Data is everywhere. Charts are everywhere. You’ll likely see a dozen examples of data visualization before you leave the office today. Technology has given your business the power to leverage numbers and analysis like never before.
But data isn’t automatically useful just because it exists. We’re surrounded by examples of bad data. Incorrect analysis. Misleading charts. Election campaigns are being run on bad data. Battles are being lost on bad data. And every day, hospitality providers like you are making big, important, business-changing decisions based on bad data.
Numbers Aren’t Enough
Let’s be clear. Numbers, alone, aren’t enough. Numbers have never been enough. Numbers, especially those in travel and hospitality, require three additional inputs to be useful.
The travel industry can appear simple from the outside. But the nuance and best-practices of your business are quickly lost on eager tech founders looking to scale. It is not enough to simply know how to aggregate data or visualize data, you need to know how to aggregate and visualize travel data. You must understand the fundamental purpose of each data set, the stories it can tell, and the constraints of the systems the data is pulled from.
Even more, your data needs to be independent from preconceived notions, hopes, or goals. If a chart is chosen before the data is understood, you’re in trouble. If the purpose of a report is anything but you and your business’s needs, you’re in even deeper trouble. A free report isn’t free if the results lead to you and your team wasting thousands of dollars and hours of your time
In travel, data rigor is sadly misunderstood at best and blatantly disregarded at worst. Rigor is the practice of ensuring that consistent, well-understood industry standards and business rules are being applied to your data before it’s turned into analysis, reports, and charts so whether you’re looking at a report from last week or last decade, they are telling the same story. Yet we’ve seen reports published in the travel industry that, even week to week, can’t be compared side-by-side because the data sets behind the scenes are flawed and mismatched.
The Critical Role of Rigor
Being diligent about the structures and rules applied to data is hard. Really hard. It takes time, it takes patience, and it takes enough of both that fewer and fewer businesses are willing to invest in it. The next time you look at a report, ask yourself:
- What rules and standards were applied to this dataset?
- Is this dataset accounting for the unique nature of my business?
- Does the source of this report truly understand my industry?
- If a report is free, why is it free? What is the real purpose of this chart? Who is it benefiting?
As just one basic example of the dangers of poor data rigor, consider length-of-stay. If a report mistakenly uses mean instead of mode or incorrectly accounts for outliers, you may think the most common length of stay at your property is 2 nights and run a promotion offering a third night free. But if most people actually stay 3 nights – just one number off – instead of driving the incremental revenue you hoped for, you’re actually giving existing customers a 33% discount.
We Believe in Good Data
At Inntopia, we believe in rigor. In rules. We believe that the report you see tomorrow should be an apples-to-apples comparison to the same report we created for you a decade ago. We believe that all decisions – big and small – require the highest quality data. We believe in facts over figures. In veracity over visualizations. In standards over salesmanship.
We believe it takes time and experience to get this right, so we invest heavily in both. Our systems are tried and tested and our team of analysts are experts in their field; they’re experts in your business. We’ve been the leader in measuring vacation rental performance since 2005. Our reports are cited by industry professionals, educational institutions, and trade organizations all over the world. Not because they’re cute, but because they’re accurate.
It’s not easy, but if your business depends on it, why would we settle for anything less? And why would you?
We’d love to talk to you about how to turn your raw data into rock-solid analysis you can trust to make your most important business decisions. Reach out now and one of our data experts will be in touch ASAP.
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