Data is everywhere, and it seems everyone these days is on a quest for data. Information is power and it's treated as a valuable resource by most digitally-aware companies. According to Jaron Lanier, information is more important than physical labor.
Data is what allowed Google to launch Google Flight and become a dominant player in the Online Travel Agency market, overnight and without any prior experience in Travel. Data can literally make or break new business models. Data even gets presidents elected nowadays.
But at its core, data is just information. It is stored in various databases and is structured. It can then be accessed… or lost forever. Some have value, some are worthless.
Hotel managers are not technology people and are perhaps less primed to be data aware. They are already painfully aware that their industry could be further disrupted by the likes of Airbnb and other big data players. In most cases, they have never accessed their data.
Hotel IT infrastructures are outdated and error-prone. They tend to rely on various legacy systems and databases that do not communicate with each other. The data this ecosystem produces tends to be unstructured. Any attempt at plugging an off-the-shelf BI tool would be futile without a large data warehouse upstream.
At Boost-inn we sell software solutions to chains of hotels so we see a lot of hotels of different sizes with different operations, needs or even business models. However, all generate data. The first time we plugged to an average-sized chain of hotels, we had a bit of a revelation.
A small chain of 12 regional hotels in France generated data on more than 50,000 reservations per year. This small chain had data on 50,000 credit card holders per year. Compared to a large online retail platform this may seem insignificant but hotels are not online retailers; they are traditional service providers with physical assets and as such rely on foot traffic.