Unlocking Hotel Industry Potential: Data Standards and Open APIs

Picture this: you’re planning a dream vacation, browsing through countless hotel options online. You stumble upon a hotel that seems perfect—great reviews, stunning photos, and an unbeatable price. But wait, how can you be sure that the information you see is accurate and up to date? In the wild world of the accommodation industry, data integrity is a hot topic, and the need for standards has never been more crucial.

However, unlike the airline industry, which has a well-established global standard for tracking flights and managing reservations, hotels are still playing catch-up. This lack of uniformity in data standards poses a challenge for everyone involved, from hoteliers to travel agents and travelers like you and me. Imagine the chaos of exchanging data between different metasearch platforms, OTAs and bedbanks, each with its own format and rules. It’s like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded!

So far, the only way to solve this major issue was to develop mapping tools, with or without real AI to put some order in the mess. But are those tools sustainable in the long run?

Thankfully, industry experts are recognizing the importance of collaboration and the adoption of common standards. They advocate for a clear hierarchy that establishes a consistent approach to tracking hotel properties. It’s not about giving away free data, but rather about sharing and agreeing upon a common standard that can be used across companies. This would streamline data exchange, simplify analytics, and make it easier to gauge a hotel’s performance and determine the most effective promotional strategies. Note for data nerds like me: this would be a massive data governance project. Sign me in!

The impact of data standards and protocols extends far beyond just integrations. Companies like CWT emphasize that the bigger picture needs to be considered. While analytics plays a vital role, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Developing a user-centric view of data is key to shaping successful business strategies. By looking at the entire ecosystem of PMS data, CRM data, website data, and marketing data (not just the RMS!), hotels can optimize their marketing budgets and deliver more relevant user experiences. Google, a major player in the analytics world, strongly advocates for this user-centric approach.

Now, let’s delve into the pain points that hotels face when accessing insights through property platforms or CRM systems. These challenges highlight the urgent need for standardized data practices:

  1. Connecting Revenue Management (RM) and Marketing Teams: Effective collaboration between RM and marketing teams is crucial for driving revenue growth. However, disjointed systems and inconsistent data make it difficult for these teams to align their strategies. Implementing data standards would bridge the gap and foster better cooperation. Kill the silos!
  2. Creating an Optimal Pricing Strategy: Determining the right pricing strategy is a delicate balancing act. Hoteliers need accurate and up-to-date data to make informed decisions. With standardized data, they can analyze market trends, competitor rates, and historical data to optimize their pricing strategies and stay ahead of the game. Just avoid data from 2020!
  3. Creating Accurate Forecasts: Predicting future demand is an ongoing challenge for hotels. Accurate forecasting requires reliable data, including historical occupancy rates, booking patterns, and market trends. Standardized data practices would enable hotels to generate more precise forecasts, allowing them to allocate resources effectively.
  4. Understanding Your Base: To build a loyal customer base, hotels need a deep understanding of their guests’ preferences and behaviors. Standardized data practices would provide comprehensive insights into individual guests, corporate clients, and group production. Armed with this knowledge, hotels can tailor their services and marketing efforts to meet specific needs.
  5. Understanding Account Production: For hotels targeting corporate clients, understanding account production is essential. By analyzing data related to corporate bookings, including room nights, revenue, and client preferences, hotels can optimize their corporate sales strategies and cultivate stronger relationships with their key accounts.

The hotel industry is at a crucial juncture. Embracing data standards and implementing Open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) will revolutionize the way information is exchanged and utilized. It’s time for hotels, OTAs, and technology providers to come together and establish a common language that unlocks the full potential of data-driven decision-making.

So, the answer is clear: we absolutely need data standards in the hotel industry. By collaborating, sharing, and adopting a common framework, we can unleash the power of data, simplify analytics, and ultimately enhance the guest experience. It’s time to crack the code and pave the way for a more efficient and seamless future in the accommodation industry.

Thanks for reading!

Marcello Bresin