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How can Business Intelligence software support the hospitality industry in a crisis?

The rapid spread of novel coronavirus has taken the world completely by surprise and has brought about seismic changes in the way we conduct our business and live our lives. For the hospitality sector, the urgent need to stop the spread has meant the closure of restaurants, cafes, pubs, hotels and more almost overnight – and the situation looks set to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Not since the Spanish flu of 1918 has a world pandemic been so devastating.

No one is claiming that Business Intelligence (BI) can solve the problems faced by the UK hospitality sector as a result of Covid-19. Rolling out BI is not going to appease the concerns of 2.9 million people employed in restaurants, hotels and bars across the country, who have been hit harder than most by the crisis.    

However, what good BI can do is prepare businesses so you can get back up and running as quickly as possible when the closure imposed by the UK Government comes to an end. And as ‘business as usual’ has been unavoidably been put on hold, now may be a good time to implement good practices that we are usually too busy for.

While your hospitality business waits to re-open, ask yourself a few questions to see if implementing or optimising BI should be a priority.

  • Measuring and reporting on business performance in real-time

Before the current crisis, how were you measuring success? Did the metrics generate actionable insight? If monthly reporting was standard practice, did it provide timely information so that you could implement immediate changes to improve business performance?

Proper metrics and reporting can provide a clear, measurable heartbeat on the true performance of a business beyond the basics. If you weren’t measuring your performance with scorecards and you weren’t generating real-time reports, maybe it’s time to explore what is achievable.

  • Reviewing and enhancing existing systems

Are you getting the best value out of the tool and systems that you currently have in place? Data Analytics tools are often under-utilised, and businesses fail to really get the benefit from them. If you have tools that have unused capabilities now is a good time to explore how they could help you or revisit whether this is the best tool for the job.

During this temporary closure period, hospitality businesses can take the time to run server patching, or version upgrades of key tools and potentially even software rollouts without causing disruption to the running of the business. There is also time to record faults with existing systems and get these resolved before re-opening to the public.

There’s no doubt that this is a challenging time for all, and much is uncertain. The best we can do is to be as prepared as possible to get up and running again. The last crisis of this kind was the outbreak of SARs in 2003. The hospitality sector weathered the storm then, it will overcome the challenges it faces now.

Further sources of practical guidance for the hospitality sector: