Don’t let the downturn scare you from data
Don’t let the downturn scare you from data
25 SEPTEMBER 2020 7:42 AM

Hoteliers need a solid basis for decision-making in the current environment, although I fear many will revert to old-school thinking with so much data noise.

We all know that the hotel industry wasn’t in a perfect spot leading into this pandemic-induced downturn, but I’m fearful that the current environment could lead to significant regression in the level of sophistication in decision-making that had been the norm in recent history.

The hotel industry has evolved over the years to rely more and more on data-driven decision-making that was drastically more sophisticated than the standard business-as-usual assumptions about doing things the way they’ve always been done.

The problem is with so few reliable data comparisons now, and a cacophony of “noise” in the data from COVID-19, wildfires and roughly 1 million other disruptions at the moment, it can be hard to find the right basis to make decisions.

In the past few weeks, I’ve seen probably 100 different news stories pointing to how this pandemic will be setting us back years as a society, and it seems logical to think the same can be said for the hotel industry. Plenty of less sophisticated operators I’m sure will regress to backwards thinking and incorrect assumptions in the absence of a solid basis for data-driven decision-making.

It seems pretty plainly true to me that the companies that will be poised for success coming out of this crisis are the ones that avoid that regression. Those that are forward-thinking enough to keep a solid basis for their decision-making and find ways to make it work with a streamlined staff will reap the fruits of those efforts as the eventual and inevitable upswing gains steam.

In fact, they’ll probably have an even greater advantage than they did pre-pandemic simply because the ongoing crisis is affording them an opportunity to hit the reset button and shed many of the things they’ve been doing simply because that’s the way things have already been done.

I’ve heard from many hoteliers who have talked for years about the value of zero-base budgeting but are now realizing they’ve never done it in its truest sense until now. This is the opportunity to truly cut what fat was there before and to come back leaner and more efficient.

So keep thinking about data and empirical measurables as opposed to just leaning on outdated and misplaced “common sense” or industry truisms. Stick to you guns and make sure there’s a solid basis for everything you’re doing.

What do you think? Let me know via email or on Twitter.

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