Good data is the hotel industry’s most valuable asset. Inaccurate, inconsistent and outdated information can impact data analytics, and lead to wrong decision-making, failed marketing strategies, and wasted time and money. Clean data is critical to enhance productivity and efficiency, improve pricing strategies, drive higher engagement, personalize the guest experience, and build customer loyalty. Data quality improvement processes such as data cleansing or data scrubbing have become essential for the hospitality industry to achieve these goals. As the data needs to be analyzed quickly, the data cleansing process can too complex and time-consuming to perform in-house. Outsourcing data cleansing is the best way for hotels to ensure high quality data, provide personalized guest experiences, and stay competitive.
Before going into the benefits of outsourced data cleansing services for the hospitality sector, let’s look into the biggest challenges with hotel data and the importance of capturing guest data correctly.
Major Challenges with Hotel Data
The main problems that hoteliers face with regards to data are as follows:
- Too much or too little data: Hotels collect big data with the aim to improve guest service and, in turn, increase guest satisfaction. One problem is that they often end up with too much data and no knowledge about what is valuable information. On the other hand, they can also end up with not having a sufficient amount of data which can lead to inconclusive results.
- Data is stored in different disconnected systems in different formats: It is difficult to consolidate hotel data in one central place as it is scattered among different closed systems. Even if the data stored in a database, it is found in different formats, which may contain errors, inconsistencies, and duplicates. Crucial information may be missing. To use data meaningfully, it must be accurate and updated in real time.
- Human errors: Data entry errors are rife in the hotel industry. Common errors include wrong information, data entered in wrong fields, invalid data, conflicting data, duplicate data, missing data, inconsistent formats, data outliers, errors in data conversion, and poor organization. Central data platform dailypoint™ analyzed 4.5 million guest stays and found a massive data problem in hotels: 68% of loyal guests had more than one guest profile, 18% of them had two profiles, and 14% had three or more guest profiles. Human errors and duplicates can prevent hotels from leveraging guest data to its fullest, the study noted.
- Lack of personalization: Personalization means serving customers based on their preferences. The hotel industry collects different types of customer data, including registration and payment data, but this information does not support personalization. To provide optimum personalized services, hoteliers need to collect data on guest preferences before they arrive.
- Security: When it comes to collecting big data, privacy concerns among guests is a major roadblock. While guests may be willing to share information, they often express concerns about how the data will be managed and used.
Importance of Accurate Guest Data
Having clean data is essential for hotels to engage their guests and drive higher revenue. Inaccurate, outdated and duplicate data can lead to inaccurate analysis and wrong decisions that can affect every aspect of a guest’s relationship with the hotel, starting from check-in to post-stay communications. Bad data wastes time and marketing dollars. According to a recent Forrester report, 21 cents of every dollar of media spend is wasted because of insufficient data quality.
Having an accurate demographic, social, behavioral, and transactional data increases hoteliers’ ability to:
- Understand consumer preferences
- Create targeted marketing campaigns
- Obtain deep insights to understand, engage, and convert current and incoming guests
- Create complete guest profiles and engage with them on one-to-one level
- Deliver more personalized communications and guest experiences based on their behaviors, preferences, and spending patterns
For the hotel industry, clean data means accurate capture of information such as full name, phone number, physical address, and email address of guests, their previous interactions with the hotel including total number of stays, stays in different properties of the group, and expenditure pattern.
Outsourcing Data Cleansing – A Practical Option for the Hotel Industry
To keep their data cleanse, hoteliers need to ensure that their entire team follows best practices when it comes to data entry. On the other hand, to cleanse a problematic database, the best option would be to outsource the task. With the huge volumes of data they collect, having an in-house team manage data cleansing can be time-consuming and costly. Errors can occur in various aspects – online forms filled in by guests, data provided by a third party, and data entry by hotel staff. An experienced data cleansing outsourcing company can help hotels standardize their database, validate the information, correct erroneous information, and add missing details. In fact, outsourcing, reduces costs, increases efficiency, and allows hotels to focus on improving their services. Data cleansing services cover the following:
- Analyzing the database to determine the problems and gaps
- Finding and correcting misspelled names, add missing email addresses, and remove duplicate names
- Updating guest profiles
- Helping to devise channel specific rules to create accurate guest-profile fields
- Consolidating all the data to provide a comprehensive, accurate view of each guest
- Support to monitor, maintain and optimize CRM
The benefits of choosing the right data cleansing outsourcing company are:
- The tasks of collecting, cleansing and enriching the data set are handled efficiently and quickly
- Ensures good data which reduces marketing budgets
- Offers scalability and flexibility to keep pace with market trends
- Allows leveraging advanced data cleansing technologies
- More time to focus on providing personalized customer experiences which can drive revenues
- Gain competitive advantage to stay ahead in the industry
Most business process outsourcing companies offer data cleansing as part of their comprehensive suite of services. Hoteliers should ensure that their outsourcing partner complies with the latest data protection rules to prevent breach of customer personal information data.