospitalityupgrade.com and she will give you the details on how to get an invite. Looks like we will have an even stronger international presence this year, it’s always great to hear what’s happening in other parts of the world. March 26-28 at a very unique hotel. Watch the video! Hospitality Upgrade must also thank Allan Nelson of For-Sight over in Scotland who shares his past experience with EVS and why he is coming back. To watch Allan’s video, click here.

January is always an interesting month. I will say it’s been a long time since I’ve heard the optimism that I’m hearing so far this year. Should make for a wild ride throughout the year for the tech world. Just so you know, once again I wrote this opening, not you-know-who (or what). Here now is Definitely Doug and the latest technology news. I will see you at the end with this week’s you-know-what. Here is to a great 2024!

Rich

rich@hospitalityupgrade.com

‍The sale and delivery of groups and meetings is perhaps the most significant and under-automated functions for many hotels. Even though groups often account for 30% to 60% of revenue, most group bookings are still handled manually for most if not all of steps, as they move from a meeting planner’s research to a confirmed booking.

Hotels, and indeed most of the travel and tourism industry, operate in an ever-changing and complex environment. While most other businesses deal primarily with local clients, hotels’ customers come from many different, usually distant markets, each of which can have its own economic factors, preference trends, and even distribution infrastructure. Travel is the one industry where severe weather on one side of the country can have an immediate and big impact on business thousands of miles away.

This week I will explore the many types of external data that hotels use. By external, I mean data that is not produced from their own systems, but rather that is acquired from third-party sources. These data sources can shed light on external factors that can affect a hotel’s performance. Some of the sources mentioned below may be ingested (or ingestible) into your business intelligence (BI) or revenue management (RM) system. Indeed, several providers of BI and RM systems offer one or more of these data sources as an optional or included add-on to their own products.

My objective is to provide a general-management level overview of all the different types of third-party data that might be useful to your hotel(s). You are probably already using some of them, and others may not be very useful because of the location or characteristics of your hotel(s). But there are probably a few that are both new to you and potentially useful. These data sources are not hard to find if you are looking, but are you? Are there new ones might want to consider? I will try to outline how hotels are using each type of data to help you assess this. I will also identify some of the key vendors offering each type.

Because of the large number of third-party data providers, it was impractical for me to interview them all. Most of what is presented here was gathered from website research and in some cases from prior knowledge. Website claims can of course be vague and sometimes misleading, and your specific needs will be unique. So please view my list as a starting point for vendor identification, not a guarantee that any given company will meet your requirements, nor that I have necessarily listed every company offering a particular type of data. Where possible, I have provided deep links to pages that describe the product in question in more detail.

While I believe that every company mentioned below produces data itself, they (and others I have not listed) may also remarket data obtained from partners. These data partnerships can often be opaque or even confidential. If a company not listed here offers a particular type of data, it is worth asking about the data provenance (or you can sometimes test it by comparing details to other sources). In many cases the data may be available at lower cost if you get it from the original producer rather than through a partner. However, integration with systems you already have may make the data more usable, so if your BI or RM or property management system provider can get you the same data, it may be worth doing it that way even if the cost is a bit higher.

This article may be useful to hotels, but also to some vendors who sell to hotels; they may want to explore whether some of these data sources could be incorporated into existing products to improve their value to your hotel customers.  

Basic Competitive Performance

Perhaps the best-known third-party source for competitive performance data, and one of the first data products to be sold to hotels, is STR’s STARreport, which compares a hotel’s recent historical occupancy, average daily rate (ADR), and Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR) to those of its defined competitive set (often called a compset). Because this data ties precisely to the hotel’s actual occupancy, ADR, and RevPAR, many hotel groups use it to measure the performance of general managers and other key executives.

While useful, historical data is not as actionable as forward-looking data; by the time you receive it, it is too late to do anything to improve those numbers. You can only adjust strategies going forward.

Other companies offer products that deliver competitive data from various forward-looking sources, primarily advance bookings. These can benchmark your sales and distribution efforts in much closer to real time, allowing you to see (for example) what share of future bookings you are getting vs. your compset. These allow you to react with pricing changes or promotions that can help rectify potential underperformance before it happens.

Several companies offer products with varying mixes of backward- and forward-looking competitive performance metrics on occupancy, ADR, and RevPAR, including Amadeus, Hotstats, Kalibri Labs, Lighthouse (formerly OTA Insight), and STR. A critical consideration is that while the backward-looking data sets generally do (or can) cover the hotel’s entire occupancy mix, the forward-looking ones are generally limited to select booking channels. In evaluating these, it is important to understand how the market coverage of different channels (brand website/mobile app, hotel direct, Online Travel Agencies/OTAs, Global Distribution Systems/GDSs, groups, wholesalers, etc.) compares to your own hotel’s, and how the differences will impact the usefulness of the resulting numbers.

Market Demand

Many external data providers offer information to help hotels assess market demand. There is usually no competitive benchmarking here; rather, they monitor factors that future business for a market (such as a metropolitan area) as a whole. Some of these provide very short-term signals, others can be used a year or more in advance. The objective is to incorporate the information as early as possible, adjusting rates up when high demand is indicated and down in weaker periods. Not surprisingly, many RM systems ingest some of this data to help with optimization of rates and booking controls.

Some of the main categories of market demand data used by hotels include:

  • Future booking volume for relevant markets (often geographic, but sometimes based on other segmentation). Amadeus, HBenchmark, Lighthouse, and Travelport all offer products covering future bookings for various markets and segments.

  • Future events in local markets. These can include sporting events, concerts, festivals, conventions, and specialty events such as air shows or bike rallies. While most hotels already track the larger events in their market, those in big metropolitan markets can benefit from a data provider that keeps the list up to date. There is a constant flow of new events, cancellations, postponements, and factors like whether local sports teams are likely to make it into playoff rounds can lead to “potential” events that are not yet confirmed. Being the first in your competitive market to know that a major event has been scheduled or rescheduled gives you a jump start on adjusting your rates before your competition. Data providers that track future events include HBenchmark, Hotellistat, Lighthouse, and PredictHQ.

  • Destination searches. Particularly for leisure destinations, you can get a lot of advance warning of shifts in demand by monitoring the number of consumer web searches made for a destination, both in absolute terms and relative to other destinations. You can get this information directly (at least for Google searches) from Google Analytics, but Amadeus, Lighthouse, and RateGain’s Adara World Holiday Report offer data that goes much deeper into different areas.

  • Alternative accommodation demand. Short-term or vacation rental data is available from AirDNA, Amadeus, and Lighthouse. Since these options compete directly with hotels for many travelers (especially in leisure markets), understanding their trends and how they compare to those for traditional hotels can provide important insights.

  • Other destination demand metrics. The Hotels Network provides detailed insight around travel demand and visitor behavior for destinations from analysis of booking data from thousands of hotels. HQ revenue (formerly HQ Plus) also provides area and city demand data, as does Inntopia’s DestiMetrics product, which also monitors key economic indicators, pacing, and rate trends. HBenchmark measures future bookings and cancellation rates by factors such as channel, market, and nationality. Arrivalist provides destination data that shows where visitors come from, when they arrive, and how long they stay, which can help you focus on the most promising markets.

  • Weather data. There are numerous sources for weather data depending on your need and location, and some revenue management and analytics systems already tap into them. Hotels that have a high dependence on weather, such as beach and ski resorts, can use historical weather data in analytics to understand how local weather affects demand, and then use weather forecasts to fine-tune pricing or staffing levels. Airport hotels can also use short-term weather forecasts to get early warning of potential travel disruptions that may result in high demand.  Common weather data providers include the AccuWeather, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, the U.S. National Weather Service, The Weather Channel, and Weather Underground. All of these cover the U.S. and some cover certain other countries as well, but each country and world region have other providers that may have more complete regional offerings.

  • Air travel data. Amadeus provides data on air schedules, air searches, air bookings, and air traffic. Particularly for isolated destinations such as islands, these metrics can provide valuable insights into future hotel demand over various time windows, including short or long-term shifts in geographic and market mix. ForwardKeys and Travelport also provide air booking data.

Market Rate Intelligence

Many hotels subscribe to services that provide competitive rate data. This is one of the earliest data products in the market, first introduced 30 years ago by the predecessor company to TravelClick (now part of Amadeus). The better services provide day-by-day coverage for multiple rates (not just the Best Available Rate or BAR), open/close status, stay restrictions, and geographic and channel variations. Today Amadeus is joined by D-EDGE, eRevMax, Fornova, Hotel Cloud, Hotel Price Reporter, HotelNetSolutions, Hotelsoft, HQ Revenue, Lighthouse, Next Gen Opti, Paraty Hotel, RateGain, and SiteMinder.

Rate parity metrics are a variation on this; they are sometimes combined into the same product. These provides real-time monitoring of external channels (including but not limited to OTAs) to identify situations where pricing is different from the hotel’s own pricing in unexpected ways. Some of these products also provide website widgets to show shoppers comparative prices across channels, to provide assurance that they will get the best rates. Hotels that offer guarantees that the best rate can be obtained by booking direct can make good use of this data to find rate discrepancies before customers do. Companies offering rate parity intelligence include Cendyn, D-EDGE, The Hotels Network, Hotel Price Reporter, HQ revenue, Lighthouse, RateGain, and SiteMinder.

Market Dynamics

Beyond forecasting demand, various data sources can help hotel marketers better understand their customer profile and how it changes seasonally or over time. These include:

  • Source markets for your destination (Amadeus, Lighthouse) can help with market positioning, special promotions, packages, and other programs.
  • Point of interest visitation data (Arrivalist) can help identify the need for local attraction and activity partners or for specialized packages.
  • Market rate category and channel trends (Kalibri Labs) can provide visibility into market shifts that may require the hotel to introduce new rates, reposition existing ones, or modify channel strategy.
  • Direct booking metrics (The Hotels Network, Kalibri Labs) enable hotels to understand how their own book-direct programs compare to the market or the competition.
  • Travel agency and corporate performance metrics (Kalibri Labs) enable your sales managers to understand which agencies should be top producing accounts and how your performance aligns with potential.
  • Dynamic compset identification (Lighthouse) can help ensure that you are using the right competitive set – the ones your customers see as competitive. Market dynamics are constantly changing and the compset you have been using for many years may be out of date.
  • Competitor participation in OTA promotions (Fornova) can, in conjunction with competitive performance data, help assess whether your hotel needs to add (or can drop) participation in specific promotions.

Other Performance Metrics

Moving beyond the common metrics of occupancy, ADR, and RevPAR, several companies offer insights into other comparative performance measures that are of interest to various constituencies within the hotel community.

  • Key Performance Indicator (KPI) comparison (Hotstats claims to benchmark more than 500 KPI
  • Competitive visibility in channels (Fornova)
  • Competitive wage rates (Actabl)

Sales Targeting Data

A few providers offer data that is useful for sales targeting.

  • Historical data on conferences, conventions, meetings, and events can help identify potential bookers of future meeting space for hotel and venue sales staff. (Knowland)

Conclusion

I would never recommend acquiring data just because it exists or even because it appears potentially useful. To derive business value, you will need to embed the data into your daily, weekly, and monthly business processes, and correlate it with internal and other market performance measures.

This requires careful thinking, an understanding of limitations in the data, and integration into dashboards, reports, and analytics tools that management will actually use. If you cannot answer the question of what tools you will integrate the data into, who will be reviewing results or alerts (and when and how), what decisions you will make based on it, and how those decisions will affect performance and profitability, then do your homework first.

Limitations often center around the way data is measured (is it consistent with your own hotel’s practices?) as well as how well it can compare your own business to others. Particularly for competitive comparisons, the hotels in your compset for one purpose (say, future bookings) might be quite different from those for another purpose (such as for profitability, where factors like restaurants, parking, mortgage rates, or even a unionized workforce can be important factors). You will not be able to eliminate limitations, but you may be able to minimize them by filtering the source data or compset definition, and you can ensure that those who are using the data understand why and when it might not measure exactly what you want.

As for integrating the data, the most common approach is to use business intelligence and revenue management tools to pull data from disparate sources, both internal and external, to massage it where needed, and to provide analytical capabilities, dashboards, recommendations, and reports to give hotel managers better insight into their performance and opportunities for improvement.

But there can be value in integrating data with other systems in many cases as well. If you are about to acquire external data (or are considering doing so), ask how each potential user (including both staff and customers using self-service) would use it; this may uncover the need or for additional integrations to more fully leverage the purchase. For example, if you are considering buying competitive rates, find out whether your reservation call center might be able to use it to help address rate-match requests, whether your revenue management system could use it, and whether your web booking needs to show competitive hotel rates to help close sales.

Having the right data enables better decision making and a more profitable business. But there are as many answers to the question of “which data should I buy” as there are hotels. The important question is what will work for your hotel and for your staff.

IBS Software Acquires APS® for $90 Million as It Targets Major Growth in Hospitality Sector

IBS Software, a leading SaaS solutions provider to the travel industry globally, has reached an agreement to acquire the ground-breaking hotel and travel technology provider Above Property Services (APS®). The $90 million transaction will further solidify IBS Software’s position in the hospitality market and strengthen the brand, to underpin an ambitious expansion of its reach in the hospitality industry.www.aboveproperty.com

Built In Honors IDeaS in Two 2024 Best Places to Work Awards

IDeaS, a SAS company, the world’s leading provider of hotel revenue management software and services, announced today recognition in Built In’s 2024 Best Places to Work. The company earned two awards: U.S. Best Places to Work and U.S. Best Midsize Places to Work. The annual awards program includes companies of all sizes, from startups to those in the enterprise tier, and honors remote-first employers and companies in large tech markets across the U.S. ideas.com

Jonas Chorum Welcomes Adam Wilson as New General Manager
Jonas Chorum is excited to announce that we have hired Adam Wilson as General Manager to oversee our business operations and enhance our customer-centric focus to software development.
jonashospitality.com

Dominique Williams Named Director of Operations at VENZA
VENZA, a leading provider of data protection and regulatory compliance solutions for the hospitality industry, announced that it has named Dominique Williams as Director of Operations. In this role, he will lead outstanding Customer Success, Security, and Risk/Compliance teams to deliver exceptional programs to VENZA’s clients.
www.VENZAgroup.com

VENZA Hires Tim Kinsella as Chief Revenue Officer
VENZA, a leading provider of data protection and regulatory compliance solutions for the hospitality industry, announced that it has hired Tim Kinsella as Chief Revenue Officer. In this role, he leads VENZA’s sales planning and execution in support of the company’s overall strategic blueprint for global growth, as well as spearheading the company’s related marketing efforts.
www.VENZAgroup.com

IDeaS Enhances Client Experience through Tailored Learning Pathways and Expanded Training Opportunities
IDeaS, a SAS company, the world’s leading provider of hospitality revenue management software and services, redoubles its commitment to providing a top-tier client experience with new enhancements to the IDeaS learning journey. This effort includes the implementation of live chat support, monthly live learning events, quarterly panels, and on-demand tailored virtual training sessions.
ideas.com

W Barcelona Boosts F&B Guest Spend by 60% With IRIS' Mobile Ordering
The 5-star Barcelona hotel increases guest spend by two-thirds since upgrading and streamlining its mobile ordering capabilities with IRIS' hospitality app.
www.iris.net

Newly Opened Mondrian Cannes Partners with InnSpire to Offer Guests Unmatched In-room TV and Entertainment Solutions
InnSpire, a leading provider of innovative hospitality technology solutions that help drive seamless, world-class guest experiences for some of the world’s most iconic hotels and brands, has announced that its advanced IPTV, InnSmart and Proxy Casting guestroom entertainment solutions have been implemented at the newly renovated historic property that opened as Mondrian Cannes in March 2023.
www.innspire.com

The Ashbrooke Hotel Delivers Ultimate in Guestroom Experience Personalization with GuestCast Streaming Platform
Hotel Internet Services (HIS), a full-service provider of internet services and solutions for the hospitality industry, has been credited with enhancing the quality of in-room entertainment experiences at The Ashbrooke Hotel with the deployment of its GuestCast streaming solution.
www.hotelwifi.com

Sojern Named Finalist in the Hotel Digital Marketing Category in the 2024 HotelTechAwards
Sojern, the leading digital marketing platform built for travel, has been named a finalist in the Best Hotel Digital Marketing Agency category globally by Hotel Tech Report in the 2024 HotelTechAwards.
www.sojern.com

HotelTechReport Names Dailypoint the Number 2 Loyalty Software Provider Worldwide
dailypoint is proud to announce its recent achievement as the second-best Loyalty Program for Independents globally, as recognized by Hotel Tech Report in the prestigious 2024 HotelTechAwards. This accolade reflects the company’s unwavering commitment to excellence in the hotel industry.
www.dailypoint.com

Lodging Interactive's CoMMingle360 Transforms Hotel Social Media into Powerful Wedding Sales Opportunities
Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital marketing, reputation management, and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry since 2001, announced today the next phase of its CoMMingle360 omnichannel marketing service for the hospitality industry.  Commingle360 enables hotels to generate group event revenue opportunities and direct bookings through their social media channels 24/7.
www.lodginginteractive.com

BluHost Taking Hospitality Financial Management Seriously with New Accounting System Upgrade
BluHost is entering 2024 with a new enterprise accounting solution backing its portfolio of select service and ultra-luxury hotels and a mix of fine dining to casual restaurants. José M. Suárez, president and CEO of the Puerto Rico based hospitality management company, selected PVNG by Aptech because of past positive experiences with the company.
www.aptech-inc.com

M3 Named Best Finance and Accounting Software for the 4th Consecutive Year in the 2024 HotelTechAwards
M3’s Accounting Core™ solution has been named 2024’s #1 Finance and Accounting Software by Hotel Tech Report, and M3’s Labor Management™ solution has been named 2024’s #2 Scheduling and Labor Management Software.
www.m3as.com

Grand Casino Hotel Resort Elevates Operations, Enhances Guest Experience and Streamlines Infrastructure with Agilysys Solutions
With more than 1,000 casinos to choose from across the United States, Grand Casino Hotel Resort, part of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation located in idyllic Shawnee, Oklahoma, decided to invest in state-of-the-art hospitality-focused technology from Agilysys (NASDAQ: AGYS) to attract a greater share of adults planning casino visits and keep them coming back for more.
www.agilysys.com

Sertifi Ranks #1 on Hotel Tech Report’s 2024 Top Hotel Payment Processing Software List
Sertifi, developers of a complete agreements platform used by over 18,500 hospitality, event, and travel companies, is excited to announce they have ranked #1 on Hotel Tech Report’s Global Best Payment Processing Software list in the 2024 HotelTechAwards.
corp.sertifi.com

Complimentary Registration Now Open for Doug Kennedy's Next Training Webcast: Contemporary Approaches for Upselling at Check-In
Register your team for Doug's next 40-minute training webcast on January 22.
www.kennedytrainingnetwork.com

VENZA Continues to Seek and Value Client Input with 2023 Town Hall Meetings
VENZA, a leading provider of data protection and regulatory compliance solutions for the hospitality industry, today announced that it has completed its 2023 Town Hall Meetings Initiative. The collaborative venture, which brings together key stakeholders throughout the company’s community, is an extension of VENZA’s ongoing process of improving its programs and products by soliciting and incorporating client input.
www.VENZAgroup.com

Registration and Hotel Reservations Are Now Open for HITEC 2024
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), producers of the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®), has announced that attendee registration for this year’s North American event is now open alongside hotel reservations via HITEC’s official housing service.
www.hftp.org

HSMAI Foundation and Women in Travel THRIVE Release Research on the Power of Mentorship
The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Foundation, in partnership with Women in Travel THRIVE, is proud to announce the release of a pivotal research paper titled "The Power of Mentorship."
www.hsmaifoundation.org

HFTP Announces 2024 HITEC Dubai Advisory Council
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), producers of the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®), is pleased to announce the industry experts that global exhibition powerhouse dmg events has put together to serve on the advisory council for HITEC Dubai 2024. Co-located with The Hotel Show Dubai, the event will be held 4-6 June 2024 at the Dubai World Trade Centre in Dubai, UAE.
www.hftp.org

Amadeus Brings Travel Technology Expertise to Membership in The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance

Amadeus has joined the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance to bring its travel expertise to the table in the quest to support a more prosperous and responsible hospitality sector. www.amadeus.com

Cendyn Named #1 CRS Provider in the 2024 HotelTechAwards for 7th Consecutive Year

Cendyn, a catalyst for digital transformation in the hospitality industry, has secured the top award for “Best Hotel Reservations System” (CRS) at the 2024 Hotel Tech Awards. The win marks Cendyn’s seventh consecutive victory in this important category where the honor has been awarded every year since 2018. www.cendyn.com

Amadeus’ Media Solution for DMOs Now Available in the Americas

Amadeus’ own digital advertising platform & services, unique to the travel industry, have launched in the Americas, building on proven success in the EMEA region. www.amadeus.com

I often think back to when I started my hotel career a million years ago and how clueless we were on rates. What we were charging, what others were charging and how we should be selling our rooms. Someone at the property would be in charge and all they were doing was making educated guesses. Then again, these were the days when many hotels didn’t even have computer systems for their front desk. Revenue Management? Third-party data? Who would have guessed back then where we would be today. In his Definitely Doug column that follows, Doug Rice has done a great job sharing how third-party data impacts hotel profitability. An absolute must read, it’s amazing how things like potential weather conditions, destination searches, air travel and many other things can affect a hotel’s success.

I hope everybody has seen the video our Liz Vogan created, sharing the destination for this year’s Executive Vendor Summit. Who knows, I might have a new favorite hotel in Denver. If you would like to see the video, then click here. There is nothing wrong with being happy when you travel, right? This is our 19th EVS, and who would have thought that bringing executives from the vendor community together would become so popular? Now we are getting more and more hotel tech leaders asking to attend. I guess this is a good problem to have. If you have an interest in joining us at our summit, please drop a note to kim@hospitalityupgrade.com and she will give you the details on how to get an invite. Looks like we will have an even stronger international presence this year, it’s always great to hear what’s happening in other parts of the world. March 26-28 at a very unique hotel. Watch the video! Hospitality Upgrade must also thank Allan Nelson of For-Sight over in Scotland who shares his past experience with EVS and why he is coming back. To watch Allan’s video, click here.

January is always an interesting month. I will say it’s been a long time since I’ve heard the optimism that I’m hearing so far this year. Should make for a wild ride throughout the year for the tech world. Just so you know, once again I wrote this opening, not you-know-who (or what). Here now is Definitely Doug and the latest technology news. I will see you at the end with this week’s you-know-what. Here is to a great 2024!

Rich

rich@hospitalityupgrade.com

Definitely Doug 1/19/24: A Deep Dive into Data

Hotels, and indeed most of the travel and tourism industry, operate in an ever-changing and complex environment. While most other businesses deal primarily with local clients, hotels’ customers come from many different, usually distant markets, each of which can have its own economic factors, preference trends, and even distribution infrastructure. Travel is the one industry where severe weather on one side of the country can have an immediate and big impact on business thousands of miles away.

This week I will explore the many types of external data that hotels use. By external, I mean data that is not produced from their own systems, but rather that is acquired from third-party sources. These data sources can shed light on external factors that can affect a hotel’s performance. Some of the sources mentioned below may be ingested (or ingestible) into your business intelligence (BI) or revenue management (RM) system. Indeed, several providers of BI and RM systems offer one or more of these data sources as an optional or included add-on to their own products.

My objective is to provide a general-management level overview of all the different types of third-party data that might be useful to your hotel(s). You are probably already using some of them, and others may not be very useful because of the location or characteristics of your hotel(s). But there are probably a few that are both new to you and potentially useful. These data sources are not hard to find if you are looking, but are you? Are there new ones might want to consider? I will try to outline how hotels are using each type of data to help you assess this. I will also identify some of the key vendors offering each type.

Because of the large number of third-party data providers, it was impractical for me to interview them all. Most of what is presented here was gathered from website research and in some cases from prior knowledge. Website claims can of course be vague and sometimes misleading, and your specific needs will be unique. So please view my list as a starting point for vendor identification, not a guarantee that any given company will meet your requirements, nor that I have necessarily listed every company offering a particular type of data. Where possible, I have provided deep links to pages that describe the product in question in more detail.

While I believe that every company mentioned below produces data itself, they (and others I have not listed) may also remarket data obtained from partners. These data partnerships can often be opaque or even confidential. If a company not listed here offers a particular type of data, it is worth asking about the data provenance (or you can sometimes test it by comparing details to other sources). In many cases the data may be available at lower cost if you get it from the original producer rather than through a partner. However, integration with systems you already have may make the data more usable, so if your BI or RM or property management system provider can get you the same data, it may be worth doing it that way even if the cost is a bit higher.

This article may be useful to hotels, but also to some vendors who sell to hotels; they may want to explore whether some of these data sources could be incorporated into existing products to improve their value to your hotel customers.

Hotels, and indeed most of the travel and tourism industry, operate in an ever-changing and complex environment. While most other businesses deal primarily with local clients, hotels’ customers come from many different, usually distant markets, each of which can have its own economic factors, preference trends, and even distribution infrastructure. Travel is the one industry where severe weather on one side of the country can have an immediate and big impact on business thousands of miles away.

This week I will explore the many types of external data that hotels use. By external, I mean data that is not produced from their own systems, but rather that is acquired from third-party sources. These data sources can shed light on external factors that can affect a hotel’s performance. Some of the sources mentioned below may be ingested (or ingestible) into your business intelligence (BI) or revenue management (RM) system. Indeed, several providers of BI and RM systems offer one or more of these data sources as an optional or included add-on to their own products.

My objective is to provide a general-management level overview of all the different types of third-party data that might be useful to your hotel(s). You are probably already using some of them, and others may not be very useful because of the location or characteristics of your hotel(s). But there are probably a few that are both new to you and potentially useful. These data sources are not hard to find if you are looking, but are you? Are there new ones might want to consider? I will try to outline how hotels are using each type of data to help you assess this. I will also identify some of the key vendors offering each type.

Because of the large number of third-party data providers, it was impractical for me to interview them all. Most of what is presented here was gathered from website research and in some cases from prior knowledge. Website claims can of course be vague and sometimes misleading, and your specific needs will be unique. So please view my list as a starting point for vendor identification, not a guarantee that any given company will meet your requirements, nor that I have necessarily listed every company offering a particular type of data. Where possible, I have provided deep links to pages that describe the product in question in more detail.

While I believe that every company mentioned below produces data itself, they (and others I have not listed) may also remarket data obtained from partners. These data partnerships can often be opaque or even confidential. If a company not listed here offers a particular type of data, it is worth asking about the data provenance (or you can sometimes test it by comparing details to other sources). In many cases the data may be available at lower cost if you get it from the original producer rather than through a partner. However, integration with systems you already have may make the data more usable, so if your BI or RM or property management system provider can get you the same data, it may be worth doing it that way even if the cost is a bit higher.

This article may be useful to hotels, but also to some vendors who sell to hotels; they may want to explore whether some of these data sources could be incorporated into existing products to improve their value to your hotel customers.  

Basic Competitive Performance

Perhaps the best-known third-party source for competitive performance data, and one of the first data products to be sold to hotels, is STR’s STARreport, which compares a hotel’s recent historical occupancy, average daily rate (ADR), and Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR) to those of its defined competitive set (often called a compset). Because this data ties precisely to the hotel’s actual occupancy, ADR, and RevPAR, many hotel groups use it to measure the performance of general managers and other key executives.

While useful, historical data is not as actionable as forward-looking data; by the time you receive it, it is too late to do anything to improve those numbers. You can only adjust strategies going forward.

Other companies offer products that deliver competitive data from various forward-looking sources, primarily advance bookings. These can benchmark your sales and distribution efforts in much closer to real time, allowing you to see (for example) what share of future bookings you are getting vs. your compset. These allow you to react with pricing changes or promotions that can help rectify potential underperformance before it happens.

Several companies offer products with varying mixes of backward- and forward-looking competitive performance metrics on occupancy, ADR, and RevPAR, including Amadeus, Hotstats, Kalibri Labs, Lighthouse (formerly OTA Insight), and STR. A critical consideration is that while the backward-looking data sets generally do (or can) cover the hotel’s entire occupancy mix, the forward-looking ones are generally limited to select booking channels. In evaluating these, it is important to understand how the market coverage of different channels (brand website/mobile app, hotel direct, Online Travel Agencies/OTAs, Global Distribution Systems/GDSs, groups, wholesalers, etc.) compares to your own hotel’s, and how the differences will impact the usefulness of the resulting numbers.

Market Demand

Many external data providers offer information to help hotels assess market demand. There is usually no competitive benchmarking here; rather, they monitor factors that future business for a market (such as a metropolitan area) as a whole. Some of these provide very short-term signals, others can be used a year or more in advance. The objective is to incorporate the information as early as possible, adjusting rates up when high demand is indicated and down in weaker periods. Not surprisingly, many RM systems ingest some of this data to help with optimization of rates and booking controls.

Some of the main categories of market demand data used by hotels include:

  • Future booking volume for relevant markets (often geographic, but sometimes based on other segmentation). Amadeus, HBenchmark, Lighthouse, and Travelport all offer products covering future bookings for various markets and segments.

  • Future events in local markets. These can include sporting events, concerts, festivals, conventions, and specialty events such as air shows or bike rallies. While most hotels already track the larger events in their market, those in big metropolitan markets can benefit from a data provider that keeps the list up to date. There is a constant flow of new events, cancellations, postponements, and factors like whether local sports teams are likely to make it into playoff rounds can lead to “potential” events that are not yet confirmed. Being the first in your competitive market to know that a major event has been scheduled or rescheduled gives you a jump start on adjusting your rates before your competition. Data providers that track future events include HBenchmark, Hotellistat, Lighthouse, and PredictHQ.

  • Destination searches. Particularly for leisure destinations, you can get a lot of advance warning of shifts in demand by monitoring the number of consumer web searches made for a destination, both in absolute terms and relative to other destinations. You can get this information directly (at least for Google searches) from Google Analytics, but Amadeus, Lighthouse, and RateGain’s Adara World Holiday Report offer data that goes much deeper into different areas.

  • Alternative accommodation demand. Short-term or vacation rental data is available from AirDNA, Amadeus, and Lighthouse. Since these options compete directly with hotels for many travelers (especially in leisure markets), understanding their trends and how they compare to those for traditional hotels can provide important insights.

  • Other destination demand metrics. The Hotels Network provides detailed insight around travel demand and visitor behavior for destinations from analysis of booking data from thousands of hotels. HQ revenue (formerly HQ Plus) also provides area and city demand data, as does Inntopia’s DestiMetrics product, which also monitors key economic indicators, pacing, and rate trends. HBenchmark measures future bookings and cancellation rates by factors such as channel, market, and nationality. Arrivalist provides destination data that shows where visitors come from, when they arrive, and how long they stay, which can help you focus on the most promising markets.

  • Weather data. There are numerous sources for weather data depending on your need and location, and some revenue management and analytics systems already tap into them. Hotels that have a high dependence on weather, such as beach and ski resorts, can use historical weather data in analytics to understand how local weather affects demand, and then use weather forecasts to fine-tune pricing or staffing levels. Airport hotels can also use short-term weather forecasts to get early warning of potential travel disruptions that may result in high demand.  Common weather data providers include the AccuWeather, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, the U.S. National Weather Service, The Weather Channel, and Weather Underground. All of these cover the U.S. and some cover certain other countries as well, but each country and world region have other providers that may have more complete regional offerings.

  • Air travel data. Amadeus provides data on air schedules, air searches, air bookings, and air traffic. Particularly for isolated destinations such as islands, these metrics can provide valuable insights into future hotel demand over various time windows, including short or long-term shifts in geographic and market mix. ForwardKeys and Travelport also provide air booking data.

Market Rate Intelligence

Many hotels subscribe to services that provide competitive rate data. This is one of the earliest data products in the market, first introduced 30 years ago by the predecessor company to TravelClick (now part of Amadeus). The better services provide day-by-day coverage for multiple rates (not just the Best Available Rate or BAR), open/close status, stay restrictions, and geographic and channel variations. Today Amadeus is joined by D-EDGE, eRevMax, Fornova, Hotel Cloud, Hotel Price Reporter, HotelNetSolutions, Hotelsoft, HQ Revenue, Lighthouse, Next Gen Opti, Paraty Hotel, RateGain, and SiteMinder.

Rate parity metrics are a variation on this; they are sometimes combined into the same product. These provides real-time monitoring of external channels (including but not limited to OTAs) to identify situations where pricing is different from the hotel’s own pricing in unexpected ways. Some of these products also provide website widgets to show shoppers comparative prices across channels, to provide assurance that they will get the best rates. Hotels that offer guarantees that the best rate can be obtained by booking direct can make good use of this data to find rate discrepancies before customers do. Companies offering rate parity intelligence include Cendyn, D-EDGE, The Hotels Network, Hotel Price Reporter, HQ revenue, Lighthouse, RateGain, and SiteMinder.

Market Dynamics

Beyond forecasting demand, various data sources can help hotel marketers better understand their customer profile and how it changes seasonally or over time. These include:

  • Source markets for your destination (Amadeus, Lighthouse) can help with market positioning, special promotions, packages, and other programs.
  • Point of interest visitation data (Arrivalist) can help identify the need for local attraction and activity partners or for specialized packages.
  • Market rate category and channel trends (Kalibri Labs) can provide visibility into market shifts that may require the hotel to introduce new rates, reposition existing ones, or modify channel strategy.
  • Direct booking metrics (The Hotels Network, Kalibri Labs) enable hotels to understand how their own book-direct programs compare to the market or the competition.
  • Travel agency and corporate performance metrics (Kalibri Labs) enable your sales managers to understand which agencies should be top producing accounts and how your performance aligns with potential.
  • Dynamic compset identification (Lighthouse) can help ensure that you are using the right competitive set – the ones your customers see as competitive. Market dynamics are constantly changing and the compset you have been using for many years may be out of date.
  • Competitor participation in OTA promotions (Fornova) can, in conjunction with competitive performance data, help assess whether your hotel needs to add (or can drop) participation in specific promotions.

Other Performance Metrics

Moving beyond the common metrics of occupancy, ADR, and RevPAR, several companies offer insights into other comparative performance measures that are of interest to various constituencies within the hotel community.

  • Key Performance Indicator (KPI) comparison (Hotstats claims to benchmark more than 500 KPI
  • Competitive visibility in channels (Fornova)
  • Competitive wage rates (Actabl)

Sales Targeting Data

A few providers offer data that is useful for sales targeting.

  • Historical data on conferences, conventions, meetings, and events can help identify potential bookers of future meeting space for hotel and venue sales staff. (Knowland)

Conclusion

I would never recommend acquiring data just because it exists or even because it appears potentially useful. To derive business value, you will need to embed the data into your daily, weekly, and monthly business processes, and correlate it with internal and other market performance measures.

This requires careful thinking, an understanding of limitations in the data, and integration into dashboards, reports, and analytics tools that management will actually use. If you cannot answer the question of what tools you will integrate the data into, who will be reviewing results or alerts (and when and how), what decisions you will make based on it, and how those decisions will affect performance and profitability, then do your homework first.

Limitations often center around the way data is measured (is it consistent with your own hotel’s practices?) as well as how well it can compare your own business to others. Particularly for competitive comparisons, the hotels in your compset for one purpose (say, future bookings) might be quite different from those for another purpose (such as for profitability, where factors like restaurants, parking, mortgage rates, or even a unionized workforce can be important factors). You will not be able to eliminate limitations, but you may be able to minimize them by filtering the source data or compset definition, and you can ensure that those who are using the data understand why and when it might not measure exactly what you want.

As for integrating the data, the most common approach is to use business intelligence and revenue management tools to pull data from disparate sources, both internal and external, to massage it where needed, and to provide analytical capabilities, dashboards, recommendations, and reports to give hotel managers better insight into their performance and opportunities for improvement.

But there can be value in integrating data with other systems in many cases as well. If you are about to acquire external data (or are considering doing so), ask how each potential user (including both staff and customers using self-service) would use it; this may uncover the need or for additional integrations to more fully leverage the purchase. For example, if you are considering buying competitive rates, find out whether your reservation call center might be able to use it to help address rate-match requests, whether your revenue management system could use it, and whether your web booking needs to show competitive hotel rates to help close sales.

Having the right data enables better decision making and a more profitable business. But there are as many answers to the question of “which data should I buy” as there are hotels. The important question is what will work for your hotel and for your staff.

CORPORATE NEWS

IBS Software Acquires APS® for $90 Million as It Targets Major Growth in Hospitality Sector

IBS Software, a leading SaaS solutions provider to the travel industry globally, has reached an agreement to acquire the ground-breaking hotel and travel technology provider Above Property Services (APS®). The $90 million transaction will further solidify IBS Software’s position in the hospitality market and strengthen the brand, to underpin an ambitious expansion of its reach in the hospitality industry.www.aboveproperty.com

Built In Honors IDeaS in Two 2024 Best Places to Work Awards

IDeaS, a SAS company, the world’s leading provider of hotel revenue management software and services, announced today recognition in Built In’s 2024 Best Places to Work. The company earned two awards: U.S. Best Places to Work and U.S. Best Midsize Places to Work. The annual awards program includes companies of all sizes, from startups to those in the enterprise tier, and honors remote-first employers and companies in large tech markets across the U.S. ideas.com

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

Jonas Chorum Welcomes Adam Wilson as New General Manager
Jonas Chorum is excited to announce that we have hired Adam Wilson as General Manager to oversee our business operations and enhance our customer-centric focus to software development.
jonashospitality.com

Dominique Williams Named Director of Operations at VENZA
VENZA, a leading provider of data protection and regulatory compliance solutions for the hospitality industry, announced that it has named Dominique Williams as Director of Operations. In this role, he will lead outstanding Customer Success, Security, and Risk/Compliance teams to deliver exceptional programs to VENZA’s clients.
www.VENZAgroup.com

VENZA Hires Tim Kinsella as Chief Revenue Officer
VENZA, a leading provider of data protection and regulatory compliance solutions for the hospitality industry, announced that it has hired Tim Kinsella as Chief Revenue Officer. In this role, he leads VENZA’s sales planning and execution in support of the company’s overall strategic blueprint for global growth, as well as spearheading the company’s related marketing efforts.
www.VENZAgroup.com

REVENUE MANAGEMENT & ANALYTICS

IDeaS Enhances Client Experience through Tailored Learning Pathways and Expanded Training Opportunities
IDeaS, a SAS company, the world’s leading provider of hospitality revenue management software and services, redoubles its commitment to providing a top-tier client experience with new enhancements to the IDeaS learning journey. This effort includes the implementation of live chat support, monthly live learning events, quarterly panels, and on-demand tailored virtual training sessions.
ideas.com

GUEST FACING TECHNOLOGY

W Barcelona Boosts F&B Guest Spend by 60% With IRIS' Mobile Ordering
The 5-star Barcelona hotel increases guest spend by two-thirds since upgrading and streamlining its mobile ordering capabilities with IRIS' hospitality app.
www.iris.net

Newly Opened Mondrian Cannes Partners with InnSpire to Offer Guests Unmatched In-room TV and Entertainment Solutions
InnSpire, a leading provider of innovative hospitality technology solutions that help drive seamless, world-class guest experiences for some of the world’s most iconic hotels and brands, has announced that its advanced IPTV, InnSmart and Proxy Casting guestroom entertainment solutions have been implemented at the newly renovated historic property that opened as Mondrian Cannes in March 2023.
www.innspire.com

The Ashbrooke Hotel Delivers Ultimate in Guestroom Experience Personalization with GuestCast Streaming Platform
Hotel Internet Services (HIS), a full-service provider of internet services and solutions for the hospitality industry, has been credited with enhancing the quality of in-room entertainment experiences at The Ashbrooke Hotel with the deployment of its GuestCast streaming solution.
www.hotelwifi.com

MARKETING

Sojern Named Finalist in the Hotel Digital Marketing Category in the 2024 HotelTechAwards
Sojern, the leading digital marketing platform built for travel, has been named a finalist in the Best Hotel Digital Marketing Agency category globally by Hotel Tech Report in the 2024 HotelTechAwards.
www.sojern.com

HotelTechReport Names Dailypoint the Number 2 Loyalty Software Provider Worldwide
dailypoint is proud to announce its recent achievement as the second-best Loyalty Program for Independents globally, as recognized by Hotel Tech Report in the prestigious 2024 HotelTechAwards. This accolade reflects the company’s unwavering commitment to excellence in the hotel industry.
www.dailypoint.com

BACK OFFICE

Lodging Interactive's CoMMingle360 Transforms Hotel Social Media into Powerful Wedding Sales Opportunities
Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital marketing, reputation management, and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry since 2001, announced today the next phase of its CoMMingle360 omnichannel marketing service for the hospitality industry.  Commingle360 enables hotels to generate group event revenue opportunities and direct bookings through their social media channels 24/7.
www.lodginginteractive.com

BluHost Taking Hospitality Financial Management Seriously with New Accounting System Upgrade
BluHost is entering 2024 with a new enterprise accounting solution backing its portfolio of select service and ultra-luxury hotels and a mix of fine dining to casual restaurants. José M. Suárez, president and CEO of the Puerto Rico based hospitality management company, selected PVNG by Aptech because of past positive experiences with the company.
www.aptech-inc.com

M3 Named Best Finance and Accounting Software for the 4th Consecutive Year in the 2024 HotelTechAwards
M3’s Accounting Core™ solution has been named 2024’s #1 Finance and Accounting Software by Hotel Tech Report, and M3’s Labor Management™ solution has been named 2024’s #2 Scheduling and Labor Management Software.
www.m3as.com

FOOD & BEVERAGE

Grand Casino Hotel Resort Elevates Operations, Enhances Guest Experience and Streamlines Infrastructure with Agilysys Solutions
With more than 1,000 casinos to choose from across the United States, Grand Casino Hotel Resort, part of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation located in idyllic Shawnee, Oklahoma, decided to invest in state-of-the-art hospitality-focused technology from Agilysys (NASDAQ: AGYS) to attract a greater share of adults planning casino visits and keep them coming back for more.
www.agilysys.com

PAYMENT PROCESSING

Sertifi Ranks #1 on Hotel Tech Report’s 2024 Top Hotel Payment Processing Software List
Sertifi, developers of a complete agreements platform used by over 18,500 hospitality, event, and travel companies, is excited to announce they have ranked #1 on Hotel Tech Report’s Global Best Payment Processing Software list in the 2024 HotelTechAwards.
corp.sertifi.com

HUMAN RESOURCES

Complimentary Registration Now Open for Doug Kennedy's Next Training Webcast: Contemporary Approaches for Upselling at Check-In
Register your team for Doug's next 40-minute training webcast on January 22.
www.kennedytrainingnetwork.com

SECURITY

VENZA Continues to Seek and Value Client Input with 2023 Town Hall Meetings
VENZA, a leading provider of data protection and regulatory compliance solutions for the hospitality industry, today announced that it has completed its 2023 Town Hall Meetings Initiative. The collaborative venture, which brings together key stakeholders throughout the company’s community, is an extension of VENZA’s ongoing process of improving its programs and products by soliciting and incorporating client input.
www.VENZAgroup.com

HOSPITALITY EVENTS AND ASSOCIATION NEWS

Registration and Hotel Reservations Are Now Open for HITEC 2024
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), producers of the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®), has announced that attendee registration for this year’s North American event is now open alongside hotel reservations via HITEC’s official housing service.
www.hftp.org

HSMAI Foundation and Women in Travel THRIVE Release Research on the Power of Mentorship
The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Foundation, in partnership with Women in Travel THRIVE, is proud to announce the release of a pivotal research paper titled "The Power of Mentorship."
www.hsmaifoundation.org

HFTP Announces 2024 HITEC Dubai Advisory Council
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), producers of the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®), is pleased to announce the industry experts that global exhibition powerhouse dmg events has put together to serve on the advisory council for HITEC Dubai 2024. Co-located with The Hotel Show Dubai, the event will be held 4-6 June 2024 at the Dubai World Trade Centre in Dubai, UAE.
www.hftp.org

RESERVATIONS & DISTRIBUTION

Amadeus Brings Travel Technology Expertise to Membership in The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance

Amadeus has joined the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance to bring its travel expertise to the table in the quest to support a more prosperous and responsible hospitality sector. www.amadeus.com

Cendyn Named #1 CRS Provider in the 2024 HotelTechAwards for 7th Consecutive Year

Cendyn, a catalyst for digital transformation in the hospitality industry, has secured the top award for “Best Hotel Reservations System” (CRS) at the 2024 Hotel Tech Awards. The win marks Cendyn’s seventh consecutive victory in this important category where the honor has been awarded every year since 2018. www.cendyn.com

Amadeus’ Media Solution for DMOs Now Available in the Americas

Amadeus’ own digital advertising platform & services, unique to the travel industry, have launched in the Americas, building on proven success in the EMEA region. www.amadeus.com

I often think back to when I started my hotel career a million years ago and how clueless we were on rates. What we were charging, what others were charging and how we should be selling our rooms. Someone at the property would be in charge and all they were doing was making educated guesses. Then again, these were the days when many hotels didn’t even have computer systems for their front desk. Revenue Management? Third-party data? Who would have guessed back then where we would be today. In his Definitely Doug column that follows, Doug Rice has done a great job sharing how third-party data impacts hotel profitability. An absolute must read, it’s amazing how things like potential weather conditions, destination searches, air travel and many other things can affect a hotel’s success.

I hope everybody has seen the video our Liz Vogan created, sharing the destination for this year’s Executive Vendor Summit. Who knows, I might have a new favorite hotel in Denver. If you would like to see the video, then click here. There is nothing wrong with being happy when you travel, right? This is our 19th EVS, and who would have thought that bringing executives from the vendor community together would become so popular? Now we are getting more and more hotel tech leaders asking to attend. I guess this is a good problem to have. If you have an interest in joining us at our summit, please drop a note to kim@hospitalityupgrade.com and she will give you the details on how to get an invite. Looks like we will have an even stronger international presence this year, it’s always great to hear what’s happening in other parts of the world. March 26-28 at a very unique hotel. Watch the video! Hospitality Upgrade must also thank Allan Nelson of For-Sight over in Scotland who shares his past experience with EVS and why he is coming back. To watch Allan’s video, click here.

January is always an interesting month. I will say it’s been a long time since I’ve heard the optimism that I’m hearing so far this year. Should make for a wild ride throughout the year for the tech world. Just so you know, once again I wrote this opening, not you-know-who (or what). Here now is Definitely Doug and the latest technology news. I will see you at the end with this week’s you-know-what. Here is to a great 2024!

Rich

rich@hospitalityupgrade.com

Siegel Sez-1/19/24

I often think back to when I started my hotel career a million years ago and how clueless we were on rates. What we were charging, what others were charging and how we should be selling our rooms. Someone at the property would be in charge and all they were doing was making educated guesses. Then again, these were the days when many hotels didn’t even have computer systems for their front desk. Revenue Management? Third-party data? Who would have guessed back then where we would be today. In his Definitely Doug column that follows, Doug Rice has done a great job sharing how third-party data impacts hotel profitability. An absolute must read, it’s amazing how things like potential weather conditions, destination searches, air travel and many other things can affect a hotel’s success.

I hope everybody has seen the video our Liz Vogan created, sharing the destination for this year’s Executive Vendor Summit. Who knows, I might have a new favorite hotel in Denver. If you would like to see the video, then click here. There is nothing wrong with being happy when you travel, right? This is our 19th EVS, and who would have thought that bringing executives from the vendor community together would become so popular? Now we are getting more and more hotel tech leaders asking to attend. I guess this is a good problem to have. If you have an interest in joining us at our summit, please drop a note to kim@hospitalityupgrade.com and she will give you the details on how to get an invite. Looks like we will have an even stronger international presence this year, it’s always great to hear what’s happening in other parts of the world. March 26-28 at a very unique hotel. Watch the video! Hospitality Upgrade must also thank Allan Nelson of For-Sight over in Scotland who shares his past experience with EVS and why he is coming back. To watch Allan’s video, click here.

January is always an interesting month. I will say it’s been a long time since I’ve heard the optimism that I’m hearing so far this year. Should make for a wild ride throughout the year for the tech world. Just so you know, once again I wrote this opening, not you-know-who (or what). Here now is Definitely Doug and the latest technology news. I will see you at the end with this week’s you-know-what. Here is to a great 2024!

Rich

rich@hospitalityupgrade.com

Definitely Doug 1/19/24: A Deep Dive into Data

Hotels, and indeed most of the travel and tourism industry, operate in an ever-changing and complex environment. While most other businesses deal primarily with local clients, hotels’ customers come from many different, usually distant markets, each of which can have its own economic factors, preference trends, and even distribution infrastructure. Travel is the one industry where severe weather on one side of the country can have an immediate and big impact on business thousands of miles away.

This week I will explore the many types of external data that hotels use. By external, I mean data that is not produced from their own systems, but rather that is acquired from third-party sources. These data sources can shed light on external factors that can affect a hotel’s performance. Some of the sources mentioned below may be ingested (or ingestible) into your business intelligence (BI) or revenue management (RM) system. Indeed, several providers of BI and RM systems offer one or more of these data sources as an optional or included add-on to their own products.

My objective is to provide a general-management level overview of all the different types of third-party data that might be useful to your hotel(s). You are probably already using some of them, and others may not be very useful because of the location or characteristics of your hotel(s). But there are probably a few that are both new to you and potentially useful. These data sources are not hard to find if you are looking, but are you? Are there new ones might want to consider? I will try to outline how hotels are using each type of data to help you assess this. I will also identify some of the key vendors offering each type.

Because of the large number of third-party data providers, it was impractical for me to interview them all. Most of what is presented here was gathered from website research and in some cases from prior knowledge. Website claims can of course be vague and sometimes misleading, and your specific needs will be unique. So please view my list as a starting point for vendor identification, not a guarantee that any given company will meet your requirements, nor that I have necessarily listed every company offering a particular type of data. Where possible, I have provided deep links to pages that describe the product in question in more detail.

While I believe that every company mentioned below produces data itself, they (and others I have not listed) may also remarket data obtained from partners. These data partnerships can often be opaque or even confidential. If a company not listed here offers a particular type of data, it is worth asking about the data provenance (or you can sometimes test it by comparing details to other sources). In many cases the data may be available at lower cost if you get it from the original producer rather than through a partner. However, integration with systems you already have may make the data more usable, so if your BI or RM or property management system provider can get you the same data, it may be worth doing it that way even if the cost is a bit higher.

This article may be useful to hotels, but also to some vendors who sell to hotels; they may want to explore whether some of these data sources could be incorporated into existing products to improve their value to your hotel customers.

CORPORATE NEWS

IBS Software Acquires APS® for $90 Million as It Targets Major Growth in Hospitality Sector

IBS Software, a leading SaaS solutions provider to the travel industry globally, has reached an agreement to acquire the ground-breaking hotel and travel technology provider Above Property Services (APS®). The $90 million transaction will further solidify IBS Software’s position in the hospitality market and strengthen the brand, to underpin an ambitious expansion of its reach in the hospitality industry.www.aboveproperty.com

Built In Honors IDeaS in Two 2024 Best Places to Work Awards

IDeaS, a SAS company, the world’s leading provider of hotel revenue management software and services, announced today recognition in Built In’s 2024 Best Places to Work. The company earned two awards: U.S. Best Places to Work and U.S. Best Midsize Places to Work. The annual awards program includes companies of all sizes, from startups to those in the enterprise tier, and honors remote-first employers and companies in large tech markets across the U.S. ideas.com

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

Jonas Chorum Welcomes Adam Wilson as New General Manager
Jonas Chorum is excited to announce that we have hired Adam Wilson as General Manager to oversee our business operations and enhance our customer-centric focus to software development.
jonashospitality.com

Dominique Williams Named Director of Operations at VENZA
VENZA, a leading provider of data protection and regulatory compliance solutions for the hospitality industry, announced that it has named Dominique Williams as Director of Operations. In this role, he will lead outstanding Customer Success, Security, and Risk/Compliance teams to deliver exceptional programs to VENZA’s clients.
www.VENZAgroup.com

VENZA Hires Tim Kinsella as Chief Revenue Officer
VENZA, a leading provider of data protection and regulatory compliance solutions for the hospitality industry, announced that it has hired Tim Kinsella as Chief Revenue Officer. In this role, he leads VENZA’s sales planning and execution in support of the company’s overall strategic blueprint for global growth, as well as spearheading the company’s related marketing efforts.
www.VENZAgroup.com

REVENUE MANAGEMENT & ANALYTICS

IDeaS Enhances Client Experience through Tailored Learning Pathways and Expanded Training Opportunities
IDeaS, a SAS company, the world’s leading provider of hospitality revenue management software and services, redoubles its commitment to providing a top-tier client experience with new enhancements to the IDeaS learning journey. This effort includes the implementation of live chat support, monthly live learning events, quarterly panels, and on-demand tailored virtual training sessions.
ideas.com

GUEST FACING TECHNOLOGY

W Barcelona Boosts F&B Guest Spend by 60% With IRIS' Mobile Ordering
The 5-star Barcelona hotel increases guest spend by two-thirds since upgrading and streamlining its mobile ordering capabilities with IRIS' hospitality app.
www.iris.net

Newly Opened Mondrian Cannes Partners with InnSpire to Offer Guests Unmatched In-room TV and Entertainment Solutions
InnSpire, a leading provider of innovative hospitality technology solutions that help drive seamless, world-class guest experiences for some of the world’s most iconic hotels and brands, has announced that its advanced IPTV, InnSmart and Proxy Casting guestroom entertainment solutions have been implemented at the newly renovated historic property that opened as Mondrian Cannes in March 2023.
www.innspire.com

The Ashbrooke Hotel Delivers Ultimate in Guestroom Experience Personalization with GuestCast Streaming Platform
Hotel Internet Services (HIS), a full-service provider of internet services and solutions for the hospitality industry, has been credited with enhancing the quality of in-room entertainment experiences at The Ashbrooke Hotel with the deployment of its GuestCast streaming solution.
www.hotelwifi.com

MARKETING

Sojern Named Finalist in the Hotel Digital Marketing Category in the 2024 HotelTechAwards
Sojern, the leading digital marketing platform built for travel, has been named a finalist in the Best Hotel Digital Marketing Agency category globally by Hotel Tech Report in the 2024 HotelTechAwards.
www.sojern.com

HotelTechReport Names Dailypoint the Number 2 Loyalty Software Provider Worldwide
dailypoint is proud to announce its recent achievement as the second-best Loyalty Program for Independents globally, as recognized by Hotel Tech Report in the prestigious 2024 HotelTechAwards. This accolade reflects the company’s unwavering commitment to excellence in the hotel industry.
www.dailypoint.com

BACK OFFICE

Lodging Interactive's CoMMingle360 Transforms Hotel Social Media into Powerful Wedding Sales Opportunities
Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital marketing, reputation management, and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry since 2001, announced today the next phase of its CoMMingle360 omnichannel marketing service for the hospitality industry.  Commingle360 enables hotels to generate group event revenue opportunities and direct bookings through their social media channels 24/7.
www.lodginginteractive.com

BluHost Taking Hospitality Financial Management Seriously with New Accounting System Upgrade
BluHost is entering 2024 with a new enterprise accounting solution backing its portfolio of select service and ultra-luxury hotels and a mix of fine dining to casual restaurants. José M. Suárez, president and CEO of the Puerto Rico based hospitality management company, selected PVNG by Aptech because of past positive experiences with the company.
www.aptech-inc.com

M3 Named Best Finance and Accounting Software for the 4th Consecutive Year in the 2024 HotelTechAwards
M3’s Accounting Core™ solution has been named 2024’s #1 Finance and Accounting Software by Hotel Tech Report, and M3’s Labor Management™ solution has been named 2024’s #2 Scheduling and Labor Management Software.
www.m3as.com

FOOD & BEVERAGE

Grand Casino Hotel Resort Elevates Operations, Enhances Guest Experience and Streamlines Infrastructure with Agilysys Solutions
With more than 1,000 casinos to choose from across the United States, Grand Casino Hotel Resort, part of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation located in idyllic Shawnee, Oklahoma, decided to invest in state-of-the-art hospitality-focused technology from Agilysys (NASDAQ: AGYS) to attract a greater share of adults planning casino visits and keep them coming back for more.
www.agilysys.com

PAYMENT PROCESSING

Sertifi Ranks #1 on Hotel Tech Report’s 2024 Top Hotel Payment Processing Software List
Sertifi, developers of a complete agreements platform used by over 18,500 hospitality, event, and travel companies, is excited to announce they have ranked #1 on Hotel Tech Report’s Global Best Payment Processing Software list in the 2024 HotelTechAwards.
corp.sertifi.com

HUMAN RESOURCES

Complimentary Registration Now Open for Doug Kennedy's Next Training Webcast: Contemporary Approaches for Upselling at Check-In
Register your team for Doug's next 40-minute training webcast on January 22.
www.kennedytrainingnetwork.com

SECURITY

VENZA Continues to Seek and Value Client Input with 2023 Town Hall Meetings
VENZA, a leading provider of data protection and regulatory compliance solutions for the hospitality industry, today announced that it has completed its 2023 Town Hall Meetings Initiative. The collaborative venture, which brings together key stakeholders throughout the company’s community, is an extension of VENZA’s ongoing process of improving its programs and products by soliciting and incorporating client input.
www.VENZAgroup.com

HOSPITALITY EVENTS AND ASSOCIATION NEWS

Registration and Hotel Reservations Are Now Open for HITEC 2024
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), producers of the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®), has announced that attendee registration for this year’s North American event is now open alongside hotel reservations via HITEC’s official housing service.
www.hftp.org

HSMAI Foundation and Women in Travel THRIVE Release Research on the Power of Mentorship
The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Foundation, in partnership with Women in Travel THRIVE, is proud to announce the release of a pivotal research paper titled "The Power of Mentorship."
www.hsmaifoundation.org

HFTP Announces 2024 HITEC Dubai Advisory Council
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), producers of the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®), is pleased to announce the industry experts that global exhibition powerhouse dmg events has put together to serve on the advisory council for HITEC Dubai 2024. Co-located with The Hotel Show Dubai, the event will be held 4-6 June 2024 at the Dubai World Trade Centre in Dubai, UAE.
www.hftp.org

RESERVATIONS & DISTRIBUTION

Amadeus Brings Travel Technology Expertise to Membership in The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance

Amadeus has joined the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance to bring its travel expertise to the table in the quest to support a more prosperous and responsible hospitality sector. www.amadeus.com

Cendyn Named #1 CRS Provider in the 2024 HotelTechAwards for 7th Consecutive Year

Cendyn, a catalyst for digital transformation in the hospitality industry, has secured the top award for “Best Hotel Reservations System” (CRS) at the 2024 Hotel Tech Awards. The win marks Cendyn’s seventh consecutive victory in this important category where the honor has been awarded every year since 2018. www.cendyn.com

Amadeus’ Media Solution for DMOs Now Available in the Americas

Amadeus’ own digital advertising platform & services, unique to the travel industry, have launched in the Americas, building on proven success in the EMEA region. www.amadeus.com

And now for you-know-what...

There is an old fable about a puppy that was vigorously chasing its tail. An old dog saw him and asked, "Why are you chasing your tail so?"

The puppy answered, "I have mastered philosophy. I have solved the problems of our universe, which no dog before me has solved correctly. I have learned that the first thing for a dog is contentment and happiness. I have further discovered that contentment lies within my tail. Therefore, I am chasing it; and when I catch it, I shall have happiness!"

The old dog just nodded his wrinkled head, then replied, "My son, I, too, have paid attention to the problems of our universe. In my own weak way, I have formed some opinions. Like you, I have judged that contentment and happiness are fine things for a dog and that, indeed, happiness lies within my tail. But I have also noticed that when I chase it, it keeps running from me; but when I simply go about my business, it follows after me."

Discover Return On Experience

Three ecosystems — Hospitality & Leisure, Food & Beverage, and Inventory & Procurement — operate independently and together depending on your needs.

DOWNLOAD

Let's Get Digital

7 Questions to Ask Before You Invest in a Hotel Mobile App

DOWNLOAD

Let's Get Digital

With high rates of mobile device users and high expectations to digitally connect, what should your hotel app do? Besides providing a great digital guest experience, your hotel mobile app should be a reflection of your property and should give your guest the digital access they need to experience your property to the fullest.

DOWNLOAD

Return on Experience solutions delight guests, retain staff & grow margins

Agilysys’ Cloud platform, solely engineered for hospitality, delivers Return On Experience (ROE) across every hospitality touchpoint. That means more repeat stays, greater spend, stronger reviews, a more empowered staff and a healthier bottom line.

DOWNLOAD