Customer satisfaction and happiness is at the core of the hospitality industry. The industry witnesses very high expectations from its customers, demanding a rich and personalized experience every time they travel. In an exclusive interaction with Analytics Insight, Adriaan Coppens, CEO and Co-Founder of OTA Insight shares how organizations can leverage customer data to drive highly satisfied customers, productive employees and a more refined operation with the power of business intelligence.
Analytics Insight: Kindly brief us about OTA Insight, its specialization and the services that the company offers.
Adriaan: OTA Insight empowers hoteliers to make smarter revenue and distribution decisions through its market-leading suite of cloud-based business intelligence solutions including Rate Insight, Parity Insight and Revenue Insight. With our core platform providing live updates, 24/7 support from our customer success team, and a highly-intuitive and customizable dashboard, we aim to provide our customers with simple-to-understand, real-time actionable data that enables them to set the right price and sell their rooms in the right place.
Analytics Insight: With what mission, OTA Insight was set up? In short, tell us about your journey since inception.
Adriaan: Our mission is to help hospitality professionals understand and leverage data and become a global leader in intelligence for this industry. We do this by providing them with user-friendly tools that help them make smarter revenue and distribution decisions.
The journey began in 2012 when the three co-founders (myself, Gino Engels and Matthias Geeroms) witnessed firsthand struggles during the London Olympics that hoteliers were going through to understand the changing pricing and distribution landscape. From this start point, OTA Insight’s data visualization and analytics platform was conceived. Years of constant development and collaboration with hotel partners has resulted in a simple-to-use, live business intelligence platform which has now grown to become the preferred revenue management solution for over 20,000 independent, local and global chain properties in 140 countries.
Analytics Insight: What is your point of view on the current scenario of the Big Data Analytics and its future?
Adriaan: Big data analytics is only scratching the surface, a lot of the focus in many industries has been on collecting the data by creating data lakes and to create better visualizations to help users understand the data. But the next steps will be to make this data actionable by identifying and flagging anomalies. Artificial intelligence will play a role in this as well as developing the right type of visualizations that will help users hunt down these anomalies.
Analytics Insight: What are some of the major challenges OTA Insight has faced till now?
Adriaan: The major challenge was maintaining our high bar for data quality while adding more and more data sources. It is easy to add new data sources if you’re willing to drop your quality bar and settle for the lowest common denominator. We are proud to have a market leading position through maintaining excellent data quality whilst adding a number of new data sources, but it cost us blood, sweat and tears.
Analytics Insight: How do you see OTA Insight and the industry in the future?
Adriaan: The industry has mastered the art of day to day tactical pricing decisions, the next step will be to make smarter and faster strategic decisions (e.g. Segments to focus on, promos to run, companies to target, etc.) to stay ahead of the competition. Our recently launched Revenue Insight solution is built to support these strategic decisions. Our beta customers have been very successful in pushing business to more profitable channels and segments which increased their revenues significantly.
Analytics Insight: Where do you see growth coming in for the sector?
Adriaan: The growth will come from the Asian markets, where people start to travel a lot more as they’re becoming wealthier. These travelers will visit other Asian countries but they will also travel overseas a lot. As the economy strengthens in the western countries, people will continue to travel more and more, which means there will be a need to track all this data across numerous different channels.
Analytics Insight: How is OTA Insight utilizing advanced analytics and big data?
Adriaan: One of the ways we are using big data is to analyze the behavior of users of our solution so that we can identify the popular and less popular parts and improve it. We also actively use big data analytics to identify the markets and hotels that our business development team should focus on. Last but not least, our customer success team also leverages big data to help our customers and to maintain a consistently high bar for customer service.
Analytics Insight: Would you like to highlight a few use cases where analytics has benefitted the organization tremendously?
Adriaan: Examples: picking up on data quality issues using anomaly detection so that we can fix problems before they get to the customers. Analyzing the usage of our solution two years ago to support our decision to redesign our tool, which really helped us remove less used functionality and improve functionality that was often used a lot. It was very well received by customers.
Analytics Insight: What have been the most significant challenges that you have faced at the forefront of analytics?
Adriaan: The most significant challenge is the scalability. Our extreme growth forces us to integrate the best and fastest technologies available on Google Cloud to be able to support the growth.
Analytics Insight: What are the skill sets that you specifically look for while hiring people at an initial stage?
Adriaan: What we look for when hiring at OTA Insight revolves around our focus on building the #bestteamever through finding and developing talented people who are very much customer focused (in both understanding and delivering on customer needs), team orientation, and able to help inspire others to outperform. We look for people with an entrepreneurial mindset who are interested in improving and innovating with the business and of course it helps that these people are focused and passionate about developing great data-driven products.