Data-driven management: applying the practices of large companies to independent hotels

In order to meet the demand for hyper-personalized travel, tourists are pushing the hotel industry, and particularly independent hoteliers, to reinvent themselves and offer their guests a personalized stay from A to Z.


Data-driven management: applying the practices of large companies to independent hotels ©Data-driven management: applying the practices of large companies to independent hotels

Tourism experienced an unprecedented earthquake with the COVID-19 pandemic and since then, travelers are not the same: they have changed their behavior! Tourists have different expectations with the center of this change: Humanity and authenticity. In order to respond to this strong demand for hyper-personalization of their trips, tourists are pushing the hotel industry and particularly independent hoteliers to reinvent themselves and offer their "guests" a personalized stay from A to Z. 


Maison Mère ©Maison Mère

Quality of welcoming thanks to the digitalization process

While hotel occupancy rates have jumped 14 points to 72.7% in the summer of 2022*, it is important for independent hotels to be prepared to receive tourists who are looking for authenticity and personalized attention during their stay. Equipping yourself with the right digital tools becomes essential to apply the best practices of large companies to the scale of a hotel. We are talking about live information feedback, standardization of the quality of the reception, the implementation of protocols and of course the training of the teams. A hotel that wants to focus on the well-being of its guests must have time to advise them, meet with them and offer them more than just a night's stay. For this, the ability to measure KPIs in real time is key. Hotel operations, once digitized, allow live performance metrics to be reported and teams are aware of them in real time.

If email recovery, customer satisfaction, or restaurant profitability drops on a certain day, it is immediately possible to see it, understand why and adjust. Concrete examples are the automation of yield management, i.e. the management of rates thanks to tools that change the range of room rates in real time according to the prices of competitors - after human validation - or anticipate the increase in demand and allow the hotel to perform better. There are also housekeeping tools that digitize the management of room allocations between teams for cleaning or accounting and administrative applications that link schedules, payroll, accounting entries, payments, that is to say, the monitoring of its cash flow directly. In other words, the digitization and semi-automation of processes allow the company to focus fully on welcoming customers.


Maison Mère ©Maison Mère

When data allows us to move from a functional offer to a hyper-personalized offer

The awareness of hoteliers is no longer to be proven, hotels are increasingly offering an experience to be lived and are no longer satisfied with just offering a bed. To elevate the offer made to curious and attentive travelers, each customer must be recognized and his or her preferences must be taken into account and the information broadcast in real time to the entire team. This hyper-personalization is no longer reserved for palaces, far from it... The data collected before, during and after the stay will be the differentiating element that will allow the hotel to live outside the walls with the creation of a loyal community. This is done upstream by collecting "pre-stay" forms and using tools reserved for hoteliers in order to target the customer journey as well as possible and collect as much information as possible on customers in order to hyper-personalize their stays with proposals for upgrades and sales of additional packages according to measured needs, as well as targeted emailings. This upstream research of customer preferences allows the receptionist to get to know the customer on arrival, and then to offer them a special treat in their room, such as their favorite flowers or a sweet or savory treat that they love. All this is automated and transformed into "palace" services with the knowledge of the habits and preferences of each person.

Chatbots on hotel websites are also a godsend for answering customers' requests directly but also for assisting future customers' reservations. This saves time for receptionists who can focus on the essential: welcoming the customer. During the stay, digital tablets are made available in the rooms with a web app branded with the hotel's colors to improve the customer experience and make additional sales: city guides, room service, online pop up store, or an online concierge service that refers to activities, restaurants, and attractive places according to themes chosen by the customer. And why stop there: applications offer podcasts on tourist sites and centers of interest, podcasts that are directly available from the customer's phone and that are triggered when travelers pass in front of the chosen location. All the work done upstream and the data collection also offers the possibility of broadcasting a welcome message on in-room TVs, a message that is often personalized according to the target (corporate, leisure, etc.) but also according to the period when evenings or events planned by the hotel will be broadcast on the TV, also thanks to software. And of course, the after-stay with the subjects of e-reputation and loyalty thanks to the collection of data, translations and responses to comments centralized on a global tool that will scan and bring up all the information in real time. Not to mention the newsletters and automatic emailings that allow you to promote loyalty programs and keep in touch with regular customers and new future regulars.

To differentiate themselves from the large hotel groups and survive, independent hotels have understood the importance of working differently: accelerating the digital transformation, which itself requires automation and data. All of this to better satisfy a new clientele in search of sincerity and encounters, without forgetting that the collection of data also requires an investment in tools to respect the privacy of customers. A challenge that some hoteliers have taken up with figures returning to normal (pre-pandemic) for the summer of 2022!

*Source: MKG Consulting study