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Hotel data: Insights for reading reports and results

  Posted in Resources  Last updated 27/06/2024

What is hotel data?

Hotel data is the collection of valuable information used by hotels to manage their operations, make strategic decisions, and improve guest experiences. Data at your hotel is everywhere and can be a driver of your entire business strategy. It’s especially important to prioritise data as a tool in the current era of hotel commerce where traveller demands are higher than ever.

While being the key to unlocking powerful decision making, hotel data can be extremely difficult to identify, manage, and action if it’s spread across multiple systems and sources. Faced with this complexity, you may be tempted to sit back and make do, but doing nothing is not an option in today’s industry.

The good news is that there are solutions that remove the complexity, by connecting once fragmented hotel data and producing digestible reports that you can use as foundations for planning and executing your business strategies.

In this blog, we’ll unpack some of the best ways you can ease the strain and take more confident actions at your hotel via data, with less time and effort.

Table of contents

Why is hotel data important?

Professionals—including those in the hotel and hospitality industry—are looking to hotel data to operate their businesses effectively and maximise their profits.

Hoteliers today need to focus on creating a dynamic pricing strategy that allows prices to ebb and flow with the changing seasons and fluctuating demands.

Hotel data allows you to create price optimisation strategies that establish rates for specific room types as well as lengths of stay (LOS), ultimately improving the amount of revenue that is generated per booking at your hotel.

Here are reasons why real time hotel data is important in this day and age:

1. Manage inventory better

The hotel data that you have available at your disposal allows you to manage your inventory better. The best way to improve your inventory management is to partner with a channel manager that utilises your hotel data in order to update your live availability.

The key is to implement a channel management system that updates all of your distribution channels immediately with your most recent availability. If one room books at your property on a specific date, your availability needs to be broadcast across your entire distribution network via the channel manager.

2. Improve pricing strategy

Data for your hotel also has a direct correlation to the profit that your property earns on a monthly and yearly basis. With access to real-time hotel data, you have the ability to improve your pricing strategy, which automatically increases the revenue that you earn per booking.

In addition, you are able to sell more rooms through the channel management system. Beyond that, real-time data offers you insight into important metrics that allow you to forecast and plan better for each coming season at your hotel.

If something unexpected happens and there are market changes that are worth noting, your real-time data alerts you, giving you the opportunity you need to make the right decision for your hotel.

With access to valuable records and reports about your day-to-day operations, you will be able to create a dynamic pricing strategy that maximises not only your profit but also the number of rooms that you sell.

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How do you collect hotel data? 

Do you know the percentage breakdown of guests in your hotel, between domestic travellers and international travellers?

Do you understand the demographics; their age, or where they’re travelling from?

For independent hoteliers, collecting data about guests can be a challenging process, but, increasingly, it’s essential.

Understanding your customer base is crucial:

  • Why do your guests visit you?
  • Where do they come from?
  • What channels do they use to book a room?

This will allow you to enhance and specialise your hotel’s operations and improve its profitability. There are tools available that independent hotels can leverage to get a better understanding of the data flowing through your business.

Start with Google Analytics, which is a readily available free tool. It might take some dedication to learn, but once you’re up to speed it will provide you with many insights on how your guests are interacting with your brand in the digital space.

From there you’ll be able to determine which online platforms are proving to be the most effective for your business, such as direct traffic to your website, or social media reviews and referrals.

Combine this with the data gleaned from your hotel’s channel manager, such as SiteMinder, and it will help you concentrate your efforts on those successful online distribution channels too. For example, SiteMinder’s hotel channel manager has a single dashboard that helps you quickly establish which booking channels are delivering the most revenue for your hotel.

By making more powerful and insightful decisions, you can turn the data from your channel manager into a more effective distribution strategy by analysing and evaluating the success of your channels. Make sure you work with an online distribution solution that can measure:

  • Channel yield
  • Earnings from reservations
  • Booking volume
  • Average lead times

You should ensure you can view them quickly in a summary or as more detailed trends over time.

When all data is integrated in real-time, rates and inventory management are more strategic and easier to control versus market demand. This allows hotels to use dynamic pricing more efficiently which results in being able to increase ADR (average daily rate). Staff efficiency can also improve, saving payroll costs for your hotel’s reservations department.

What data should hotels be focusing on?

Ultimately, your goal is to increase your revenue and profit. You can only make decisions that positively impact your revenue once you have the data to answer questions like those below:

  • Which booking channels are the most valuable to me?
  • What’s my ADR and average LOS?
  • Who are my most profitable guests?
  • What are my competitors doing?
  • How are we performing compared to last month?

For example, without clear comparative data between weeks, months, or years you’ll never know the true nature of growth at your business or what you can do to drive further success.

Property performance data and guest data are both cornerstones of operating a hotel management team that works both smart and fast.

How do you read hotel data reports?

Reading hotel data reports is key to deciphering the pulse of your hotel’s operations, guest preferences, and overall performance. To effectively interpret these reports, follow these steps:

  1. Start by identifying the key metrics that align with your hotel’s goals, such as occupancy rates, average daily rates (ADR), and revenue per available room (RevPAR). 
  2. Familiarise yourself with the time periods being analysed, whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly, as this can influence trends and patterns; the most common confounding variable being the time of year e.g. summer vs winter.
  3. Break the results down based on guest demographics to understand who your primary audience is and their booking behaviours, as well as any unique requirements or behaviours for different audience segments.
  4. Pay attention to guest feedback and reviews, as they offer invaluable insights into areas of improvement. 
  5. Compare your hotel’s performance against industry benchmarks or competitors to gauge where you stand in the market. 
  6. Lastly, always ensure that your data is sourced from reliable systems, like Siteminder, to guarantee accuracy and comprehensiveness in your reports.

Remember, while numbers can provide a quantitative measure, it’s the qualitative insights – like guest preferences, seasonal trends, and feedback – that can truly drive strategic decisions. 

Reading hotel data to identify guests

Here’s how you can use data to identify your future guests within your guest database, and use technology to get them to book directly.

Time-poor urbanites

For time-poor urbanites, examine each guest’s booking window and booking device.

They tend to do things last-minute because they don’t have the time to plan ahead.

A booking window of one to seven days, especially if done through a mobile device, is indicative of a time-poor urbanite. Your channel manager and booking engine should be able to provide you with this data.

Social media nudgers

For social media nudgers, examine each guest’s booking channel and promotion code.

Social media nudgers tend to be on their social networks all day.

A click-through from a social media site or a promo code used specifically for social media networks are indicative of social media nudgers.

Your booking engine, like SiteMinder’s booking engine, should provide you with this data. You can also view referral data via Google Analytics.

Sleep-deprived travellers

For sleep-deprived travellers, examine each guest’s check-in time and booking channel.

Sleep-deprived travellers tend to check in at all hours of the day, because they are travelling for business, and have unstructured sleeping schedules.

A midnight to early morning check-in time from a guest who has come through your corporate distribution partnerships is indicative of a sleep-deprived traveller.

Your property management system and channel manager should be able to provide you with this data.

Energised baby boomers

For energised baby boomers, examine each guest’s length of stay (LOS) and booking channel.

Energised baby boomers tend to have longer lengths of stay because they aren’t restricted by work, and are often spending their pensions travelling.

A week or more LOS from a guest who has come through an agent or wholesaler partnership is indicative of an energised baby boomer. Your website analytics, property management system, channel manager and booking engine should be able to provide you with this data.

Spending singles

For the spending singles, examine each guest’s number of guests per booking and spend per guest.

Spending singles tend to book in groups of 2 at maximum and spend well because they have a significant amount of disposable income.

A two-guest booking and a spend-per-guest that is higher than average are indicative of a spending single.

Your property management system, channel manager and booking engine should be able to provide you with this data.

Solo travellers

For solo travellers, examine each guest’s number of guests per booking and page views.

Solo travellers tend to travel alone, as they seek adventure and exploration.

A one-guest booking and page views of your website’s ‘things to do’ section are indicative of a solo traveller.

Your website analytics, property management system, channel manager and booking engine should be able to provide you with this data.

Using hotel data to improve guest bookings

The first thing to remember is that guests can tell you a lot before you ever meet them at your property. Their booking behaviours will give you insight into them, the effectiveness of your strategies, the performance of your distribution channels and more.

For instance you look at:

  • Guest booking windows and booking devices – This will let you know what type of guests are booking and help you segment so you can target effectively
  • Guest booking channels and promotion codes – You’ll be able to see which channels and offers are profitable
  • The number of guests per booking and length of stay – This will allow you to tailor more personalised offers pre-stay and during the stay to maximise revenue from each booking
  • Guest check-in times – Again, use this to personalise their stay. Check-in times and requests can often determine how a traveller is getting to your hotel and how far they’ve travelled. Some may be weary and need to get quickly to their room, while others may be ready for a free drink on arrival.
  • Demographics – Data such as age, location and number of children can help your marketing and front desk make more relevant recommendations
  • Reasons for travel – Knowing if your guests are there for business, pleasure or an events of some kind can help you customise the guest experience
  • Seasonal trends – This can tell you if you’re attracting certain guests during certain parts of the year and can inform when you advertise, your seasonal promotions, and how to maximise bookings during peak seasons
  • Personal details – The email address will allow you to have direct access to your guests, delivering more personalised email communication from booking to check-out that will increase your engagement and conversions. 
  • Reviews – You can use other pieces of data – such as staff reporting on their interactions with guests and reviews that you see on TripAdvisor, booking channels, or Google. After all, data isn’t just numbers and qualitative data can be just as useful as quantitative data.

Take the gold nugget that is guest requests for example. Special requests allow you to gather valuable insight into each individual guest and make sure their specific needs are taken care of. When they stay again in the future, you’ll be perfectly prepared and they’ll be singing your praises.

Examples include:

  • Guests asking for particular in-room extras – You’ll discover they like wine more than champagne, or chocolate more than fruit
  • Guests asking for advice or tickets on activities – You’ll know if they like being active or would rather the theatre
  • Guests asking for pet-friendly options – You can factor this into your marketing or property development plans
  • Guests making special dietary requests – You can curate a special menu for them and others who share the same allergies or preferences
  • Guests making unique requests such as extra pillows – You can build a profile for all guests and make notes about their preferences
  • Guests booking for specific reasons such as sporting or music events – You can build a list of those who attend for regular events and drive repeat bookings

Hotel data insights: Example of reading data results the right way

James Bishop, Senior Director Global Ecosystem at SiteMinder interviewed Tzafrir Blonder, CEO at UpStay to discuss the rise of upsell solutions and what makes a unique guest experience

UpStay is designed to empower hoteliers through the strategic use of data and automation. The inception of UpStay was motivated by the success of data-driven e-commerce giants and the travel industry, who have harnessed data for dynamic pricing, personalization, and upselling, ultimately achieving superior margins.

However, hotels often lack the resources or access to develop similar data-driven strategies in-house, despite standing to gain significantly from them.

UpStay addresses this gap by assisting hotels worldwide in capturing margin-driving opportunities without the added required resource. What sets UpStay apart is its unique approach to upselling.

Unlike other applications, UpStay is designed to unlock hidden profits by using data and automation to capture value from already sold rooms, products, or services, creating pure profit for hotels. This approach is fully automated, requiring no configuration, setup, or maintenance from hotels, and adapts to changing circumstances to identify and capture opportunities based on real-time data.

UpStay’s primary focus is on inventory optimisation, leveraging real-time opportunities to match supply and demand. This approach not only generates profit for hotels but also provides guests with access to stay experiences that may exceed their expectations, fostering positive brand perception and guest loyalty.

As a result, the company’s best-performing hotels have seen a 25% increase in profits; success that has built upon a foundation of effectively using automation and customer data to generate appealing offers to the right people at the right time.

How to manage hotel data

Managing hotel data effectively is not just about collecting it, but also about organising, analysing, and leveraging it to make informed decisions. The foundation of this process is the technology stack you employ and the features it offers tailored to your property’s needs. Here’s a breakdown of the core solutions that can aid in efficient data retrieval:

  • Channel manager: This tool provides insights into lead times, channel performance, length of stay, guests per booking, and more.
  • Booking engine: It offers data on purchased extras, promotion code performance, guest requests, and email addresses.
  • Website analytics: From here, you can gauge traffic sources, device usage, geographic data, and conversion rates.
  • PMS integration: A vital component, it allows you to view and manage reservations, build comprehensive guest profiles, add notes, gather staff feedback, and gain Point Of Sale (POS) insights.

However, the challenge often lies in the sheer volume of data and its dispersion across multiple platforms. Fragmented data can be overwhelming and less actionable. This is where the importance of a hotel data management system comes into play.

A robust hotel data management system ensures that your technology tools are seamlessly integrated. By centralising data access through a single interface, you can not only control various operations but also delve deep into insights instantly.

Such a system facilitates the amalgamation of data from diverse sources, enabling powerful, holistic analysis. Imagine the efficiency of having your channel manager, booking engine, and PMS communicating in real-time, offering you a consolidated view of all guest reservation data.

In today’s dynamic hospitality landscape, mastering hotel commerce is paramount. Modern guests seek elevated standards, personalised experiences, and flexibility. Meeting these expectations hinges on your ability to swiftly access and interpret accurate data, empowering you to make timely, informed decisions.

Achieving this level of data clarity and operational control is made possible through open hotel technology platforms. For instance, SiteMinder’s leading all-in-one software platform stands as a testament to the power of integrated hotel data management systems, ensuring hoteliers are always a step ahead in delivering exceptional guest experiences.

By Shine Colcol

Shine is the SEO and Content Manager of SiteMinder, the only software platform that unlocks the full revenue potential of hotels. With 5+ years of experience in content strategy, Shine has produced informational content across various industry topics, mostly about operations management and continuous improvement. She aims to share well-researched articles for hoteliers to discover how to optimize their time and increase room revenue.

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