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With the news cycle laser-focused on the looming threat of a COVID-19 second wave happening in nearly every territory, it is up to each and every hotel to ensure we are all fully compliant with virus safety guidelines in order to restore group booking confidence. And the only way to ensure compliance with these safety guidelines is through contactless and compliance technologies to give guests a strong guarantee of proper sanitization as well as peace of mind.

A great deal has been written over the years about the viability of moving a hotel’s property-management system (PMS) to the cloud to take advantage of the latest technologies, but hoteliers need to realize that it’s not the only viable option. All platforms have advantages, including self-hosted, private cloud and on-premise solutions that leverage the latest mobile, contact free and web-based technologies. Independent operators can still enhance the digital guest experience, support personalized and mobile check-in, deploy contact free technologies, and secure hotel/guest data even if their PMS does not reside in the cloud. It should not be a question of “Cloud or On Premise?” but rather “Does the PMS solve your business objectives in both technology and service?”

Much has been written in the mainstream hospitality press about the challenges COVID-19 has presented to the industry. Hotels are in more pain than at any time in our memories. Because of the extensive media coverage, I won’t dwell on this topic further in what is primarily a technology column. But it’s the background for this week’s column, and so merits acknowledgement.

Are You All In?
Posted: 07/27/2020

Imagine everyone in your organization engaged, aligned, and performing to their potential. Imagine everyone playing “All In.”

Great organizations have synergy. Their culture allows them to play to a rhythm at a different tempo than the average organization. How do you get that at your organization?

Many front-line hospitality workers rely on tips for a significant part of their paychecks. If not for tips, many hotel associates who serve as waitstaff, bartenders, housekeepers, bell staff, concierges and pool attendants would soon be looking for other jobs. This is a regional issue: in most of Asia and Europe, staff get higher base pay, and tips are either not expected at all, or are truly discretionary. But in the U.S., Canada, Britain and other countries, tips are an important reality, and one that’s not likely to change anytime soon.



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Big Data Analytics Needs Big Questions

12/02/2014
by Jian Wang

Data, by nature, represent the information about yesterday’s world. The more the data, the better we can learn about what happened. In conventional wisdom, the bigger the data, the more profitable the analytics will be. This, however, is not always true. The profitability of big data analytics is largely determined by the questions that we can ask.

Take hotel revenue management (RM) as an example. The objective of hotel RM is to influence demand via pricing such that the total revenue will be maximized. Demand for hotel rooms comes from a number of distribution channels, which may range from call centers to brand websites to online travel agencies, and so on. The success of implementing hotel RM requires a good understanding of demand patterns of yesterday and tomorrow.

A classical question that we frequently ask is: how demand behaves across the channels? To answer this question, a dataset of inquiries and bookings over the channels are often collected and analyzed. With the advance of IT technology, the dataset might grow bigger because we are able to collect additional information that were difficult, if not impossible, to get before. For example, for an online inquiry, the history of its clicking path can also be captured if a brand website is appropriately implemented. The use of additional data, in this case, is indeed helpful for us to better answer the question. It not only allows us to analyze how demand is distributed across the channels, but also to predict how it might change. From the viewpoint of traditional business intelligence (BI), this question appears to be perfect for data analytics.

Under the context of RM, this question seems to be not “big” enough. As we know, the ultimate RM objective is to maximize the total revenue for tomorrow. This question, however, has a false belief that limits us from achieving this objective:  the maximal revenue has and will be gained from the existing channels only. This belief is particularly unrealistic in this rapidly evolving world, where tomorrow’s channels might be quite different from those of yesterday. If we continue to ask questions based on this false belief, our data analytics will fail to capture revenue opportunities for the future demand.

Therefore, we need to ask big questions while performing data analysis. For instance, in addition to the above question, we may also ask: How would demand to the other channels migrate if the call center were removed? How would demand be displaced if a new channel like mobile were added? Would the change of channel landscape help increase the total revenue? And so forth. These big questions will challenge us to identify and collect the right data, but the resulting data analytics will help us move closer to the RM objective.

Data do not grow by themselves. Their growth is driven by the big questions we can think of. The big analytics based on the big

About The Author
Dr. Jian Wang
VP, Research and Development
The Rainmaker Group


Jian has more than 20 years of experience in designing and implementing mathematical and statistical models for a wide range of industries including engineering, gaming resort, hotel, multifamily housing, airline, car rental and more. As an accomplished practitioner of pricing and revenue management, Jian has published several papers in top journals, has contributed a chapter in a published book, "Revenue Management: A Practical Pricing Perspective," and is also frequently invited to speak at professional conferences and universities.

 
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