Hospitality Data Insights: Do You Really Need Them in Real Time?

In hospitality, data insights matter. It’s such a fast-paced and rapidly evolving industry that having access to the right information at the right time can be the difference between success and failure. Between capitalising on an opportunity, or letting it slip through your fingers. Between a rave review and repeat business, or a poor review and reputational damage. 

But does this information need to be available in real-time? “Real-time data analytics” has been a buzz phrase for a long time, but in the hospitality industry, is it necessary or possible? And if not, when is the best time to receive updates on your data?

We’re here to answer all these questions, and to explore the benefits of having access to the right hospitality data insights when you need them most.


Achieving real-time data analytics


So, does your hospitality business need real-time analytics?

Our consultants get asked this a lot. The short answer to this is no, probably not. Particularly in the hospitality sector, up-to-the minute information isn’t likely to be business-critical most of the time. When you use a data solution like Qlik or PowerBI, the data can be fed into the solution as and when it becomes available from the source. Different  EPoS systems provide different ways and different frequencies as to when the data will become available. Your system may only allow daily updates, whereas other systems allow real-time updates.  

As a result, it is important that the data is refreshed at times that are relevant for your business. For operators, it’s best if this is supplied either at peak times or at times when this information is most meaningful — such as when it can be acted on appropriately and engaged with proactively.

At Tahola, our years of experience have taught us that what the hospitality industry needs isn’t real-time data, but rather right-time data.

“If you know, for example, at 8pm on a Friday night, that you’re behind” explains Ross White, a director at Tahola, “then you can do something about it. You can add another offer or set up a two-for-one special to drive extra sales and impact your numbers. It allows you to be proactive rather than reactive.”


Getting the timing right


When, then, is the right time to receive your hospitality data analytics?

“It’s at peak times that you can drive sales, and make or break your week or month,” Ross adds. “We help our hospitality clients with this by scheduling the apps they use to reload at set times, typically on Friday and Saturday nights (though this can certainly be amended). At these times, they can log in, assess where they are, and make the changes they need to improve their business.”

At Tahola, we work with our customers to identify the specific times when they need data, whether it’s preparing for weekly trading packs for GMs on Monday mornings or adjusting promotions on Saturday nights. Our solutions provide timely access to data with the granularity that meets the needs of the executive team, restaurant operations managers, and everyone in between. Read how we did this for the team at Big Table Group here

The benefits of hospitality data insights


The advantages of having access to the right information at the right time extend beyond just proactive decision-making. They also include:

  • Better inventory management
    Knowing how much you have of one thing and how little of another — concert tickets, food and beverages, hotel rooms, clean linen — can mitigate problems before they arise and reduce wastage.

    This is where right-time data comes in. “If you’re keeping track of your supplies at critical points during your business processes, you’re able to plan properly, to cater adequately for your guests or customers, and to ensure you’re not wasting time, money and resources on stock that won’t be used,” says Ross. “You don’t need to have up-to-the minute information here, simply having information issued to you at key times is sufficient.”

  • Upsell and cross-sell opportunities
    With insight into trends in your business — such as which demographics are making the most of your cocktail specials or corporate conferencing packages — you can identify upselling and cross-selling opportunities.

    Perhaps your cocktail crowd might also enjoy Friday-night parties with resident DJs, and your corporate partners could also be interested in your banqueting options. Knowing exactly who you’re targeting at any given point in time can help you to improve your service and evolve your offerings, so that you’re giving your existing clients precisely what they need, while growing your client base at the same time.

  • Marketing adjustments
    Critically timed hospitality data analytics can help you to be proactive in how you’re marketing a particular aspect of your business. Maybe sales aren’t where you hoped they would be and a social media drive is in order. Or perhaps you need to consider partnering with another brand to draw a bigger crowd.

    Whatever your strategy, the right analytics will help you identify gaps and opportunities, so that you can make high-value adjustments.


Interested in receiving near real-time data insights that you can use to transform and grow your business? Our hospitality data experts are here to help. Contact Tahola today for guidance on receiving the right data analytics at the right time.