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Business Intelligence: How Information Integration Can Boost Hospitality Growth

4/1/2006

It's relatively easy to get an overarching definition of the term "business intelligence." One hospitality industry expert puts it in terms of knowledge management: "Business intelligence is related to how a company manages anything that it knows as a company." Another expert, noting that hospitality companies routinely gather significant amounts of data about their customers, their operations and their competitors, defines BI in relation to what the analysis of that data can provide: "Business intelligence answers the question of 'why' instead of 'what'."

In an industry as diverse as hospitality, however, the challenge is less about defining BI than about determining what information is most vital to running the business -- and then figuring out how to get that crucial knowledge to those who can act on it. For a restaurant chain, their most important bit of BI is likely to show the relationship of food sales to labor costs. A cruise line dependent on repeat business and good word of mouth will be interested in gauging the customer loyalty of both actual travelers and the agents who book trips. Airlines and car rental companies will want to closely monitor their affinity relationships and the role various websites play in steering travelers in their direction.
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