Hyatt Hotels is one of many travel companies that has been leveraging "big data".
In other words, it's been aligning all the functions of its organization to optimally use predictive data analytics.
Specifically, the Chicago-based global giant has mined its data to see how, when, and where people are booking its rooms. It processes that information, using the latest in mathematical analyses, to detect patterns. Based on the patterns, it changes its merchandising effort.
Hyatt says it has already seen major progress on its key goal to more effectively upsell guests who have already booked rooms.
For details, Tnooz spoke with Chris Brogan, senior vice president, strategy and analysis:
"In 2014 in the Americas, we rolled out a program that has increased the average incremental room revenue, post-reservation, by 60%, 2014 versus 2013. That's compared with similar programs in the past that lacked the sophisticated analytics.
The success means more spending on rooms that are larger, have better views, or more amenities, as well as more spending on in-hotel spas and food-and-beverage.
Our aspiration is to be more like Amazon. 'If you like this, you might like that.'
With our computerized process, we are able to, not script, but essentially prompt front desk agents with relevant messages such as, "Based on what we know, perhaps this individual may want an upgrade to a room with a view" or "This person might appreciate understanding what amenities we have at this product."
The math is the math. It only takes you so far. Our operations colleagues have the discretion to act or not on the data points. But we need them to tell us if they acted on the prompt or if they ignored it, so that we can keep our data clean.
The program has been a success. So we're expanding it to include additional touch points, such as transactional emails and confirmation emails. We're also using the data to craft messages that are more persuasive.
We rolling the software out in several test cases in Europe and Asia. We expect to roll it out globally by the middle of this year.
This is the program I'm most proud of in my time at Hyatt, because there isn't a department it hasn't touched: operations, revenue management, marketing, guest satisfaction, front desk, food-and-beverage, finance. It serves as a model for other things we're doing.
We’ve made the case for incorporating data collection and analysis at each step in our value chain. We've been able to show an impact to the bottom line, which helps generate buy-in.
Because of Hyatt’s size and its operational structure, we’ve spent a lot of time bringing a lot of predictive analytics resources in-house.
Being in-house lets us quickly pull together information from across every arm of the company, whether its our transactional website or our customer relationship management software.
That's not to say we don’t use vendors at all. We do use some for different functions.
But our goal is to have a direct understanding of our proprietary data. In how we want to see data, how we want the analytics, what kind of data should we act on, that's where our team comes into the foreground."
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NB:Front desk image via Shutterstock and Andel's Berlin Hotel.