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Top 5 hospitality data trends for 2021

2020 was a year like no other for hospitality; the word “unprecedented” has been used at an unprecedented rate, every player, large and small, has had to adapt to the next normal. With cautious optimism, we believe that the road to recovery is ahead of us in 2021, and data will play an integral role as businesses rebuild and realise a new vision for operations in a post-pandemic era. Demand for travel and joyful experiences have been pent-up, allowing ample opportunity to capitalise on those looking for an escape. Here are our predictions of the five hottest trends for data in the hospitality world for the year ahead.   

  1. New data sources from contactless technology  

Hospitality, especially the luxury segment, was traditionally a high-touch environment. With the pandemic, this is no longer viable, and an emphasis on contactless technology to facilitate operations has taken hold. Technologies are driving a boom in mobile apps’ deployment, facial recognition, motion sensors, voice-activated IoT devices and even robots to cater to our guests’ whims. Consequentially a goldmine of data is collected from these interactions, which, when used properly, can build lasting loyalty and, when not, can cause a scene straight out of Fawlty Towers. The increase of unstructured data also means more advanced analysis techniques will be needed to transform the data into insight.   

  1. Forgotten data sources no more.  

There is a marked increase in the number of requests for integrations with platforms besides the property management system’s traditional realm. This is the effect of hotels adapting to travel restrictions and pivoting to focus less on conventional rooms revenue and turning the spotlight onto auxiliary revenue streams such as F&B, Spa, MICE. Previously data from table management systems and spa management systems were disregarded but have risen in prominence as imperative to a profit strategy. This means more data sources need to be aggregated to complete the digital profile, thus leading to more data points to collect, store, manage, retrieve, archive and dispose of as data goes through its lifecycle. The need to use this data in real-time to adapt to market demand and shift tactics brings new challenges to the data landscape.  

  1. Rise of APIs  

APIs (Application Programming Interface) are here to facilitate the aggregation and to simplify connectivity between systems. This new bridge between platforms allows technology to work together, allowing for enhanced capabilities and a seamless experience for the end-user. For hoteliers, this means that if they work with the right companies or hire the right team, they will be able to take data from multiple sources or serve their data by reducing cost and manual work. This is an excellent opportunity for hoteliers to deliver innovative experiences for the guest as their information flows between systems straight to your team’s fingertips, making personalisation more painless than ever.   

  1. Privacy and security  

With all this data flowing about, the question of privacy and security appears inevitably across boardroom and dinner tables. Regulations on data privacy and protection are on the rise from national governments, placing increased scrutiny on businesses and how data is being processed. As is the case with PDPA in Thailand, Singapore and GDPR in Europe, it is just a matter of time until this reaches every corner of the world. The pressure is on as data controllers put Technical and Organisational Measures (TOM) to enhance security and prevent costly data breaches. Not only is there the possibility of severe financial penalties, but the loss of trust can lead to long-lasting repercussions for even the most storied of brands. Hoteliers will need to keep up to date with the latest developments in compliance requirements, so they are prepared when the authorities come knocking. Hoteliers need to remember that this is not purely an IT issue but fundamentally how an organisation deals with customer data as it is captured at every encounter.  

  1. Data. Visualised.  

Seeing is believing, which leaves hospitality professionals asking, “if data is the new currency, how can they see their value?” The answer lies with a rare and revered position in most hospitality companies, the Data Scientist! But data visualisation means that complex information that used to be processed in Excel can now be used and understood by everyone and with no manual work required to produce the same data daily. There is a strong belief that analytics and statistics are becoming core competencies for up-and-coming hoteliers. As executives ask for numbers served with a narrative side, those with storytelling capabilities will shine and what could be more convincing than an easily understood graph or chart generated from an intuitive tool.

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