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People today expect to be connected always and everywhere; sometimes it’s hard to believe that there was a world before smartphones and Wi-Fi. In the time since Wi-Fi became ubiquitous in hotels, apartments, and public spaces, it has fueled the evolution of connectivity in a lot of ways. Just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the most basic needs start at the bottom, and you can’t get to the next level without a strong foundation. 

By now, everyone is aware that hotel giant Marriott International announced on Friday a massive data breach that goes back more than four years and may have affected up to 500 million customers worldwide. 

After two years of preparation, the FlyZoo Hotel — a futuristic property that uses interactive technologies to do everything from greet guests to deliver room service — is ready for business. 

Mobile technology is fast becoming central to the entire travel experience. Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones to research trips, book accommodation, check in at the airport, and access their hotel room. But one of the next big roles mobile has to play in the travel process is mobile payment. The idea of an entirely cashless society might still seem some way off, but mobile payment is gaining popularity. As it becomes more widely used, its fast and frictionless nature will bring benefits before, during and after a trip. 

Digital marketing, also known as internet marketing, plays a significant role to boost hotel website traffic and online bookings. Recently, many big announcements were made in the digital industry, for example when Facebook introduced a new video format for marketers, or when Google announced a board core algorithm. If you are a new hotelier and want to stay ahead in the industry, then you should know what’s going on in the hotel digital marketing industry. 
 



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Parts 11 & 12: Flex Your Data Muscles: A 12-Month Challenge to Get Analytics Working For You

12/06/2015

This article concludes our 12-month “Flex Your Data Muscles” analytics challenge. Congratulations! We hope that the monthly tasks associated with the analytics challenge have been worth your while. If you’re just getting to know about the challenge, refer to the Hospitality Upgrade newsletter issued in January 2015 to learn more.

Collaborating on Analytics

Take your analytics efforts to the next level by utilizing your organization’s collective brain trust to make the most out of your analytics insights. Collaborating on analytics is not only about sharing your knowledge and insights with the relevant people. It also involves gaining knowledge from analytics and insights shared by others, discussing analytic conclusions and consequently making better collective decisions supported by analytics. It wouldn’t be prudent to consider analytics as a collection of solitary activities, in which people and departments work in silos analyzing oceans of data to fulfill their needs. Every piece of analytics done within the organization has to converge towards the overall corporate analytics objectives, and in some instances complement each other. For example; F&B analytics could provide some useful input for analytics related to corporate expense management while at the same time support business unit F&B performance management. There may be a perception that “too many cooks spoil the broth," however on the flip side, “two heads are better than one." That said, it would be wise to balance the desire for the wisdom of the crowds against relevant input.

Collaborative analytics encompasses the sharing of data, coordinated sharing and consumption of analytics results, and procedures for collective analysis, discussions, decision-making and actions. This makes collaboration an essential part of any analytics initiative and should be encouraged throughout the entire analytics journey.

Improved technology and the proliferation of user-friendly analytics tools have made collaboration much more convenient. Using a variety of tools, data can be shared easily, reports showing analytics insights can be collaborated upon via portals, email, or dashboards, and fruitful discussions can be conducted using corporate collaboration platforms.

The biggest barrier to collaboration on analytics is the corporate culture. Fostering a collaborative analytics culture can be quite challenging and it requires leadership from the top. Senior and mid-level managers need to communicate the importance and benefits of using analytics along with the reasons why collaboration on analytics among individuals and departments is a good thing. Such communication could also highlight success stories related to the use of collaborative analytics and demonstrate how the end result can enhance performance at the individual and corporate level as well as help in the achievement of the overall strategic goals.

Realigning Your Analytics

Getting your analytics right is not easy. As you go along the journey, your analytics needs to be continuously improved upon to make it more relevant and effective. Continuous improvement could also mean a realignment of the analytics and its goals, especially if the resulting analytics did not fulfill the intended objectives. Even if the initial analytic goals have been achieved, there might be the need for realignment to make it even better. No matter the complexity of the analytics you’ve done, there is always room for improvement. Question is… based on the knowledge acquired along the journey, does the analytics need realignment or is it the analytics goals that need refining?   

Now that we’ve reached the conclusion of our series of analytics challenges, we need to review our results and ask:

  • Were the stated analytics objectives achieved? If not, why?
  • Did we conduct the correct analytics? If not, why?
  • Is there a need to redefine the analytics objectives based on what we’ve learned?
  • Should we realign the analytics objectives to closely support the corporate goals?
  • Do we need to redefine the corporate goals based what we’ve learned from our analytics?

These are just a few of the questions that you have to keep asking in a bid to continuously improve and realign your analytics. There is no need to wait until you see the results of your analytics before pursuing realignment. At every stage during the analytics journey, you have to continuously evaluate what you’ve done, check whether you’re on track to meet the goal, and determine whether or not realignment is required at that stage.

A Review of Last Month’s Challenge: Making Effective Use of Your Analytics

During last month’s challenge you were required to determine whether or not the analytics you performed helped provide answers to any of your top five business questions identified in Challenge #3. As a reminder, the purpose of Challenge #3 was to set the goals for your analytics, thus the analytics you chose to perform should have been relevant to the top five business questions identified.

This challenge is quite a simple task. Were the analytics objectives achieved? If not, then the causes of failure must be identified and a resolution implemented. Perhaps revisiting the objectives or redefining what analytics needs to be done? There is no point performing analytics if it doesn’t fulfill the intended objectives. Also, don’t set objectives you cannot possibly achieve!

Challenge 11: Sharing Your Analytics

Collaborating on Analytics is a Good Thing

You’ve completed your analytics, and it either looks fabulous or you harbor doubts about certain aspects of it. What next? Why not share it with the relevant people or departments? Why not tap into the power of your organization’s brain trust to optimize the value of your analytics. Those you share your analytics with may help you validate the analytics conclusions you’ve made or provide you with a different perspective.

Remember that collaboration on analytics is not just about sharing what you’ve done. It is also about complementing each other’s analytics, gaining knowledge from others, brainstorming collectively based on the same set of analytics, and most of all striving towards the same corporate analytics goals.

Our series of analytics challenges provided you with numerous opportunities to collaborate. Collaboration could and should have been done for every challenge posed. Be it identifying and gathering relevant data, determining the priority business questions that need answers, or applying analytics insights to solve business challenges. Collaboration on analytics is a good thing, and should be encouraged no matter the level or complexity of the analytics.

Challenge
 

Basic

Advanced

·         During the next few weeks, share & discuss your analytics with those who will benefit most from it. List at least three beneficial consequences of this collaboration.

·         During the next few weeks, coordinate at least three analytics collaboration activities (among individuals, departments, or business units).

·         Also outline the most effective and perhaps most convenient means of collaboration within your organization.


Comments and Hints:

Basic Level:  If you cannot determine who will benefit most from your analytics, share it with your colleagues or superiors and solicit opinions.

Advanced Level:  Pick collaboration activities that you feel most comfortable with or those that fit well with the existing corporate culture. If you’re with a larger organization remember that collaboration activities may vary by department or business unit.


Challenge 12: Refining Your Analytics Goals

Refine Your Analytics Goals to Make Them Better

The analytics you conducted as part of this challenge, may or may not have achieved it’s goal. The onus lies on you to find out whether the goals were achieved and how to improve upon what you’ve done. Perhaps your objectives were unrealistic, or new information has come to the fore that has made you realize that you performed the wrong analytics.

Realignment towards the desired goal can and should be done at every stage of your analytics efforts. Cannot get the required data? Realign your objectives and the analytics you want you do. Lack adequate analytics skills? Realign your expectations. No access to a good analytics tool? Realign what can be done. Don’t make your analytics effort more cumbersome that they need to be. Realign as you move along and be confident and comfortable with the analytics you are doing.

Challenge
 

Basic

Advanced

·         Outline one area related to the series of challenges that you’ve done so far that needs realignment.

·         During the next few weeks, identify the aspects of your corporate analytics initiative that needs realignment.

·         Does your corporate culture need realignment to be more conducive to analytics?


Comments and Hints:

Basic Level:  No realignment effort is minor. You may be surprised to realize that something that you consider minor may have a domino effect on your entire analytics effort.

Advanced Level:  Hold discussions with your colleagues or the various departments to ensure that your analytics expectations are realistic.

Collaboration Forum

I encourage you to participate by commenting on the newsletter posts or via our forum, to enable you to ask questions of each other, discuss how challenges were tackled, and also raise issues/problems that you encounter. Comments are meant to be interactive as well as educative, thus I’ll urge users to be respectful of each other.
 
Series Recap: What We’ve Done So Far 
 

Month

What we did

January

Challenge #1 - Where is my data?
 
Identify and create a list of your various data sources (both internal and external).

February

Challenge #2 - What’s in my data source?

Figure out exactly what is in your data sources.

March

Challenge #3 - What questions do I have?

Identify and list the top five business questions that you frequently need answered. It didn't matter whether you currently get all the required answers or it's on your wish list.

April

Challenge #4 - What data can help answer my questions?

Map your information needs to your data sources. The emphasis was to utilize the information gathered during the first two challenges, and identify any data gaps.

May

Challenge #5 – Time for pit-stop

Review and refine results achieved so far.

June

Challenge #6 – Let’s get some data.

Get the data needed for your analytics.

July

Challenge #7 – Which analytics tools should I use?
 
Selecting the “best-fit” analytics tool.

August

Challenge #8 – Let’s do some analytics

Perform some simple analytics and benchmarking tasks.

September

Challenge #9 – Improving your analytics

Continuously improving your analytics.

October

Challenge #10 – Making effective use of your analytics

Applying your analytics to the intended objectives.

 
About The Author
Samuel Ayisi
Head of Analytics
Leumas Solutions


Samuel Ayisi is the head of analytics with Leumas Solutions. He can be reached at sayisi@leumassolutions.com.

 
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