By: Samantha Renner, Digital Marketing Specialist for Oracle Hospitality
This year’s Oracle Industry Connect event in New York featured a lineup of tech leaders who shared their knowledge on innovations and digital transformations to solve challenges in their hospitality businesses.
Controlling costs while enhancing the guest experience is a challenge that is constantly top of mind for hospitality operators. That’s why they’re increasingly turning to data—and data science—to help inform their decisions, with the goal of reducing costs and delivering quality service.
Oracle’s Saraswati Yagnavajhala, director of cloud and data science strategy, explored this topic with two technology experts and Oracle customers: Sandeep Satish, director of partner strategy at Levy’s E15 Group, and Greg Clore, vice president of information technology at Dave & Buster’s.
Yagnavajhala kicked off the discussion with a broad question: “There needs to be an impetus for change, a need to try something different for a major change to take place. What are some of those drivers in the marketplace?”
Greg Clore noted that Dave & Buster’s is focusing on young adults as a key market. They are measuring analytics to see what this demographic is doing when they visit a D&B location. Using data science, they have learned that this group prefers sharing appetizers rather than having sit-down meals, and they enjoy local brews and craft cocktails over nationally available drinks. Knowing this, Dave & Buster’s is able to tailor its menus to delight guests.
Sandeep Satish discussed a more astute stadium-goer. Fans are no longer happy with the traditional hot dog or waiting in a queue to pay for their order. They want the same options that are available outside of the sports and entertainment setting: a wide variety of food and beverages and a fast, easy, high-tech way to order and pay for them.
Dave & Buster’s offers a loyalty card that guests can use each time they visit to earn rewards. The company can then leverage data science to analyze the buying habits of this group and then deliver targeted marketing and personalization based upon that data.
E15 is looking at specific ticket holders and their preferences as well as general audience demographics for various shows and events. By using data science, E15 can better determine audience preferences well before the crowds arrive.
Yagnavajhala asked each to give one prediction for the next 5 years.
“The power is in your smartphone,” said Clore. He discussed a frictionless guest experience that is enabled by mobile devices. Rather than buying a Dave & Buster’s power card from a kiosk, the guest can do that from their phone. The next step is then eliminating the card and using the phone in lieu of the card, pushing targeted marketing offers to the phone, and identifying guests by their phone using beacons.
Satish noted that in the near future, biometric technology will likely enable an even smoother experience for consumers: Your fingerprint will become your ticket to enter and your method of payment.
With wage increases, rising food costs, and growing staffing needs, how can hospitality operators lower costs while enhancing the guest experience? Data science can help industry leaders make data-driven decisions to steer company initiatives.