Powerful data mining tools for vacation rental managers are being created (i.e. NAVIS) enabling you to analyze your performance in ways previously unimagined.
But with all of the technology recently created, poor data quality can prevent the optimal use of the new solutions, and as your company’s data grows, the room for error grows equally fast.
There are a few steps a vacation rental manager can take to get started on the right foot when it comes to Big Data.
Since most vacation rental managers today have multiple data sources, collecting and cleaning data seems much more overwhelming and time-consuming than it actually is. This is why it is a good idea to start small and focus efforts on data sets which provide information used to answer the most pertinent business questions.
The first step is to simply identify the data fields which are important to your marketing, reservation and business intelligence needs. Here is a sample vacation rental management data checklist.
If you want easy-to-use Big Data tomorrow, the best place to start is making sure you are collecting data correctly today. You have an opportunity to gain a huge competitive advantage in your market with the use of your data, so it will benefit you immensely to put processes in place today which will help you tomorrow. Once you have identified the data fields you would like to collect, you can put in processes which help you collect clean, actionable data.
Here are some tips for starting fresh:
Put data in the right fields. Make sure your team is inputting data correctly. It is easy while on a call with a customer to throw a comment into an address line or a source code into a comment field. Find creative ways to make your team understand the importance of data entry and incentivize them to double check customer and reservation folios.
Use drop downs for as many fields as possible. This will help eliminate errors in data entry and in activity on your website. Cascading dropdowns as seen below are especially helpful on your website’s form submissions pages.
Review your property data. Your property-specific data will be a key driver in the calculations and business intelligence you will get from your data. Identify all regions, locations, types and amenities you offer and review property details to make sure information has been properly entered.
Choose a data technology partner
Much of the data quality will be determined by the tools you use to analyze your data. Here are considerations for choosing a data technology partner in the vacation rental industry:
- Integrates with property management software
- Provides or connects with automated email marketing tools
- Is integrated with your call center
- Works directly with your team to set up your systems
- Provides ongoing support
- Collects information directly from your website
- Understands the vacation rental industry
It does take a little time to put in place processes and technology to maximize the use of your data, but not as much as you might think. It is essential you start moving forward with this initiative sooner than later. The longer you wait, the amount of data your vacation rental company collects will only increase and will continue to be underutilized.
If you have the data at your fingertips, use it. Your competitors will be soon- so don’t miss your moment.