Rebuilding your Hospitality Analytics for the New Normal

“Everything’s changed!” takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to analytics

Predictive models, forecasts, and dashboards are all based on an environment that no longer exists. Dining and travel habits and even guest communities have changed. Data volumes have shrunk as shelter in place habits developed and travel became almost non-existent. Even the data collected today is suspect as a basis for predicting what could be a very different future.

Pre-COVID, data collected over decades was used to deliver dynamic pricing and manage revenue, target marketing efforts, schedule staff, design menu boards, and more. The tools, including data mining, statistical modelling and artificial intelligence, remain the same. The challenge comes from the need to reconfigure them to collect and work with different data, to accommodate different – and rapidly changing – models, and answer both traditional and new questions.

Along with the challenges come a unique opportunity. The accelerated move to digital interaction has provided hotels, restaurants and seniors living organizations with massive amounts of new data from new and existing sources. Delivery apps are no longer just a convenient option for restaurants – they are now a mainstay. The increased use of mobile devices to minimize physical contact with guests has become a solid trend within all sectors of the hospitality industry. Surges in digital interaction of all types provide a whole new set of consumer insights. Integrating all of this data with that from traditional reservation, payment and web site data can provide a significantly expanded view of guest journeys, preferences and habits.

There is additional good news for hospitality organizations who haven’t focused in this area previously - they now have a tremendous opportunity to rapidly catch up. Building larger data volumes by integrating data from other sources can be easier with models built from the ground up to work with those sources. Adding newer capabilities like spatial analysis and GIS mapping to allow for rapidly changing regional differences can be easier with the latest platforms and tools. Layering in machine learning to enhance decision making capabilities can be simpler with data models built with machine learning in mind. Overall, building new has the potential to deliver faster, more reliable and relevant, and less expensive results than adapting older models and systems.

As Canada’s leading hospitality recruiting specialist, we recognize the need for the advanced skillsets and extensive experience required to make these changes happen as Canadian hotels, restaurants and seniors living organizations transition to the “new normal”. In response, our team has proactively connected with hundreds of highly-experienced analytics professionals from Canada’s largest service sectors — hospitality and retail — to gain a sense of the currently available talent with the right skills. To share what we’ve found, we’ve included some sample profiles below of leaders in building and using advanced analytics capabilities.

These candidates represent some of Canada’s top hospitality analytics professionals. Their profiles show the kind of skills and experience that hotels, restaurants and seniors living organizations will need to build up or build back the tools required to navigate the “new normal”. They may match yours, or you may discover you have transferrable skills. Hospitality professionals will be needed in other areas as well. If you focus on another field within hospitality, these profiles may give you some ideas regarding where you can add value as Canada’s hospitality industry re-opens.

Director, Digital Marketing and Analytics – Restaurant & Foodservice (Toronto)

As Marketing Director for one of North America’s fastest growing fast casual chains, this innovative digital marketing strategist has proven they can deliver the best-in-class omnichannel experience (website, social, paid, ecommerce, app) needed to grow top line sales. They’ve developed the strategy and managed the digital ecosystem for 400+ locations in both corporate and franchise settings. They’re innately analytical, basing their approach to business on data and facts. They also understand the validity of the human experience and often use it to amplify the accumulated data. In their current role they helped develop and drive the brand’s regional analytics data strategy and analysis, including data capture and enhancement to enable world-class analytics and CRM operations. With an empathetic and humble approach to business, this candidate understands that building the right team is critical to a company’s success and is a high-energy leader who does not settle for the status quo. They operate best in a corporate culture that values honesty, integrity, and transparency, and they deliver results.

Revenue Manager – Hotel (Vancouver)

Data is a story, and this candidate is ready to tell it. As a disciplined revenue management professional with a background in hotel operations, they understand how strategic decisions impact teams and can enhance guest experience. Their experience has focused on revenue management through continuous improvement initiatives in operations, reporting, revenue analysis and sales generation in alignment with business objectives. With a solid foundation in revenue management across multinational blue chip hospitality brands they can bring their expertise to the table for companies looking for growth in their commercial trajectory, especially growth orchestrated with a sound digital strategy and embracing a culture of change management. Their collaborative, out-of-the-box approach has helped deepen senior management’s understanding of multiple businesses, improved profitability, and helped cultivate a culture of revenue management across multiple portfolios.

Operations Analyst – Restaurant/Franchise Operations (Vancouver)

Data has become the lifeblood of today’s foodservice operations. From pulling sales numbers from POS systems to sophisticated analytics apps and cloud-based analytics services, restaurateurs of all sizes are combing through the numbers to find the most effective way to run their operations. However, there’s a difference between simply tallying sales numbers and understanding them in the right context for your business. That’s where this candidate’s core skills come in. In their current role, their focus is on providing support to all areas of the organization through analyzing data gathered from various channels. They work with IT, finance, marketing, operations, franchise partners and the executive suite to provide direct support for initiatives to increase efficiency and profitability, and to help implement organizational strategies that drive better business performance. With solid foodservice experience, this highly effective analyst is an expert at developing tactical and sustainable tools to effectively influence business improvement.

To learn more on this and other hospitality trends and insights you can check also out our blog.

Written by Rob Fisher and Jessica Finch.