Breaking Down Barriers: Strategies for Integrating Hotel Departments to Boost Business Performance
By Murphy Mathew
Wednesday, 12th June 2024

Exclusive Feature: In today's hospitality industry, data and organisational silos between hotel departments pose significant challenges that can impact operations, customer experience, and overall business performance.

Siloed data and management teams within hotels are the result of departments traditionally operating independently from each other, utilising different technologies and having unique goals.

Given the ability of today's technology to 'connect the dots' between departments, this approach is now considered short-sighted and potentially damaging for a hotel as decisions in one department can directly impact another.

To succeed in a competitive environment, hotels need to encourage collaboration and address data and management silos. These efforts require not only a focus on breaking down the organisational barriers between departments, but also ensuring the data that sits in a hotel’s various systems is widely shared.

Digital technologies produce a tremendous amount of information for hospitality companies, but how to consolidate—and in turn, effectively leverage—data from sales, marketing, reservations, and revenue management becomes the inevitable challenge all hoteliers must face.

With clean, accurate data, hotels can isolate and understand their channel costs, ascertaining which is effective and profitable business. When departments align and data and market intelligence is shared, staff have a clearer idea of which strategic business opportunities to pursue, negotiate or decline.

The impact of organisational silos

When hotel departments are unable or unwilling to collaborate effectively, it often results in a lack of coordination, leading to misaligned operations, missed revenue optimisation opportunities, and delays in guest service delivery. This can also lead to duplicate efforts, where different teams perform redundant tasks, wasting valuable time and resources.

For guests, the impact of these silos is particularly noticeable in the form of inconsistent information and delayed responses. When data and information are not shared seamlessly between departments, guest requests may not be met, causing confusion and dissatisfaction.

From a data perspective, silos can also limit a hotels ability to create comprehensive customer profiles, impacting on opportunities for personalised service and offers. Without integrated data, gaining insights into overall performance and customer preferences becomes more difficult, hampering strategic decision-making and planning.

The convergence of hotel departments

To maximise commercial outcomes for a hotel, revenue management needs to be applied across an entire property, converging traditional roles of sales, marketing, distribution and revenue management, in addition to including food & beverage, banqueting, finance and other departments.

A hotel marketing team is charged with the task of connecting directly with consumers to generate demand, whereas the revenue management team controls demand through profitable pricing strategies. This can often lead to a disconnect in the messages coming from a hotel, either indirectly or directly. By working together, marketing and revenue management teams will complement each other. For instance, revenue management will be able to identify areas of priority for demand generation, while marketing can help target personalised promotions to guests most likely to fill booking voids.

And while a hotel’s revenue management team has a responsibility to forecast and optimise demand, when the guests arrive at the property, it is the operation team’s responsibility to create the best experience possible for the guests. A positive guest experience, supported by a property’s operations team, can enhance guest loyalty and encourage return business.

Building out collaborative commercial teams

As hotel groups move to limit operating cost and consolidate management positions, traditional roles like sales, marketing, distribution, and revenue management are being consolidated under the umbrella of a commercial team. As part of this shift, hoteliers need to review the functionality of traditional departments, leading to closer working relationships between revenue managers and marketing departments in pursuit of total revenue generation and profit optimisation.

Cross-functional commercial strategy teams should meet regularly to review and adjust strategies based on macro environmental changes. This group would enable all views of a hotel to be considered and foster collaboration between departments, enabling a hotel to operate in an agile and responsive manner based on competitor activity and wider market conditions.

Review and integrate hotel systems

Hoteliers are increasingly reliant on the various operational systems and technologies throughout their properties. Without automation, it is difficult to compile and analyse all the disparate data points hotels collect accurately and in a high-speed environment, manually collecting and analysing data is slow and highly susceptible to error.

However, while hotels are increasingly open to using technologies that support their business operations, many properties have incompatible systems that reduce productivity. Hospitality organisations need to review the systems they operate and ensure that they are working effectively together in a truly integrated fashion. Hotels with integrated systems possess a competitive advantage through having greater ‘visibility’ into their business’ true performance, allowing them to make more effective business decisions.

Hotels must also increase the speed at which information is shared between all departments to continue improving and exceeding guests’ expectations. An effective way to encourage and enable successful collaboration between sales and revenue management teams and the rapid sharing of organisational data is through access to a combined offer engine capable of swapping information between departments.

Hotels already possess a great deal of guest information, from their marital status to travel habits. However, in practice, revenue management may not have access to this information when they most need it. To facilitate data sharing, hoteliers must construct a digital bridge between customer relationship management (CRM) and revenue management technology.

Collaborate and succeed

In a competitive hospitality environment, overcoming the barriers posed by data and organisational silos is crucial. By building collaborative commercial teams, adopting integrated technology solutions, and fostering a culture of continuous communication and data sharing, hotels can position themselves for sustained success and deliver superior guest experiences.

Written by Murphy Mathew, APAC solutions engineer, IDeaS. For more information on how your hotel can improve its commercial outcomes through collaboration, please visit: www.ideas.com

This is strictly a 4Hoteliers.com exclusive feature. Reproduction in any shape or form without explicit permissions is prohibited.

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