We live in a time when Big Data is increasingly used to provide solutions to today’s challenges, and in turn make businesses and organizations run smoother and more efficiently. As the amount of data that can is collected and processed rises, so do the expectations.

One of the most intriguing things about Big Data is its sheer ubiquity. Everyone uses Big Data: governments, the military, the financial world, healthcare, retail, and yes, even the hospitality industry.

As the article “Big Data and Real Expectations: What Can Your Business Get Out of It?” says, “Big data is a truly impactful innovation, and it will continue to evolve and prove its usefulness for virtually every industry on earth.”

Here’s a look at how hotels are using Big Data to improve their guests’ experience. Make sure to also check out “Tracking Customer Preferences Using Big Data” for more information on how this innovation can improve the hospitality industry.

Business Travel Vs. Leisure Travel
Big Data is all about finding patterns and trends, and applying this analyzed information to a hotel’s business model. For instance, business travelers have certain amenities and requirements that set them apart from the casual vacationer. By analyzing what dates guests check in and out, a hotel chain can see that, for instance, business travelers conduct fewer trips around the holidays.

On the other hand, that same data could show that families travel more around key holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as during the summer months. Armed with this information, a hotel can put together deals and features that cater specifically to whichever demographic happens to be the dominant one in any given month.

Families would be interested in things like pool availability, kid-related services, and family-friendly events and activities. A business traveler wants good Internet access, an easily obtained rental car (and a shuttle to get back and forth, if necessary), and information on local businesses that may be good places for a casual meeting.

As a further example, consider a chain that has several hotels in or around a major college town. Big Data analytics show a huge spike in reservations in early June, with lots of couples or families from out of state checking in. Now, what could possibly account for this? How about commencement? Armed with this knowledge, a hotel could make sure to have offers in place that caters to this particular clientele.

Where Is All Of This Information Coming From?
The beauty of Big Data is that it’s a large amount of information culled from a huge variety of sources (hence the whole “big” descriptor). This includes some downright old-school methods such as surveys, comment cards, and questionnaires. Naturally, the guests have to fill them out, and they don’t always do so, so …

There is the more modern information sources such as a hotel chain’s computer records, which have information on things like lengths of stays, what extra services or items were purchased, and other reservation information. This type of information even includes things like how the rooms were paid for; a hotel stayed that’s paid via a business’ expense account is a dead giveaway, for instance.

The Results
Regardless of whether a guest is a business traveler or family of four, there is a fundamental desire by the customer to be treated like a special individual with their own particular needs, which, of course, they want to see met. By gathering these terabytes of information together and processing them by means of data aggregation and analysis software, there is no limit to the number of unique personalized accommodations packages that can be generated and offered to prospective guests.

By providing guests with a tailor-made stay, based on past patterns of behavior, the hotel creates a happy customer, and that translates into a repeat customer, more often than not. And another Big Data success story is born!

This post was contributed by John Terra who been a freelance writer since 1985. His hotel needs are simple, and they usually involve access to good beer and a decent parking garage.

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