News | Distribution | OnlineIf I'd had more time, I would have been a data scientistThis article was originally published onBy Sponsored Content | March 1, 2018 This is a viewpoint from David Turnbull, founder and chief commercial officer for SnapShot.Mark Twain’s famous “If I had more time” quotation could be updated and applied to the current generation of hotel revenue managers suffering the pain of collecting and storing data.Nearly 20% of business time is spent searching for information - that’s one full day per week. I know the impact of this lost time all too well. During my many years spent running an outsourced revenue management service for brands such as citizenM and 25hours, my team of revenue managers racked up countless hours collecting data. Not to mention the tiresome process of formatting the data in Excel. It genuinely pains me to think about how much more analysis time my team could have performed if they’d had clean data available at their fingertips.I knew there needed to be a better way. To make more productive use of time, Excel spreadsheets needed to chucked in the recycle bin and this is how SnapShot came to be in 2012.(tnooz startup pitch here).We were able to replace the time spent digging and formatting with a demand management application (DMA) for hotels, putting into the cloud all the tools (forecast, budget, strategy) a hotel would need to manage its demand.However, the DMA wasn’t flexible enough for our customers, especially hotel groups, for whom the flexibility to access the right data at the right time was a bigger headache than not having an interface to manage the data.The answer was to build SnapShot on Demand, a data warehouse as a service solution, which sits above the PMS and can give data and insights to hotel groups at the push of a button. This means no more scrambling for hours to get the data. no more time spent or wasted creating the visualisations of said data in a way that pleases the MD who wants revenue and demand issues answered instantly not in a few hours.Moreover, this approach allows hotels to clean and map segments across properties and regions so that data is understandable and actionable.It’s crucial to understand how fundamental this ability to clean and map key performance data (especially on a multi-property level) is to reporting and BI projects, and why so many of these fail.Data scientists spend 60% of their time normalizing data. And these are data scientists. They are not revenue managers or marketing directors or reservations managers or group sales directors or general managers, all who almost certainly have far less experience dealing with mass amounts of data. Imagine how long it takes for the average commercial analyst or revenue manager to clean up and segment data across varied properties. The answer: too much. (Note, also, that second to the amount of time spent cleaning data, data scientists spent the most time collecting data. The problem spans industries.)[caption id="attachment_167338" align="aligncenter" width="668"] SOURCE: Forbes.com[/caption]The most frequently overlooked step when it comes to data is the visualization. According to Dataconomy, visualization is one of the only means humans have for understanding complex analytics. Our brains are only able to process two to three pieces of information at one time and frequently consumer behavior requires understanding more than that. When represented visually, however, we can grasp the patterns and trends that emerge from large amounts of information. If we skip this step, however, the data becomes far less actionable.We have heard from the market that hotel groups spend a lot of time, effort and budget on BI projects that have ultimately gone nowhere because it’s too hard to get the data. That’s why we added a function which pushes reports to specialist visualisation tools so that the data can be easily visualized and makes it easier to get projects completed.A dedicated API, where groups can build custom applications and dashboards, also helps and opens up a wealth of opportunities - create a customized dashboard interface build an app that tracks channel costs and automatically pivots your inventory strategy based on pre-set criteria; synch housekeeping and check-ins to improve efficiencies; pre-empt guest behavior. The list could go on and on.There is an argument that developing and implementing such proprietary applications and algorithms is a distraction for hoteliers, but the reality is that hotels need to explore and identify patterns in their data. The first stage is to have the resources that allow key PMS and non-PMS data to be shared - this needs to be in place before custom apps can be considered.What it comes down to is this: in the past, effective data collection and visualization has been such a pain that hoteliers have been paralyzed rather than proactive. But the issue of how much time and effort it takes to deal with data has been solved by technology.So, it's time to ask yourselves, if you could gain back one day of productivity each week, would you take it?This is a viewpoint from David Turnbull, founder and chief commercial officer for SnapShot. It appears as part of the tnooz sponsored content initiative.David and the SnapShot team will be hosting drinks at ITB this year in Hall 8.1, stand 127, beginning at 4:30pm on Wednesday and Thursday. To learn more about SnapShot On Demand, RSVP to the event here.