As with most industries, the hotel industry is mainly using big data tools to improve marketing, better-targeted ads, predicting demand patterns, analyzing rates to name a few.
But what if we began applying some big data analytics to hotel operations? How could we improve hotel operations by analyzing hotel maintenance and housekeeping?
As a former engineer for Dane-Elec, I have been exposed to big data since the 1990s, long before it became a buzzword for marketing people. As I transitioned from Dane-Elec to starting my own company, I began building what now is a state of the art hotel housekeeping and maintenance tool that is now used in hundreds of hotels around the world. But I couldn’t have done it alone, I had the help of my trusted colleagues.
While, we’re overjoyed by how much help this is bringing to the hotel staff, including the housekeeping and maintenance teams, front desk personnel, and many other hotel employees, we’ve also been wondering, how could we use all this endless amounts of data to take it one step further and improve things more?
There is tons of information that can be used just by understanding the data.
For instance, managing one’s P&L and balance sheet, investing in renovations, are all actions that can be improved by understanding and using data.
RoomChecking is piloting functions that measure the lifespan of furniture, equipment, and consumables in hotel rooms. We are answering questions such as, how long will the light-bulbs last based on regular use? And, does changing to a cheaper brand actually cost less or will it cost more?
What’s even more remarkable is RoomChecking can provide hotels with predictive data based on the overall hotel history. We gather endless amounts of data, not only the age of the room's equipment, but we also incorporate the occupancy of the room. We remove the guessing out of when someone thinks an item should be replaced.
In this article from Herbert Mascha on Hotels Magazine, Herbert discusses the value of preventive maintenance for hotels. With a layer of data and systems in place this becomes not about static procedures but dynamic data based tasks generated at the right time.
By being able to understand the data accurately you are able to budget accordingly for these elements based on replacements and the frequency of the replacements.
But that’s just a small part of it.
The aim is to transform a hotel from doing random inspections to intelligent, data-driven ones.
It is customary in the hotel industry, if we discover something that isn’t right, then we fix it. But unfortunately, we discover too many of these issues from guests. How great would it be if the guests never had to find out about these issues because the system predicted it and sent a preventive inspection request to the hotel maintenance team?
Similarly, with housekeeping, we’ve covered this before in our Work Better, not Harder article. By using data mining and displaying this information to the right person, applications like RoomChecking can optimize work sequences enabling staff to do similar tasks grouped together. Meaning they can avoid carrying huge carts of all the possible equipment they may or may not need all the time.
The data permits us to optimize room cleaning sequence, enabling the housekeeping staff to clean similar rooms at once and even grouping staff to work together for certain tasks that require multiple people.
There is still a lot of work to be done in this field. Hotel operations, like all manual work, can be optimized allowing the staff to focus on the work that is critical and can remove wasted time and effort that can be done with a machine.
We’re only getting started, there is so much more we have in the pipeline. Hotels of every size will be able to benefit from it. Of course, larger hotels and chains will be able to see the biggest benefits, but even smaller hotels will see a huge benefit.
This isn’t just about profit and loss, it is about improving job satisfaction for all employees, which in return will improve guest satisfaction, and that’s where the real benefit comes in.
In summaryWe’re in a time where we can make very precise decisions using much more and reliable data than ever. As an industry for us to dramatically improve the guest experience in every hotel, we need to use technology to keep making those hotel stays magical for guests.