Managing the data that hotel chains store, aggregated and cross-referenced with other internal or external data sources, is the key to increasing competitiveness in a globalized market. Every company that sells directly to consumers has data, but in general, companies don't know what data they have or where it is. The challenge, therefore, is to know where the data is, how to manage it, and how to apply it to the marketing strategy.
It is essential to know what data we have, what it corresponds to, and how to combine it to draw conclusions. As hoteliers, we must be clear about what information is necessary to increase sales or monitor their status.
Hotel Revenue Management helps predict demand to optimize the sale of all inventory and make the most of prices, thereby maximizing RevPAR and the profitability of other areas and services within the facilities (TrevPAR). To offer personalized products at the right time and at a competitive price, both sales and marketing teams must handle the largest volume of reliable and up-to-date information in real-time and be prepared to react proactively, not reactively.
Undoubtedly, the challenge lies in maximizing and interpreting big data. To facilitate this task, there are many specific developments for the sector available on the market, such as reservation engines—usually not used as data collection tools, as data is typically extracted from the PMS (Property Management System)—CRM software, or channel managers, which serve to distribute inventory and prices by dates and conditions on various sales channels—Booking, Expedia, etc.—with a single shared quota among all operational channels. Similarly, property management systems (PMS) and reputation management programs, among others, are not typically used as tools for accumulating and querying data. In addition to these, there are a large number of APIs offered by technology companies, fintechs, and startups of all kinds to optimize daily operations and decision-making for hotel companies.
In the hotel sector, high occupancy is not necessarily synonymous with profitability. We must increase sales while increasing average prices. To be truly competitive today, any hotel chain is required to apply advanced revenue management techniques and strategies if it wants to see its business and its bottom line grow sustainably. The goal should not only be to increase sales but also to sell more at a better price.
What Is Hotel Revenue Management and What Is Its Purpose?
In the hotel industry, high occupancy doesn't always equate to profitability. To be truly competitive in today's market, it's crucial for hotel chains to apply advanced revenue management techniques and strategies that allow them to increase sales and improve average prices. While there is a wide range of hotel management technology available today, choosing the right software can be overwhelming and confusing without a clear understanding of some key concepts. It's essential to ensure you understand what each tool offers and what can be achieved with its assistance.
However, it's undeniable that the use of specialized software capable of generating custom reports and analyses can have a significant impact on the results of hotel businesses. By continuously monitoring and analyzing data, we can achieve desired outcomes.
The management and utilization of data that hotel chains accumulate (or should accumulate), combined and cross-referenced with other internal or external data sources, are essential to compete in a globalized market. As Maialen Carbajo, Google's Head of Travel for Spain and Portugal, stated during the 2019 Hospitality 4.0 conference: "Every company that sells directly to consumers has data, but in general, they don't know what data they have or where it is. The challenge, therefore, is to know where you have it, how you manage it, and how you apply it to your marketing strategy."
Understanding what data we have, what it corresponds to, and how to combine it to draw meaningful conclusions is essential. As hoteliers, we must be clear about what information we need to increase our sales or monitor their status.
Hotel revenue management helps predict consumer demand to optimize the sale of all inventory and maximize prices, which in turn increases RevPAR and the profitability of other services and facilities (TrevPAR). To offer personalized products at the right time and at a competitive price, sales and marketing teams must handle large volumes of reliable and up-to-date information in real-time and be prepared to take proactive measures rather than reactive ones.
Undoubtedly, the challenge lies in maximizing the use of big data and knowing how to interpret it. To facilitate this task, there are numerous developments specific to the industry available on the market, such as reservation engines (which are usually not used to accumulate data as they are extracted directly from the PMS), customer relationship management (CRM) software, and channel managers that distribute inventory and prices on different sales channels like Booking and Expedia, using a single shared quota across all channels. In addition to these, there is a wide range of APIs provided by technology companies, fintechs, and startups of various types that help optimize daily operations and decision-making in the hotel sector.
All these software solutions use big data to provide information, and some even offer analytical tools. However, because they are designed for specific types of information, obtaining a comprehensive view that includes data from all these sources and conducting a complete analysis can be challenging, as the available analytical tools often limit themselves to the data they generate.
While all these programs are valuable, using them without an analytical approach can lead the organization to miss the opportunity to gain a comprehensive view that enables informed strategic decision-making. Therefore, it's essential to seek the perfect tool that facilitates a global analysis and allows for drawing conclusions based on secure and reliable data from existing platforms in the company.
What Hotel Management Tools Are Available?
The current offering of hotel management technology is overwhelming and can lead to confusion and frustration if you don't have some clear concepts when choosing one program over another. We must make sure to understand what each tool offers and what we will achieve with its help. It's undeniable that with the assistance of specific software capable of generating custom reports and analyses, hotel businesses can significantly improve their numbers. Thanks to results control and constant data analysis, we can achieve the expected outcomes.
All these software solutions provide information based on big data. Furthermore, some even offer tools to analyze the data they generate. However, since these software solutions are highly specific to each type of information, it's challenging to obtain a comprehensive view that includes information from all of them for a general analysis, as the analytical tools they offer only analyze the information they themselves generate.
Although all these programs are highly valuable, using them without an analytical focus can lead the organization to miss the opportunity to have a complete view that allows for making sound strategic decisions. That's why it's important to try to have the perfect tool that enables a global analysis and allows for drawing conclusions based on secure and reliable data from existing platforms in the company.
Why Revenue Management Systems or PMS Are Not Complete Software Solutions
Today, the success brought by revenue management to tourist accommodation companies is well-known. Everyone uses them, although few really know what it's all about. Nevertheless, everyone boasts about doing it their way.
"We've purchased super modern software from a successful startup that practically does everything for us," some say. In the market, we find multiple offers of revenue management software, which is based on a series of algorithms that provide insights into the product's demand and, if the competition set is correct and the person interpreting the data knows how to do it, allows us to make future pricing decisions.
These revenue management software solutions come in various versions and prices based on the features you want to subscribe to. Almost all of them offer the same options:
Price comparison: allows configuring a competitive set to understand the prices of competitors, date by date, and by room types available.
Online reputation management: stores all customer reviews in one place and provides schemes and charts showing the evolution over periods and across review portals. Sometimes, they even provide information by departments.
Rate parity control: sometimes, these software solutions include this option, which searches for the product on all sales channels and sends notifications if any channel is offering cheaper prices than our website.
Calendar or hot dates: takes into account destination activities and events to determine which days we could offer our product at a higher price and sell it.
All these tools are very useful if the data is interpreted correctly. The information provided by a revenue manager can be used to make pricing decisions and devise pricing tactics for selling our products in the future. But what do we do after this point?
Most independent hoteliers, at the end of the season or year, sit down, calculate the total revenue, pay pending bills, and distribute the results. But do they know where these results come from? Do they have clear and segregated information to analyze the revenue of that year and make strategic decisions for the next year?
When we invest in online marketing, we become obsessed with knowing how to calculate the return on investment, talk to specialists, and seek information to compare online return on investment calculation methods. Why don't we also worry about calculating the results of our investment when we invest in revenue management software? It's simple; we believe the result is the money left in our pockets at the end of the season after paying our collaborators, but we don't analyze it.
Revenue management software facilitates decision-making when it comes to setting rates based on algorithms that provide insights into demand and competition. However, after a certain point, they are no longer useful for analyzing the decisions made. In other words, we can't see the results of these decisions.
That's why it's necessary to take into account production by distribution channels, understanding the commission percentages supported by each channel, knowing how much it costs us to sell rooms through one channel or another, taking into account the showcase effect that each channel offers and what it says about our brand. It's also essential to understand sales by buyer segments, not only by the nationality of our customers but by types based on the purpose of their trip, such as couples, families, business or leisure travelers, and groups. Knowing who our customer is, especially the most profitable one, who pays the highest room rates and consumes the most extra services besides accommodation, is crucial. We also need to analyze sales by room types, which rooms are sold the most, which ones are sold first, and how they are sold based on customer profiles. Perhaps we have products that only a certain type of customer consumes, and we're not maximizing their potential, or we're selling them through less profitable channels. The customer's buying method should also be considered. Nowadays, customers have many online tools for comparison before booking and prefer fast and straightforward booking methods. Do we know where our sales are coming from? Do we know the percentage of reservations that come in by phone or through mobile devices?
All these factors are not analyzed by revenue management software, although they are the analyses we need to determine if the work we have done has been successful and can allow us to make strategic decisions for the future, all to maximize our sales. Otherwise, why are we working?
Many may say, "We have a Property Management System (PMS) software, an internal hotel management program that contains all these variables and helps us analyze all these factors." Are you sure?
Today, the market offers countless PMS software options, and most of them claim to have a highly developed Business Intelligence (BI) that makes it easier for managers by providing graphs and analytics on key performance indicators (KPIs) showing the productive and financial evolution of the establishment. In theory, it's straightforward, and hotel chains with staff and resources to set up and configure these systems and functions can somehow establish this. But what do we find in independent hotels with fewer economic and human resources?
The vast majority of hotels don't even have customer segmentation configured. Many only know their nationality because it's a mandatory field to send traveler information to the relevant authorities. But have we configured segmentation based on the customer's travel motivation? Are receptionists adding this information to the PMS once they've checked in and know the customer's segment? Do we know through which channel reservations have been made? How many connectors do we have configured in the PMS? Are the channels well-named, or do we have duplicates, with each receptionist assigning them as they see fit? Do we differentiate between direct bookings received through the hotel's website and those received by phone or email? In many cases, when we extract analytical reports, the "without segment" or "without agency" fields have the highest percentages. That means we don't know who most of our customers are, and we don't know where most of our reservations come from.
PMS systems do not offer revenue management software capabilities; instead, they offer the export of some of the information stored in the system to Excel, providing a vast amount of data in numerical reports that often do not specify the fields from which the information is extracted. So, we have reports, but do we know how to interpret them? If we do, interpreting them involves the cumbersome task of deleting unnecessary columns, consolidating cells that contain the same information, and generating charts that accurately represent the information so we can draw conclusions.
There are very modern PMS software options that claim to offer highly developed BI with graphs and statistics on the main work pages to provide a clear idea of sales evolution. However, they may not even offer comparative data from the previous year for the same dates. Do they really analyze the data that matters to us? There are others that are basic but claim to be perfect for managing small establishments, saying, "Don't pay for software features your establishment doesn't need," but when it comes to analysis, they don't even provide the average room rates. Are we calling a program that records reservations and issues invoices a PMS?
A good revenue management software should allow us to analyze past data, provide statistics and results for sales channels, customer types, room prices, reservation lead times, occupancy rates, cancellation rates, sales by product type, production of extra services offered by the establishment, and more. We should be able to analyze this data separately and interconnected to understand the revenue sources and maximize them, while also identifying the least profitable channels or customers that are not in our interest. We'll know what restrictions we can afford to put on sale, which packages or services to include in promotions, and which services or products are challenging to sell, allowing us to analyze and optimize revenue.
Revenue management software should not only serve to investigate competitor prices, understand demand, and determine our online price parity but also help us understand the results. It should help us determine whether the decisions made were correct and allow us to improve our strategy and tactics for future seasons.
How to Choose the Right PMS for Your Hotel?
Selecting the right hotel management software for a hotel chain or individual hotel is a complex process that involves considering various factors.
During this process, numerous questions arise that don't have simple answers:
Will the software adapt to the specific needs of my establishment or chain? Once contracted and in use, will I have to pay for updates, additional applications, or features that were initially supposed to be included? Will I be left without support when problems or difficulties arise? Who uses it and has favorable opinions about it?
Currently, the market offers a wide variety of hotel management software, and new products are constantly being launched. As managers, we face the overwhelming diversity of options available, which only adds to the uncertainty when choosing the best software for our needs.
First and foremost, it's essential to have a clear understanding of your establishment's needs and to keep them well-defined at all times. Otherwise, when comparing different providers, you'll end up overwhelmed and unsure of what features each software offers.
Regarding the specific needs of the establishment, it's necessary to conduct a departmental analysis. Reservations management must be easy and intuitive. The software should be bi-directionally connected with the booking engine and the channel manager, enabling automated reservation management. This will reduce the workload at reception and minimize human errors through automation. Furthermore, it's important that each reservation includes fields that allow for sales analysis, such as the acquisition channel of the reservation or the customer segment to which the stay belongs.
In addition to reception, other departments should also be considered. It's crucial that the software includes features that make the housekeeping department's work easier, such as listings that show room statuses, checkouts, guests, and special requests. The cleaning staff should be able to mark rooms as cleaned in the system without the need to communicate with reception.
Regarding maintenance, the software should offer facilities like the ability to block rooms due to special agreements, as well as the option for reception to generate reports of specific room-related breakdowns with detailed descriptions. The maintenance department should be able to mark breakdowns as resolved, allowing for tracking the speed of solutions and extracting statistics to control service quality and problem resolution.
If the establishment has a bar or restaurant, it's essential that the tool allows waitstaff to charge orders to room accounts or facilitate communication between the restaurant and the kitchen. For example, waitstaff should be able to send orders to the kitchen (even split into different items) via a mobile device when taking the customer's order. Additionally, the software could offer stock control or warehouse management functions, allowing for the recording of purchases and more detailed control of production expenses.
PMS On-Premises or in the Cloud?
When choosing hotel management software (PMS), another important factor to consider is whether we want the program to be in the cloud or require physical storage on the premises. If the hotel needs top-level management to have real-time access to data from anywhere in the world, it is crucial that the PMS be in the cloud to ensure that the data is up-to-date and accessible to all authorized users. In the case of the program being on a physical device, periodic report delivery can be set up, but this data will be static and lose accuracy if accessed with a delay due to time zone differences or availability limitations. Statistics will be affected by bookings and cancellations, compromising their accuracy compared to results obtained from cloud-based software.
Key Aspects of a Good PMS Regardless of whether it's a small or large hotel, there are two fundamental elements we should demand from a PMS: a customer database and the ability to segment reservations.
On one hand, it is essential to have a CRM system or a customer database that allows for detailed tracking of who the customers are, the languages they speak, the channels through which they make reservations, the type of room they prefer, the selected meal plan, average length of stay, additional expenses, among other relevant data. The purpose of this analysis is to identify the ideal customer profile and provide personalized and tailored treatment to the most loyal customers, with the aim of retaining those who book through third parties and offering them an even more personalized experience.
What do we do? - Hotel Management Dashboards
The Hotel Management Dashboards tool was originally conceived as an environment that integrated a control panel to meet the information needs of various functional areas of hotel chains. However, it has evolved into a set of information services within a single environment.
The objective of this solution is to centralize in a single environment all the fragmented information silos that the hotel chain has at its disposal, whether external or internal, such as BeOnPrice, PriceSeeker, among others.
The solution consists of several modules that leverage different types of data. On one hand, internal data from the PMS can be used to display information about sales, purchases, revenue management, finances, personnel, among others. On the other hand, external data is exploited, providing information about reputation, the internet, air traffic, economic activity, and more. These two modules offer descriptive information about the chain and its environment. From here, we move on to advanced analytics, which uses both external and internal data to offer predictions that allow us to predict occupancy, optimize purchases, and more. The last module allows us to go a step further and generate applications with which we can capture data that we do not currently have, such as online check-in, tracking cleaning and disinfection, and more.
Revenue Management: This module analyzes the hotel's historical data, interprets trends, and calculates forecasts to optimize the sale of hotel units through the appropriate channels and with maximum efficiency in terms of commissions. It considers variables such as price, occupancy, and revenue, and allows enriching the data with information related to weather, holidays, events, among others.
Sales: This tool helps to track the budget more accurately and analyze sales (price, occupancy, and revenue). It allows monitoring the evolution of sales, comparing with the previous year and the budget by hotel, customer segments, time of year, and distribution channel.
Finance: It provides tracking of financial statements through profit and loss reports, balance sheets, cash flows, as well as financial and operational indicators for a more in-depth analysis of operational and structural finances.
Purchases: This module allows tracking and control of purchases, costs, and inventory levels for better forecasting of needs, cost efficiency, and supplier negotiation capabilities. Analysis can be performed by hotel, supplier, or cost center.
Human Resources: Provides tracking and analysis of key personnel-related indicators, such as employees per hotel, per room, per department, type of contract, among others. It also covers wage costs, turnover, absenteeism, and productivity.
Reputation Management: This module analyzes the visibility and reputation of hotels in digital media. It includes metrics such as overall ratings by departments or areas, hotel ratings, evolution, and comparisons with other establishments.
Marketing: This module allows customer segmentation and includes features such as an overview, RFM analysis (recency, frequency, monetization), and comparisons, acquisition channel, and key performance indicators (KPIs).
The main features of Hotel Management Dashboards are:
360º view in a single environment
High level of personalization
Low acquisition cost
Pre-built data model and reports
Adaptable to particular needs
Integrates to internal and external data sources
Software as a Service SaaS
Check how Hotel Management Dashboards in the following vídeo:
This tool overcomes some of the difficulties that have arisen in hotels after the pandemic. For example, it allows for monitoring the new times required for cleaning and disinfection, tracking online procedures, and more.
In the hotel sector, having accurate demand forecasts is crucial for profitability.
Thanks to the analysis of past and present data related to occupancy and rates, the hotel sector can make demand forecasts and determine which strategy or actions to follow to sell vacant rooms at the best price or increase occupancy.
Not only that, they can also determine through which distribution channels they will be more successful in selling them and with lower commissions, thanks to business scenario simulations and predictive analysis.
The functionalities provided by Bismart's hotel management solution cover everything from data acquisition processes to making forecasts using predictive analysis algorithms.
Data acquisition from both internal and external sources (occupancy, Average Price Rate (APR), RevPar, pick-ups, reputation, events, weather, holidays, competition...).
Data analysis (e.g., behavior in equivalent periods in the past).
Forecasting (predictive analysis of demand forecast).
Scenario simulation (what-if analysis).
Monitoring of results.
Likewise, thanks to the what-if analysis, hotels can simulate their possible strategies (lower rates, increase the availability of single rooms, increase the quota of rooms to a specific channel...) and evaluate the results they would obtain to decide which one is the most appropriate.
Other Tourism Management Tools
There are other ways to analyze the data generated by tourism, such as crowd analysis. The Crowd Management Center is a facial recognition system that allows for the analysis of crowds to alleviate them or propose alternative itineraries to tourists.
The solution serves various purposes, including preventing overcrowding and incidents at festivals, live concerts, sports events, and pilgrimage sites. It also enhances efficiency in managing spaces or administrative personnel and security forces in the city. For instance, office and museum or tourist attraction opening hours can be extended, or the police can be directed to manage traffic where necessary. Furthermore, through facial recognition, it can search for faces matching a database and identify individuals wanted by the police.
In conjunction with other systems like tourist guide applications or chatbots, this tool can be used to suggest the best routes for tourists to move around a city, avoiding queues and crowds. Bismart's Intelligent City Bot is available on Microsoft's AppSource.
Data analysis allows hotel chains to gather valuable information about customer preferences and habits, as well as data about competitors and the overall market. This information can be used to make informed decisions about pricing, offers, promotions, and marketing campaigns. Furthermore, data analysis can help identify growth opportunities and improve the operational efficiency of hotel chains.
In this regard, two technologies are particularly relevant for hotel chains in 2023: artificial intelligence (AI) and data integration.
Artificial intelligence has had a significant impact on the hotel industry in recent years and remains a key investment area for hotel groups. AI offers multiple applications in the sector, transforming how hotel chains interact with customers. By using chatbots and virtual assistants, companies can enhance the customer experience by providing quick and efficient responses to questions and requests. Additionally, artificial intelligence allows for personalizing the customer experience by offering product and service recommendations based on customer preferences and habits.
Another area where artificial intelligence is crucial is demand management. Hotel chains can use AI-driven predictive analysis models to forecast future demand and adjust their prices and offerings accordingly. This enables them to maximize occupancy and profitability by adapting to changing market conditions.
On the other hand, data integration is a pending task for many hotel chains. Although they use management software and analytical technologies, they often face challenges in integrating information. This means that information about hotel activity is interpreted at the departmental level, and data is not effectively shared to draw overall conclusions and define global improvement and change management strategies.
Data integration allows hotel chains to consolidate information from different sources into a single database, providing a comprehensive view of their business. By collecting data on reservations, occupancy, revenue, and customer satisfaction, hotel chains can analyze them more efficiently and gain a real-time global perspective. This helps them identify patterns and trends, which, in turn, support data-driven decision-making regarding pricing strategies, promotions, and operational improvements.
In summary, hotel chains should invest in technologies such as artificial intelligence and data integration to make the most of data analysis and make informed decisions. Artificial intelligence enhances customer interaction, personalizes the experience, and optimizes demand management. Data integration provides a comprehensive view of the business and facilitates real-time data-driven decision-making. These technological investments will help hotel chains enhance the customer experience, optimize occupancy and profitability, and remain competitive in the hotel industry in 2023.
How to Apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Your Hotel?
The impact of AI on the business world is undeniable, and 2023 has witnessed its growing relevance. In particular, the machine learning and deep learning model known as ChatGPT has garnered significant interest and contributed to making AI a hot topic in the public eye.
AI offers a wide range of possibilities and benefits for businesses in all sectors. While each sector has its own characteristics and needs, there are practical AI cases that are useful in any business context.
The service sector, and specifically the hotel industry, is one of the most benefited by the application of AI. While many hotel chains already use AI inadvertently, there are still areas where this technology can be further leveraged. AI is an abstract tool with tremendous potential, though its scope may sometimes be challenging to grasp. Nevertheless, it is one of the most promising technologies of the past century.
In today's highly competitive environment, hotel businesses need to stay one step ahead of their competitors to avoid losing market share. Investing in innovative technologies like AI can become an added value that sets a hotel apart and enhances the experience it provides to its customers.
Below, we will explore some of the possible applications of AI in the hotel industry that can make a difference in operational efficiency and guest satisfaction.
1. Occupancy Prediction: Artificial intelligence offers predictive analysis tools that are essential for forecasting hotel occupancy in different periods. Through predictive analytics algorithms, hotel chains can anticipate the number of bookings and room occupancy, enabling them to properly plan staffing, resources, and supplies. Additionally, predictive analysis also helps forecast the overall demand for services and sales outlets in each hotel.
2. Operations and Maintenance Management: Artificial intelligence plays a crucial role in the overall management of one or multiple hotels, offering solutions in various areas:
Staff Scheduling: By analyzing large volumes of historical occupancy and reservation data, AI can predict the amount of staff needed for each shift. This allows for optimizing staff scheduling, avoiding staff shortages or excess, and improving service efficiency and quality.
Energy Management: AI can monitor and predict energy usage in the hotel, optimizing consumption, reducing costs, and promoting more sustainable practices.
Predictive Maintenance: Artificial intelligence analyzes maintenance data from hotel equipment to predict when preventive maintenance will be necessary. This prevents equipment downtime and reduces repair costs.
Detection of Management Errors: Using techniques like machine learning and deep learning, AI can identify patterns and detect management errors. These tools enable the detection of common errors and alert responsible parties to prevent them.
Dynamic Pricing Strategy: Predictive analysis is essential for establishing a dynamic pricing strategy based on factors such as competition and forecasted demand. Hotel chains can use AI to adjust prices in real-time and optimize their revenue and financial strategies. Additionally, predictive analytics can also forecast inflation and consumer goods prices, helping optimize purchases and adapt to changes in the economic environment.
These are just some of the ways in which artificial intelligence is transforming the hotel industry, providing hotel chains with tools and insights to improve operational efficiency, optimize resources, and offer an enhanced customer experience.
3. Improvement of Customer Service through Chatbots: Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered chatbots are widely used in the hotel industry to enhance service and customer support. These tools streamline processes and extend guest assistance hours. Some applications of chatbots in hotels include:
4. Customer Assistance: Chatbots can answer frequently asked guest questions, provide information about the hotel, its services, and amenities, and offer recommendations for nearby points of interest. This enables 24/7 customer support.
Automated Reservations: Chatbots can also be programmed to accept room reservations and process requests related to hotel services. This automation streamlines the booking process and provides guests with the convenience of making reservations at any time of the day.
Payment Processing: Chatbots can facilitate payment processing, allowing guests to pay for additional services through the chat platform. This saves time and improves efficiency in the payment process.
Post-Stay Support: Chatbots can continue to offer support and address guest inquiries even after they have left the hotel. This contributes to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
It's important to note that chatbots do not replace human attention in hospitality but rather serve as complementary tools that provide quick and efficient assistance, freeing hotel staff to focus on delivering personalized service.
5. Sentiment Analysis for Continuous Improvement: Natural Language Processing (NLP), a branch of artificial intelligence, offers capabilities for sentiment analysis. Through NLP techniques, it's possible to analyze textual content, such as online reviews, and determine whether the expressed emotions are positive, negative, or neutral.
Sentiment analysis has various applications, including monitoring customer opinions on social media, tracking brand reputation, and detecting trends in public opinion. This allows hotels to gain valuable insights to improve service quality and make adjustments based on customer needs and preferences.
6. Customer Experience Personalization: Artificial intelligence plays a significant role in personalizing guest experiences in hotels. Some ways in which AI can achieve this include personalized recommendations and the use of voice and facial recognition technologies.
Personalized Recommendations: AI can analyze guest data, such as preferences, past bookings, and social media comments, to provide personalized recommendations. For example, it can suggest nearby restaurants that match guests' dietary preferences or recommend activities based on their interests.
Voice and Facial Recognition: AI can use voice and facial recognition to tailor the guest experience. For example, a facial recognition system can detect a guest's arrival and customize the welcome screen with relevant information. Likewise, voice recognition enables more natural and personalized interactions with the hotel.
Customer experience personalization is crucial for guest loyalty and differentiation in the hotel industry. Increasingly, guest satisfaction depends on intangible elements related to the experience, and artificial intelligence plays a key role in this aspect.
In conclusion, hotel chains are increasingly harnessing the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve both operational efficiency and guest experiences. AI offers these chains the opportunity to optimize their internal processes, such as inventory management and staff scheduling, resulting in significant time and cost savings.
In addition to its internal applications, AI also plays a vital role in personalizing the guest experience. Hotel chains can use AI to provide personalized recommendations, employ AI-powered chatbots, and leverage facial and voice recognition. These solutions allow hotel chains to enhance customer satisfaction and foster guest loyalty, positively impacting their business success.
As AI technology continues to advance, it is expected that hotel chains will continue to adopt these solutions to further improve their operations and provide increasingly personalized guest experiences. AI has become a powerful tool in the hotel industry, driving efficiency, customer satisfaction, and differentiation from the competition.
Challenges and Success Factors in Implementing a Hotel Dashboard
However, the development and deployment of a dashboard in the hotel sector is an ongoing process, as changes need to be implemented periodically to adapt to current circumstances and adjust performance indicators to new business objectives.
On the other hand, before becoming functional, a dashboard requires an adaptation period so that, after its design, professionals can ensure that its content, usability, and indicators are aligned with the company's strategy and are useful in assisting hotel directors in decision-making.
Engage the Management Team: It is essential for the hotel's management to participate in defining the dashboard in the initial and final stages of its implementation. Initially, this helps data scientists understand the information that should be included in the dashboard and the most importantperformance indicators and dimensions. After its design, senior executives should review the final product.
Proper Definition of Indicators: A correct definition of indicators is essential. It is not only relevant to choose the right indicators but also how they will be displayed and represented on the dashboard to make them easily interpretable.
Limit the Number of Indicators: It is important to stick to a limited number of indicators. If our dashboard is full of indicators and metrics, it will be highly complex to understand the key information.
Top-Down Approach: Dashboards should follow a top-down approach. In other words, they should initially highlight the most relevant information on a single screen and allow end-users to delve into the data if needed.
Data Quality: Before creating a dashboard, it is fundamental to ensure that the data to be represented meets established quality parameters. Without data quality, the information reflected in the dashboard will be of little use and may lead senior executives to make incorrect decisions.
Usability: In hotel management, dashboards serve the purpose of helping hotel directors make informed decisions. However, senior executives often have limited technical backgrounds and are not experts in data analysis. Therefore, it is crucial for our dashboard to incorporate optimal usability so that anyone can understand and navigate the information.
Smart Revenue Management: What Is It and What Is It Used For?
Despite appearances, in hotel management, high occupancy is not always synonymous with profitability. Nowadays, hotel companies must implement advanced revenue management strategies and mechanisms to stay competitive, increase their revenue, and achieve better long-term results.
The good news is that today, the technological offerings specialized in hotel management are endless. The use of the right software can help us better monitor our results, redefine our performance indicators and dimensions, and make better decisions to generate new business opportunities and adjust our current business strategies.
Conversely, choosing the wrong tool can have adverse effects. While the market is full of revenue management technologies, not all of them deliver efficient results.
The majority of tools on the market enable past-oriented analysis. In other words, they offer the possibility to analyze historical data and draw conclusions from them. However, advanced tools are currently being developed that incorporate predictive analysis and forecasting, allowing hotel directors to make future predictions and better adapt their budgets, campaigns, and strategies to upcoming trends. This is the case with Smart Revenue Management, a comprehensive hotel management solution developed by Bismart that enables data analysis and visualization, allowing users to integrate all key information for a hotel business. Revenue Management Dashboards is specific software for companies in the tourism sector, which deploys in a dashboard environment and combines artificial intelligence, data analytics, data science, and machine learning in a single API.
This solution gathers all available information from a hotel company—structured and unstructured data, stored in any type of source—and makes it functional. It integrates both internal and external sources and is compatible with systems like CRM or PMS. Bismart's hotel management dashboards enable the development of forecasting reports, predictive analysis, and simulations of possible future scenarios. All of this is achieved by applying optimal usability criteria so that any user, whether technical or not, can easily navigate the software.
Bismart is one of the few Microsoft Power BI partnersin Spain, and therefore, it designs and deploys all its dashboards with Power BI. This allows Bismart's BI team to prioritize that all dashboard solutions meet the technical, design, and informational requirements necessary to satisfy the specific business needs of each organization.
What should we consider before implementing such a tool?
Revenue management software for hotel companies can be complex platforms and challenging to manage. To avoid tool malfunction, adverse outcomes, or complications, it is essential for companies to consider these aspects when choosing a tool:
The Type of Software Currently in Use: What software the organization currently has, what needs it fulfills, and what areas are not covered and need to be supplemented by another technological solution. Also, it is crucial to ensure that the new tool to be deployed can integrate seamlessly with the existing software.
High Data Integration and Systems Integration Capability: Such software serves to meet the information needs of hotel executives. However, hotel chains often have large amounts of information spread across multiple sources (internal and external) and materialized in various data formats. Therefore, making sure that the chosen tool can integrate all available information and enable the system to work together with the company's other systems is an important consideration.
Usability: The complexity of revenue management software can sometimes mean that the company's staff does not know how to use it, resulting in the tool not delivering the expected results. Therefore, when choosing revenue management software, look at the level of usability and ensure that your team can work with it intuitively, quickly, and without issues.
Technical Support: The majority of specialized tourism software solutions available in the market come from the United States and, therefore, do not include technical support options in languages other than English. In contrast, Bismart offers comprehensive technical support in Spanish, full assistance during the implementation of the solution, and the option of follow-up once the tool has been installed, tested, and verified.
How to Choose the Ideal PMS for Your Hotel?
Choosing a PMS (Property Management System) for a hotel chain or a tourist establishment is not an easy task, as multiple factors must be taken into account in the decision-making process. These factors include whether the system meets the company's business needs, its maintenance costs, scalability, adequate technical support, and more. Furthermore, the choice becomes complicated at a time when the market is flooded with technological tools specifically designed for hotel management.
First and foremost, it's crucial to have a clear understanding of our needs, what we want to improve or resolve, and to define business objectives related to the implementation of the tool. Thus, we should create a list of issues to address, which we can then transform into the essential features we need our PMS to have. This will make negotiations with providers much easier because we will have a clear understanding of what we need and the essential features we cannot compromise on.
To accurately define our company's needs, it's recommended that each department conducts a specific analysis of the requirements or areas for improvement in their respective areas of the business. This way, we can ensure that we are meeting the requirements of the entire company without leaving any department out.
Regarding departmental management, in addition to having the ability to integrate all systems related to reservation management, it's crucial for a PMS to allow sales analysis and streamline housekeeping tasks through lists that reflect check-outs and check-ins, the status of rooms, and more. This way, the housekeeping team can indicate which rooms are clean without having to contact reception.
Regarding maintenance, it's useful for our PMS to allow us to identify rooms that have been blocked and for the reception team to generate reports in case a room experiences a malfunction. This enables the maintenance department to mark the issue as resolved once it's fixed. All of this greatly streamlines the work of all departments and assists the management team by extracting reports on the activities of all departments.
What Essential Aspects Should a Good PMS Cover?
Among the most basic factors that any effective PMS system should cover is the ability to maintain a customer database and the possibility of segmenting reservations. Both aspects provide us with information about who our customers are and help improve our commercial offerings, value proposition, customer experience, and campaigns.
Cloud PMS or On-Premise?
Another major question when choosing a PMS (Property Management System) is whether to opt for a cloud-based solution or an on-premise service. Nowadays, cloud integration offers possibilities that physical establishments cannot meet. If our PMS is in the cloud, hotel managers can access the data in real-time from anywhere in the world. One of the great advantages of the cloud is automation. In the cloud environment, data is updated automatically, which streamlines access to information at any time.
Avoid Mistakes in Your Hotel Management with the Right Technology
Despite being in the midst of the technology and data era, some hotel companies are still not harnessing the potential of technology to optimize their operations. The most common case is companies that still do not have an automated and efficient reservation management system.
In fact, it's the hotel chain directors themselves who claim that managing their reservations requires multiple software solutions: one for the booking engine, another for inventory management, one for channel managers, and a PMS (Property Management System). The problem is that these software solutions are often not integrated, making it impossible to have comprehensive reservation management, which results in manual processes, consuming a significant amount of time and increasing the likelihood of human errors. Additionally, relying on so many different software solutions to manage one aspect of business activity generates additional costs and represents a significant waste of resources.
If your PMS is not integrated with the reservation software, reservations won't be automatically applied to the system; they'll be received via email, and someone will have to manually enter them into the PMS. Moreover, the customer may not receive an immediate reservation confirmation, requiring you to generate a document manually, which, once again, has a high probability of errors.
However, technology has advanced considerably, and nowadays, there are data technologies that prevent errors in hotel management. This is where 360-degree software comes into play. It's a comprehensive hotel management tool that integrates not only the PMS but also the booking engine, inventory manager, and channel manager. Integrating all systems into a single software solution is the only effective way to avoid these types of errors in your hotel's management.
Furthermore, it's essential to have analytical tools that provide a comprehensive view of all available data assets. This allows you to identify potential pain points, areas for improvement, inefficiencies, and optimization opportunities. The best way to achieve this is through hotel management dashboards that gather the information needed to make better decisions and fully satisfy your information needs.
In a hotel or any other type of tourist establishment, data generation is continuous and cross-sectoral. This means that data is produced in various departments and locations within the hotel, and it occurs continuously. It's not just data relevant to the hotel chain's own operations but also data about customers, which, when properly handled, can be of great help in optimizing the strategies and actions of the sales and marketing teams. For example, this data can be used to generate personalized offers and campaigns.
If all hotel employees have direct access to platforms like Microsoft's Power Apps from any device, it significantly streamlines work because the tool automatically records any actions related to a reservation. This gives us a historical data record that we can use to gather information about customers, their stays, booking patterns, and more. All of this, in turn, promotes internal communication among all employees because any hotel staff member can access data from other departments and better manage their work based on a collaborative strategy.
In conclusion, it is essential for hotel chains to turn to cutting-edge technologies specialized in the hotel sector to enjoy the facilities, resource and cost savings, and error reduction that these types of tools provide. This will not only benefit the hotel chain but also its customers, as a comprehensive analysis strategy allows us to optimize the customer experience and provide better service to consumers.
Customer Experience Personalization in the Hotel Industry
Customer experience has become a fundamental strategy for any business, and the hotel industry is no exception. Data analysis and technological advances make it much more feasible today to create satisfying and personalized customer experiences. By analyzing customer data, we can generate numerous personalization actions to ensure that each of our guests enjoys a unique and personalized experience based on their interests, tastes, and preferences. In this sense, personalizing the customer experience in the hotel industry has enormous potential and can be the key to differentiation from competitors and the enhancement of our value proposition.
Personalization strategies start with the data we have about our customers. Fortunately, the hotel industry is one of the sectors that generates the most data about customers automatically. For example, a hotel's front desk manages a huge amount of data about customers that can be used to better understand the profile of guests who come to our hotel, the types of customers we have, and how each one behaves so that we can adapt our service and offer services to their specific needs.
In this regard, comprehensive reservation management applications constitute the largest source of customer-related data generated by a hotel chain or tourist establishment. These tools provide information about the duration and timing of stays, the number of people per room, the type of room chosen, the reason for the stay, and more. With all this information, we can segment our customers into various profiles or clusters to, for example, send them promotions, offers, and content that is of interest to them and aligns with their needs.
The use of chatbots is also one of the advanced options for managing customer data and offering personalized experiences. Additionally, nowadays, you can even install a program that manages the Wi-Fi network of your establishment. One of the first actions a guest takes upon arriving at a hotel is to connect to the free Wi-Fi network. If you have a Wi-Fi network management program, when the customer logs in, they will be redirected to a web page where they will be asked to identify themselves. The basic information already available to the front desk team can be supplemented with questions about their trip or stay to subsequently tailor the service to their expectations.
In any case, technology today offers endless possibilities for personalizing the customer experience in the hotel industry, and hotel chains must take advantage of them.
How to Improve Your Hotel's Occupancy
Predictive analysis and machine learning techniques offer great potential to help businesses optimize their operations, strategies, and resources. In the context of hotel chains, the application of these technologies can be highly beneficial in predicting occupancy, enhancing the customer experience, and increasing the capture of potential customers, among other advantages. Here's how you can improve your hotel's occupancy rates using machine learning and predictive analysis.
Artificial intelligence has been an integral part of the business landscape for some time and has brought about massive changes in various industries. From more accurate predictive data analysis to innovations in machine learning, AI has made a real difference for numerous companies worldwide.
The hotel industry has not been immune to this trend. More and more hotels are adopting various AI-driven tools to manage their daily tasks. In this regard, there are many ways in which a hotel chain can harness artificial intelligence, but in this case, we'll focus on using predictive analysis and machine learning to improve hotel occupancy.
But what exactly are predictive analysis and machine learning?
Predictive analysis, also known as predictive data analysis, uses statistical and modeling techniques to make predictions about future events. By examining current and historical data, predictive analysis can identify patterns likely to repeat in the future. With the help of predictive analysis, businesses can make more data-informed decisions, plan strategies, allocate resources more intelligently, improve operational efficiency, and reduce risk in their operations, among other benefits.
On the other hand, machine learning, a field related to artificial intelligence, computer science, and data science, uses data and algorithms to mimic the human learning process. Through machine learning, algorithm-based programs can make more accurate predictions and recommendations, enabling companies to improve their growth metrics and achieve other improvements.
In the case of hotel chains, both technologies can make a significant difference in optimizing occupancy rates. Below, we'll explore how they can be applied in this context.
1. Customer Experience Personalization: First and foremost, predictive analysis and machine learning are key tools for improving the customer experience in the hotel industry. These technologies enable the personalization of each customer's experience based on their preferences, needs, and individual expectations. By analyzing large volumes of data (Big Data), even with limited resources, we can provide special treatment to customers. Predictive analysis relies on historical data to identify patterns in customer behavior and offer them the best-personalized room, services, and tailored offers. In some cases, it can even anticipate customer needs before they identify them themselves. It's essential to analyze the behavior of different types of guests after check-in and adjust our services accordingly for future customers.
2. Dynamic Pricing Models: Similar to customer experience personalization, we can use dynamic pricing models. While many customers seek to get the best room at the lowest possible price, we know that this is not always the best option for the company. Through data analysis, we can better understand what prices our audience expects for different types of rooms and services.
In this case, it's advisable to seek specialized guidance from consultancies to develop an effective pricing analysis strategy. Once our pricing model is optimized, we can collect data on how guests react to these prices. It's important to remember that dynamic pricing models should be regularly updated and adapted to reflect changes in the market and customer expectations.
Improved Customer Service: Customer service is crucial for creating personalized experiences. Machine learning makes it easy to enhance customer service and provide better service to future customers.
Harold Miller, a technology and data analysis expert at Topwritingreviews, points out: "A well-known example of how artificial intelligence can be used in customer service is chatbots. Many companies use chatbots to instantly communicate with customers when they visit the company's website or social media. Similarly, hotels can respond more efficiently to customer inquiries by using chatbots, leading to higher customer satisfaction."
3. Enhancing Marketing Strategies: In addition to customer service, marketing is also crucial. Fortunately, predictive analysis and machine learning are ideal technologies to take our marketing strategies to the next level. An effective marketing strategy relies on data collection and analysis, as information about our customers, products, services, and the market plays a key role in implementing successful marketing actions.
For example, by analyzing lead generation statistics from our campaigns, we can gain insights into which campaigns have the greatest impact on our customers. We can also use different retargeting techniques to generate more leads. Moreover, predictive analysis allows us to predict the number of reservations we will receive in a given period, allowing us to adjust our actions and campaigns based on demand.
In which technologies should hotels invest to improve occupancy?
Making appropriate investment decisions during a period of transformation presents challenges.
Here are four recommended areas of investment for the hotel industry in 2022, based on our experience working with multiple hotel chains.
1. Investment in Customer Knowledge: Nowadays, knowing your customers or potential customers should be a priority for any business, especially in the hotel industry. Technological advancements and cultural and social changes are influencing customer preferences and expectations. Having solid customer-related data and data analysis is essential to tailor services and exceed customer expectations.
To achieve this, it is recommended to invest in:
Data analysis and technologies for tracking and analyzing guest behavior.
Customer lifecycle strategies.
Customer segmentation to offer personalized services and attention.
Customer experience personalization and digitization.
2. Digitization and Data-Driven Culture: Digitization remains a significant challenge for hotel companies. While some hotel chains offer digitized services, overall, the hotel industry lags behind in terms of digitization and developing a data-driven culture that supports data-informed decision-making.
It is essential to invest in:
Technological solutions that leverage data and enable reporting, data integration, data governance, data management, and data quality.
Analytical environments that facilitate comprehensive analysis and data-driven decision-making.
Technology and digital training for employees.
Digital marketing strategies.
3. Data Integration: The lack of data and system integration is one of the most significant obstacles in the hotel industry to fully leverage available data. Hotel chains often work with specific management software and analytical technologies, making it difficult to obtain a complete view of activities and make informed decisions.
It is recommended to invest in:
Comprehensive analytical systems that provide an integrated view of reality and meet the information and analytical needs of hotel chains.
Systems that allow managing the activities of all functional areas of one or multiple hotels from a single place.
Analytical systems that prioritize data cross-referencing and cross-analysis.
4. Predictive Analysis: Predictive analysis, especially in predicting room occupancy, is a valuable tool for hotel chains and companies. It allows predicting room occupancy and overall service demand, facilitating strategic planning, operational efficiency, and customer satisfaction.
It is suggested to invest in:
Applying predictive analytics and machine learning techniques to predict room occupancy and service demand.
Using these predictions to optimize resources, plan strategically, and increase the profitability of each customer.
In summary, investing in customer knowledge, digitization, data integration, and predictive analysis can significantly improve hotel occupancy and provide a competitive advantage in the hotel industry.
The Spanish Hotel Sector in Data The Spanish Hotel Sector in 2022
The tourism and hospitality industry has faced one of the most challenging times in its history due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in massive losses worldwide.
According to data from the United Nations:
In the last two years, the tourism sector has suffered a loss of 4 trillion dollars.
Hotel room revenues decreased by 53% in 2020.
However, it is expected that by 2022, hotels in the United States will return to generating the same revenues as before the pandemic, according to the international consulting firm McKinsey.
After going through one of the toughest periods, 2022 has emerged as the first year of recovery for the global hotel industry.
State of the Spanish Hotel Sector in 2022 Alimarket has published its annual report on the state of the Spanish hotel sector in 2022.
According to the Alimarket Hotels Census at the beginning of 2022, the nearly 600 hotel groups in Spain have shown an upward trend, experiencing a 1.7% increase in terms of accommodation units. These groups represent almost 73% of the total supply, consisting of 6,938 establishments and 825,081 rooms.
Both national and international operators and investors are taking advantage of the post-COVID recovery in the Spanish hotel sector to establish themselves in the market, which remains attractive.
Improvement in Domestic Demand in Spain
During the summer of 2021, there was a significant increase in domestic demand in Spain. According to Exceltur, tourism activity improved, reflected in a tourism Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 42.632 million euros between July and September. However, it's important to note that this figure represents only 73% of what was achieved during the summer of 2019.
Regarding the major Spanish hotel groups (Meliá, Barceló, Eurostars, Marriott, Hyatt, Accor, and NH), there was a relative improvement in the tourism sector in 2021 due to a significant increase in domestic demand and hotel occupancy in Spain. As a result, tourist destinations that mainly rely on Spanish visitors benefited more.
During the first half of 2021, residents were close to regaining the volume of travel and overnight stays from the same period in 2019, with a 17% decrease. Even some travel categories, such as visits to family and friends, were almost at the same level as in 2019 (-4%).
However, data on overnight stays in hotel accommodations until October showed a more modest recovery. Residents made over 78 million overnight stays in the first 10 months of 2021, representing a 65% increase compared to the same period the previous year, but still only three-quarters of the volume recorded in 2019.
Slower Recovery of International Demand
While domestic demand approaches pre-pandemic levels, the recovery of international customers progresses at a slower pace:
In 2021, the number of foreign tourists visiting Spain represented only one-third of the values recorded before the pandemic. Up to October 2021, Spain received 24.83 million international visitors, a 40% increase compared to the previous year, but only one-third of the 74.55 million who arrived in the first ten months of 2019. Additionally, the spending of international visitors in 2021 amounted to 27.526 million euros, representing one-third of the 81.838 million recorded in 2019 (INE).
Regarding the overnight stays of international tourists in Spanish hotel establishments, there were nearly 66 million stays until October 2021, a 70% increase compared to the pandemic year but still 67% below 2019 levels.
The recovery of international tourism has been hindered by international travel restrictions, the lack of common requirements across different countries, and efforts by various European governments to promote their own tourism sectors.
Significant Role of Public Resources
Currently, hotel groups in Spain are using various mechanisms to recover from the crisis caused by the pandemic, such as public aid and maintaining prices. These mechanisms have been implemented at both the national and regional levels to support the recovery of the tourism sector.
Among the most relevant support measures are the loans guaranteed by the Official Credit Institute (ICO) and temporary employment regulation files (ERTE). ERTEs have allowed hotels to adjust their staff according to demand, avoiding mass layoffs. Although the number of employees in the hotel sector has increased compared to the previous year, it is still below pre-pandemic levels.
In addition to public aid, hotel groups are also looking to benefit from European Union funds aimed at economic recovery. Some hotel chains have expressed interest in promoting the renovation and repositioning of tourist destinations, while others have formed economic interest groupings to access European funds for digitalization, sustainability, and internationalization projects.
To maintain recovery in future seasons, hotel groups have chosen not to reduce prices to avoid losing margins. Despite the crisis, they have managed to maintain average revenue per available room (RevPAR) at levels close to 2019. However, the hotel supply is still below pre-pandemic levels, indicating that recovery is still ongoing.
Increase in Accommodation Units
As for the landscape of hotel establishments in Spain, there has been a slight increase in the number of accommodation units. According to the Alimarket Hotels Census, in January 2022, there were 6,820 hotel establishments with a total of 818,336 accommodation units, representing a 0.9% increase compared to the previous year. Additionally, 130 new hotels were opened in 2021, adding 7,762 accommodation units to the Spanish offering.
Sales and Acquisitions
During 2021, several hotel property sales and acquisitions took place, both to balance the accounts of hotel groups and due to the interest of investment funds. These operations were driven by the need to obtain liquidity after nearly two years of the pandemic. Notable cases include the sale of the Tenerife-based "Las Dalias" hotel by Iberostar to a Starwood Capital fund, and the purchase of five vacation assets by Sixth Street, which will be added to Pierre & Vacances' catalog. Significant hotel transfers have also been recorded, such as Brookfield Asset Management's acquisition of control of Selenta Group and the purchase of eight Meliá Hotel establishments by the Victoria Hotels & Resorts fund, created by Bankinter and managed by GMA Corporate.
One of the most prominent acquisitions in the global hotel sector was the purchase of Apple Leisure Group (ALG) by Hyatt Hotels Corporation, a U.S.-based company. This operation, announced in August and formalized in November, had an approximate value of 2.7 billion dollars and included both the hotel division and the travel and technology solutions divisions of ALG. With the addition of the AMResorts hotel brands, Hyatt was able to significantly expand its presence in the resort vacation segment, especially in the European market where it had limited presence before.
Before the acquisition by Hyatt, ALG had relocated its hotel division to Europe at the end of 2018 by acquiring a majority stake in Alua Hotels & Resorts. Since then, ALG executed a rapid expansion plan that included adding 30 new hotels and over 7,000 rooms in Spanish vacation destinations during 2020 and the first half of 2021 through agreements with local specialized operators and international investors. This expansion plan facilitated the growth of the "Alua" brand, which was also acquired by Hyatt, and the arrival of other ALG brands present in the Caribbean to Europe, such as "Secrets," "Dreams," and "Zöetry."
The acquisition of ALG has positioned Hyatt among the top five hotel groups in Spain, alongside the also American Marriott. In addition to this acquisition, Hyatt has taken several steps forward in the Spanish market with its own hotel brands, such as "Hyatt Centric," "Hyatt Regency," "The Unbound Collection," "Destination," and "Thompson."
The Structure Remains
Despite Hyatt's rapid entry into the Spanish hotel market, the structure of the sector remains largely unchanged. Meliá Hotels continues to lead the sector, followed by Barceló and Eurostars. Meliá has launched a new line called "Affiliated by Meliá," aimed at independent hotels or small and medium-sized groups, with the goal of respecting their unique characteristics. They have also introduced "The Meliá Collection" for the luxury segment and introduced a new brand called "Áurea" under the Eurostars Hotel Group brand.
Another significant change in the Spanish hotel market was the rebranding and commercial name change of Hiperion Hotel Group, now known as Vibra Hotels, and it is gradually integrating all its establishments under this new name. Silken Hoteles also unveiled a new corporate identity with the aim of highlighting its characteristic as "hotels with personality, destinations in themselves." The company has growth plans for 2022, with the addition of three new construction projects in Estepona, Tenerife, and Platja d'Aro.
In summary, these changes and acquisitions reflect the efforts of hotel companies to adapt to customer needs and preferences and maintain their competitiveness in the market.
The Spanish Hotel Sector in 2023
The current state of the hotel sector in Spain in 2023 shows signs of recovery, according to a recent report by Alimarket. The report highlights several key data points that demonstrate progress in the sector, surpassing 2019 levels in some key areas.
We present the 10 most relevant data points from the report, which is also available for download, providing a more detailed and visual version.
👉 Download the report: "Spanish Hotel Sector 2023."
Below, we provide a summarized version of the 10 most important insights from the Spanish hotel sector in 2023.
1. Significant increase in both domestic and international tourism. In 2021, the tourism sector in Spain began to recover, marking the first year after the pandemic in which domestic tourism showed an upward trend. However, international tourism was still lagging behind.
In contrast, in 2022, both domestic and international tourism experienced solid growth, despite the increase in accommodation prices:
In May 2022, at the beginning of the tourist season, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for accommodations increased by 50.5% compared to the previous year.
2. Tourists and guests spend nearly the same as before the pandemic. During the first half of 2022, Spanish tourists and guests spent €18,702.4 million, representing a year-on-year increase of 144% and 94.7% of the figure recorded in the same period in 2019.
On the other hand, foreign visitors spent €76,433 million in the first ten months of 2022, a year-on-year increase of 176.9%, reaching 93.4% of the spending recorded in the same period three years earlier.
These data confirm that tourists and guests are spending nearly the same amount as before the pandemic.
3. Spanish hotel chains dominate 72% of the market. The steady growth in market share has been a strong indicator of the recovery of the Spanish hotel sector since 2020.
In 2023, hotel chains in Spain are set to reach a market share of 73%.
4. Tourism GDP surpasses pre-pandemic levels. During the third quarter of 2022, the Tourism Gross Domestic Product (GDP) exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time, with a 2.7% increase compared to the previous year.
Furthermore, according to the Hotel Sector Barometer, operating revenues have also shown an increase and now exceed 2019 figures in key indicators such as Average Daily Rate (ADR) and Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR).
However, the increase in operating revenues has not translated into higher profits for the country's hotel companies due to the inflation of the past year.
5. Occupancy rates increase by over 70%. In 2022, hotels in Spain reached an occupancy rate of 68.3%, representing a growth of 70.8% compared to 2021. However, the average occupancy still hasn't reached the levels of 2019, which hovered around 76%.
6. Growth of the accommodation sector in Spain by almost 2%. The recovery trend has been reflected in the increase in the accommodation sector in Spain, with growth of 1.7% in the last year.
Specifically, in 2023, the 591 hotel chains present in the Spanish market, both national and international, have more than 4,584 establishments and 600,159 rooms.
7. Changes in property and management towards franchise and light management models. Hotel groups in Spain have a significant presence of owned and leased properties, representing 83.96% of the total in 2023.
However, compared to previous years, there is a growing trend towards light management and franchise models, which already constitute 16.04% of accommodation units in 2023.
The largest hotel chains are the ones adopting these formulas to a greater extent, as they are preferred options for larger and more professional business structures, as well as international companies. The top 10 hotel companies in Spain have 63.3% of their accommodation units in ownership and lease, while 36.7% are under management and franchise. Foreign groups such as Hyatt, Marriott, Accor, or IHG, have 89.7%, 94.5%, 97.3%, and 100% of their rooms, respectively, under these lighter models.
Regarding Spanish companies, Meliá Hotels International, the undisputed leader in the national market, has strongly embraced "asset light" assets since the pandemic. Of the 27 new openings during the first nine months of the year, all were under management or franchise. They also created the "Meliá Collection" brand to accommodate these formulas. Between January and October 2022, the chain signed 28 projects, all under management and/or franchise.
On the other hand, other major operators in Spain such as Best Hotels, H10, Globales, Hipotels, Grupotel, Paradores, Allsun, and Princess, stand out for opting exclusively for ownership or leased models.
8. Increase in accommodations with amenities and a focus on luxury. Another notable trend in the past year is the evolution of accommodation categories towards greater amenities. Travelers increasingly value elements related to the customer experience, leading to an increase in offerings of holistic experiences.
In this regard, emerging consumer demands are reflected in accommodations with more amenities and a focus on the guest experience by hotel chains.
9. New openings continue at a steady pace. The year 2021 was notable for the number of openings that took place, with a total of 163 openings. This increase is partly explained by the openings that were scheduled for 2020 and were delayed due to the pandemic.
In 2022, there were 114 new openings, a slightly lower number than in 2021 but still maintaining the growth trend. These 114 new accommodations added 8,141 rooms to Spain's accommodation inventory.
In terms of destinations, the province with the highest number of openings in 2022 was Madrid, with 18 new accommodations and 1,933 rooms. Additionally, the Hyatt Group led the openings with the launch of 'Dreams Calviá Mallorca' (4E-391), the first luxury hotel of this brand in Spain and Europe.
10. New operators and brands focused on the experience. Finally, the arrival of new operators in the Spanish hotel market demonstrates the growth of establishments that focus on offering a holistic experience that goes beyond hospitality. Some notable examples are 'UMusic Hotels,' 'Beaumier,' and the 'Zel' brand.
'UMusic Hotels,' a joint venture between Universal Music Group and investor Dakia U-Ventures, has chosen Madrid as the location for the "UMusic Hotel Madrid," part of a chain of immersive and experiential music-inspired hotels.
On the other hand, the French hotel chain 'Beaumier' has acquired the "Petunia" hotel in Sant Josep de Sa Talaia (Ibiza), marking its entry into the Spanish market. Beaumier now has a total of 9 establishments, with eight of them located in various parts of France, predominantly in natural settings.
Meliá Hotels Group, the leading national hotel operator, has announced its new brand "Zel" in collaboration with tennis player Rafael Nadal. This media impact brand will focus on offering a lifestyle experience, with a 4-Star Superior category, and aims to have 20 establishments worldwide in the next 5 years.
The major challenges facing hotel chains and how to overcome them
The tourism sector, especially the hotel industry, has been one of the most affected by the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the year 2022 has marked the beginning of the industry's recovery since 2019.
In this context, hotels are facing new challenges that will define the future of the industry in the coming years.
We invite you to discover the main challenges facing the hotel sector in the period 2022-2025 and how to tackle them through our exclusive e-book: "Hotel Sector 2022-2025: Facing the Major Challenges." In this book, you will find a detailed description of the current challenges the hotel industry is facing, the latest data on sector activity, and the steps to take to overcome these obstacles and move forward.
Evolution of Travel. In recent years, we have witnessed a significant change in traditional forms of travel, especially due to the disruption of regular travel during the pandemic. As we return to normalcy, some of the new travel modalities driven by the pandemic have become ingrained in our way of traveling.
The following aspects stand out:
Increase in local and regional tourism, prioritizing proximity.
Greater focus on eco-friendly, sustainable, and environmentally respectful tourism.
Growth in wellness, health, and personal care-focused tourism.
Increase in solo travel.
Recovery of business travel.
Demanding Customers. On the other hand, it is important to note the rising level of consumer expectations, which now focus more than ever on the customer experience and intangible services. Consumers have access to an abundance of information and face increased competition, which has heightened their decision-making power and demands in all aspects related to their hotel stay.
Diversified Competition. For some time now, hotel chains have been facing a new type of competition: online portals for the distribution of travel offers, such as Booking.com, and review and rating websites like Google Reviews. Although this phenomenon is not new, hotel chains' dependence on these actors has increased, leading to a gradual reduction in direct sales.
Furthermore, hotel occupancy rates are increasingly linked to reviews and ratings on online establishment and service evaluation portals.
Rising Consumption Costs. To the challenges of adaptation, there is now an additional structural problem affecting all companies: the increase in input prices, consumer goods, and energy due to geopolitical conditions. The data is alarming; in June 2022, inflation in Spain reached its highest level since 1985, with a rate of 10.2%.
This continuous rise in resource and raw material prices reduces the profit margin for companies in an industry that is just beginning to recover. In this regard, hotel companies must reconsider their revenue strategies.
Digitization, Automation, and Technology. Although progress has been made, digitization and technology adoption remain one of the major challenges for the hotel sector. Overall, the hotel industry lags behind in terms of digitization and the use of new technologies compared to other business sectors.
While more hotel companies are investing in digitization and using technology to enhance productivity and service offerings, progress remains slower compared to other sectors. Many of the current trends in the hotel industry are related to new technologies that allow companies to automate processes and operations, such as digital check-in and check-out.
Data-Undriven Culture. The hotel sector also lags behind in terms of harnessing data, both concerning internal activity and consumer data. Being an industry directly linked to customer behavior, preferences, and consumption habits, hotel companies have a long way to go in terms of managing and utilizing customer data.
In summary, the vast majority of hotel companies still lack a data-driven corporate culture, despite having abundant and easy access to customer data. It is essential for companies in the sector to start developing a data-driven culture and harness the potential of the data they already have access to.
Outdated Marketing Strategies. In recent years, the field of marketing has undergone significant evolution. Traditional advertising and marketing strategies are becoming less effective, and companies are adopting more digital, customer-focused, and less intrusive approaches.
However, the hotel industry is lagging behind in terms of marketing strategies. In the coming years, the development of advanced digital marketing strategies will be a determining factor for companies willing to transition to the new era.
Difficulty in Attracting and Retaining Talent. Lastly, the most recent research in the sector indicates that hotel companies are struggling to find and retain qualified personnel. Attracting and retaining talent is one of the current industry's major challenges.
What Should Hotel Companies Do?
Far from being in a dystopian scenario, companies in the sector should seize the moment to develop new business models that not only can adapt to change and address current challenges but also allow them to ensure long-term growth through new transformative strategies. Information services play a key role in this transformation.
At Bismart, as a Microsoft Power BI partner company, we have collaborated with numerous companies in the hotel sector, helping them confront current challenges and improve their performance and results. Thanks to our experience working with hotel chains, we have been able to identify the keys to ensuring the long-term growth of companies in the sector and managing change appropriately.
We have compiled our findings, experience, and knowledge in an exclusive book for hotel chains that you can download below.
Do you want to improve the management of your hotel or hotel chain through a comprehensive and specific technological solution?