August 03, 2015

The connected hotel room of the future wants to know all about you


The hospitality industry wants to get to know you better. That means more than just your preference for a non-smoking room with foam pillows far from the elevators. Big data is a game changer when it comes to pricing hotel rooms to reduce idle inventory.

“Today we can price our rooms based on a relevant combination of internal and external data sources and optimize accordingly,” Martha Poulter, CIO of Starwood Hotels and Resorts told Fortune this week.

That means taking advantage of data about weather; outside event and conferences, concerts, et cetera; public information about competitors’ performance; and customers’ past travel preferences. If you’ve shown a predilection for staying in cities near water and Starwood has a low occupancy rate at its Halifax or Boston Harbor properties, you might get a great promotion offering a discounted stay or package deal there.

By using Starwood’s proprietary data analysis tool, Poulter said the company was able to boost the revenue and market share of one Halifax property by 20%. “That flows right to the bottom line,” she said.

Another goal is to take as much friction out of the booking-checkin-checkout process as possible so that guests book through Starwood’s own properties rather than Expedia, Hotels.com, or another third-party travel site. Perks like the Starwood Preferred Guest or SPG keyless entry phone app which lets guests at select W, Aloft, and Element properties download key information and room number to their device and use it to gain entry. (No check-in lines!) That service is not available to people who book through third parties.

Get the full story at Fortune