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Data Battle: The Dig Out

Any Stranger Things watchers out there? I’m only five chapters into season two, but I can’t help thinking of the last episode I did stream, titled “Dig Dug.” The episode (sans spoilers) featured one of the main characters getting trapped in an underground maze by a faceless creature; another character, possessed by that aforementioned faceless creature, drawing a series of pictures that when put together created a map; and another character “Bob the Brain,” (Sean Astin), deciphering the map and squeezing in a subtle reference to The Goonies.* 

I had to pause binge watching the second half of the season to sift through the mountains of data from the annual POS Software Trends Report and the 2018 Lodging Technology Study. Gathering the data is only the first part however: digging in, finding connections, and mapping out strategic goals based on that data is the challenge. Hotel and restaurant operators recognize this.

There is no shortage of data nowadays, and operators struggle with taking insights and making them actionable. In recent years, a bigger (faceless) issue has emerged. Both restaurants and hotels have to wrestle with the decision to do business with technology companies that perform a service but ultimately insinuate themselves between the brand and customer. 

This was a point raised during a Leadership Panel at the MURTEC Executive Summit. “If aggregators are engaging with your customers and you aren’t, shame on you,” said Mike Nettles, SVP, CIO & CDO, Papa John’s Intl. “Don’t worry so much about what online aggregators will do with your data. Worry about what you’re going to do with your data to engage with customers.” 

This is the drawing the map piece. The data is there, but ultimately a successful analytics strategy is dependent on how you put it together and act on it. Everyone needs a “Bob the Brain.”   

* “What’s at the X? Pirate treasure?”

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