How is your approach to data science influencing hotel operations?

Marc Valentin: In hospitality, there is often a very limited ability to crossanalyse data, thanks to multiple, siloed legacy systems. This, in turn, limits the ability of hoteliers to make sense of it. The first thing we did was create an environment to merge and structure data in one place by building a data lake. We then brought in a team comprising data architects, analysts and business consultants to work with our hotel partners, helping them to integrate these myriad systems and extract meaningful information that they can act upon. We call this concept Hoist 360.

How does this help a hotelier?

Regardless of the size of their operation, hoteliers have several things in common. There are never enough hours in the day, but at the same time, they are pressurised to better understand their guests to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive environment.

Hotels are served by many third-party systems, each with their own interface and database – examples include CRM, PMS, SPA, online booking, maintenance, e-reputation, housekeeping, TV and internet systems. They were often never designed to interact particularly well. Data can be extracted from each of them, but this requires significant manual effort. Moreover, the quality of the output is often limited and what tends to happen in a high-pressure operational environment is that prioritisation moves elsewhere. The danger is that not analysing the data properly can directly affect hotel performance in the long term.

Hoist Dashboard is designed to put control back into the hands of the hotelier. It comprises one portal where all the relevant data is aggregated; it has one interface and a single sign-on, even for multiple hotels within the same group.

What are the security implications?

Hoist 360 and the Hoist Dashboard actually improve data security. We offer a fully managed, secure cloud platform with built-in redundancy, ensuring a high quality of service and availability. It operates in the most up-to-date cybersecurity framework supported by staff expertise and compliances. Gone are the days of generic usernames and passwords.

"In hospitality, there is often a very limited ability to cross-analyse data, thanks to multiple, siloed legacy systems."

Let’s contrast this with the situation many hotels find themselves in today. Securely managing access rights to multiple stand-alone systems is a significant task in itself; throw in the need to implement upgrades and patches, and this quickly becomes very inefficient and insecure.

What functionality should we expect to see?

First of all, hoteliers will be able to make accurate and efficient data-driven decisions through a single tool. This will make their lives easier, and help them focus scarce resources on developing strategies and implementing tactics to grow the value of their business.

Hoist Dashboard provides easy-to-read, customisable widgets that present KPIs and trends. The widgets provide drilldowns to different levels of granularity, allowing you to set alerts, and correlate diverse data sets. Added to this is comprehensive reporting, which covers a broad spectrum of services. Our reports enable you to filter data, schedule and deliver it via email in multiple file formats.

Hoist marketplace is a growing library of available interfaces, helping you drive your business forward. Furthermore, Hoist’s dedicated team of customer success managers is on hand to support hoteliers to better understand their businesses, guest preferences and the competitive pressures within their markets.

What can we expect next?

I’m excited about the benefits our industry will accrue from a data-centric and data-driven approach. In 2020, we are focusing on business intelligence and machine learning to enable dashboard advisory on a daily basis. As we get smarter, and integrate concepts such as AI, we will see a step change in capability. Once this sort of thinking was the exclusive preserve of large corporations, but it is my goal to facilitate data-driven decisions, unearthing business insights for all hoteliers. Ultimately, we all have the same fundamental needs.