Hoteliers Neglecting Analytics


Hoteliers (and others in the travel industry) stand to lose out on making the most of their relationships with customers if they do not improve their analytics.

Furthermore, companies cannot understand their markets when they fail to dive deeper into the mounds of data that a trip and a traveller produces.

This might be easy to say for Lennert de Jong, chief commercial officer of CitizenM Hotels, with just a handful of properties in six locations to oversee.

But the Netherlands-based hotel group is one of the current darlings of the hospitality sector, not least with how it tries to evaluate everything about its properties and guests, especially with its use of technology.

Speaking at the EyeforTravel Conference in London this week, de Jong lamented the current thinking in the hotel sector around the use of analytics.

He claims the current state of analytics is poor, with little actual analysis of the data made available.

For example, benchmarking of revenue and guest satisfaction is often carried out on only two sets of data points.

In addition, events elsewhere are often used as an excuse for poor performance or how to operate a property (he claims someone recently told him: “Brussels attacks seem to have an impact in Glasgow.”).

As a result of an apparent light-touch to analytics elsewhere in the industry, de Jong says CitizenM has integrated a substantial amount of time and effort into the discipline.

The future state of analytics, he claims, will include three major trends:

Hoteliers should collect and analyse new and a diverse range of data points.

New algorithms (many available off the shelf now) should be used to understand the processes and mechanics of how guests search, book and interact with a brand.

Information obtained from the data must then be integrated back into the “customer touchpoints”, such as websites, mobile applications and other channels.

The outcome of such an approach to analytics will likely result in “more rational decisions”, he says, with existing operational roles in a hotel inevitably having a new type of job profile.

One example that de Jong gives as to what the company does to understand its guests is with the monitoring of their social media profiles.

The company only takes an email address and name for each guest during the booking phase, de Jong says, but then uses a number of tools and some manual work to try and discover as much information as possible from publicly available information on social media profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter, et al).

As a result, CitizenM has been able to personalise the “guest experience” (welcome messaging, tailor service, etc) based on what it finds out.

The company discovered that the CEO of a major West Coast tech firm was a regular guest, so personalised its activity to the extent that the guest has now ensured that all his company’s employees use the hotel for their business trips.

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About Author

Tim is one of representasia’s co-founders and the company’s CMO. He has been in the tourism industry since 1992 and has worked in Paris, London, Saigon & Bangkok. He has a strong background in operations, technology, sales & marketing. Representasia is his second business venture, following his founding of a successful Vietnam DMC in 2009.

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