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Every hotel can create a competitive advantage using data

10 January 2023
A trigger to change is that people working in hotels are fed up with wasting time on manual work that could easily be automated. One example is that many hotels spend too much time reporting. Hotels need to retrieve data manually, copy and paste it into a homegrown Excel reporting template, manually analyze and finally highlight and comment on everything that does not seem right. It'd be essential to know how the hotel performs to take action before the opportunity is lost.

Larger hotel groups with extensive resources can afford to build a competitive advantage through customized business intelligence systems. However, for smaller hotel groups and independent hotels to keep up, it is easier to implement readily available solutions with predefined processes and access to data to become more productive.

Stuck in doing everything manual

Many hotels still use to base reporting on data manually typed into Excel. Highly qualified hotel employees spend hours every single day typing numbers into reports. One reason is that it is difficult to extract data from all the hotel's proprietary systems. Some of them have not been upgraded for years. As a result, data sits in silos and are difficult to compile into one central system accessible to all employees in the hotel that needs to make data-driven decisions. Even if you want to, most hotel Excel sheets cannot provide an analysis of more complex relationships. As a result, hotels need more critical insights and risk making the wrong decisions. On top of that, hotels need help finding qualified people for commercial work.

Simplify processes

The overall objective for hotels is to grow revenue and maximize profits. Therefore, hotels need to simplify things to become more productive. A good starting point is to collect all valuable data into one system that is accessible for all roles that need instant information so they can work faster and wiser. Changing from working manually to automation will speed up processes and, at the same time, save costs. Higher efficiency also frees time for high-level work, bringing in more revenue and increasing profits. The first step is to implement a modern and automated performance reporting system that would be faster and more accurate at a lower cost than the manual processes the hotel uses today.

Overcome obstacles

Hotels worldwide use the same business model and share the same challenges. Since the hotel business is the same, hotels should keep to a standard to keep things simple, precisely when data from several hotels will be consolidated.

Data silos, data quality, and data security

Hotels often have data spread across multiple systems, such as property management systems, customer relationship management systems, and point-of-sale systems. Integrating these data sources and overcoming data silos can be a significant challenge. In hotel groups, the complexity increases when hotels consolidate data from hotels with several different PMS and other systems.
Ensuring data quality can be difficult, especially when dealing with data from multiple sources. Data may be incomplete, inaccurate, or inconsistent, making it difficult to draw accurate conclusions. Hotels must ensure that team members have been trained to capture and manually enter data correctly.
Hotels handle a lot of sensitive information, such as customer and financial data. Therefore, ensuring the security of this data is crucial, and implementing a system may require additional security measures to be put in place.


Standardizing all variables in a hotel PMS is essential to analyze and comparing figures and consolidating data from several hotels. The biggest challenge for hotels is understanding what data is critical and what the data can tell. By defining which data a role needs to maximize performance, the hotel can provide each function with the correct information. This will lead to higher productivity and higher employee satisfaction. Everyone will contribute a higher value to the company than when people spend endless time on manual work. Focus on major data sources, such as the hotel PMS, RMS, rate shopping, benchmarking data, and labor hours. More data sources can lead to analysis paralysis, slowing processes and decision-making. Start small and expand as you learn.

Identify which data is important

Different roles have different needs. Higher up in the organization, people ask for the big picture and need an overview with comments that explains any deviations. Specialist roles need more detailed information to understand variations and why they happened. A sound reporting system must include both the overview and all the details. Data based on the need of the role and level in the company has high value to everyone. Therefore, hotels should develop role-based dashboards and reports. Step one is to implement a system with the most basic information and KPIs so everyone in the hotel is well-informed and can contribute to the success. Hotels need complete control over the essential KPIs before looking into details.

Focus on the core drivers of performance

Every hotel must define its core drivers of performance. Standard performance drivers are guest satisfaction, market share, productivity, profit, and employee satisfaction. However, each hotel has unique performance drivers due to its concept, business mix, and location.

Set goals

When the hotel has set the core performance drivers, it can also set a goal for each performance driver. The core KPIs will drive the bonus program for general managers and other key positions. Leading roles will require a fast and accurate system to follow up on KPIs that will determine the bonus. Again, the hotel has much to win by automating reporting and bonus calculations. Transparency and accountability for performance are crucial.

Evolving from tracking to trend-spotting

When hotels start using a system that automatically collects data and shows insights in dashboards and reports, the hotel tends to go from only tracking to including spotting trends. With a well-designed system updating data in real-time or many times during the day, the tracking takes less time, so team members can spend valuable time spotting trends and making timely data-driven decisions to capture more opportunities. The system will monitor the day-to-day business, and the team members will apply knowledge and sound judgment to create and adjust the strategy.

Guide operations with data

Productive hotel operations need data for planning to maximize profits. All departments in a hotel need access to volume forecasts, such as the number of occupied rooms and guests, for labor scheduling and purchasing. With more accurate data, the hotel can produce a higher profit by aligning labor schedules with expected revenue and a smoother planning process with fewer adjustments. Revenue forecasts should drive scheduling and purchasing to minimize waste and maximize profits.

Answer faster

Furthermore, it is vital to answer questions from owners and top management about deviations from the plan, emerging trends, and which actions the hotel has implemented to grow revenue and profits. With an automated system for analysis and reporting, hotel operators can offer owners direct access to data and customized reports instead of manually preparing frequently requested information.

Easy onboarding - fast adoption

Larger hotel groups spend a lot of time and money implementing systems that will increase productivity by becoming more data-driven in decision-making. Implementing new systems and tools can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, and hotels may need more resources, including staff and budget, to fully implement a unique solution. Larger groups can afford to hire highly knowledgeable and skilled people to implement and manage such systems. For smaller hotel groups and independent hotels, the investment should be lowered. To stay competitive, smaller hotel groups and independent hotels need to find less expensive and less complex solutions.
We have developed Demand Calendar for commercial teams in small- and midsized hotel groups. As a starting point, we connect to the hotel PMS (and a few other sources), and the hotel is up and running. It is that simple—the most effortless onboarding in the industry. However, implementing a new tool can be disruptive, and some employees may resist change. Additionally, employees may lack the training and understanding of the new tool, making it difficult to get them to use it effectively.
Demand Calendar is intuitive, easy to use, and accessible for many roles within the hotel without the need for extensive training. Demand Calendar is also insightful, with predefined views, dashboards, and reports. It gives hotels the information they need to make smarter decisions to capture more opportunities instead of leaving them to the competition. In addition, Demand Calendar is interactive with built-in tools for smoothly and efficiently creating marketing, sales, and revenue management processes. It is a dream for the hotel general manager to have everyone working in the same system and, in real-time, have access to the hotel's performance.