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How Remington Hotels Helps Data Make Sense

REMi, a proprietary analytics platform, helps owners, GMs and divisional vice presidents easily understand forecasts, budgets, sales efforts, inbound leads and more.
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In October 2018, Remington Hotels launched REMi – a proprietary analytics platform running off of Microsoft Power BI. In its current iteration, divisional vice presidents and general managers can access a wide variety of data and easily create and understand forecasts, budgets, sales efforts, inbound leads and more. In fact, it currently feeds off of approximately 40 different data feeds. But before the launch of REMi, Remington Hotels was handling data the same way many other hotels were: manually.

“Before REMi, we were doing a lot of Excel reporting. It took forever. We had people manually typing numbers into spreadsheets and then operation leaders or GMs would have to go through 50 PDF pages to find specific data points,” says Zach Cunningham, VP of Analytics & Business Intelligence at Remington Hotels.

Zach Cunningham, VP of Analytics & Business Intelligence at Remington Hotels
Zach Cunningham, VP of Analytics & Business Intelligence at Remington Hotels

To solve this problem, the team began to ask itself: “How do we modernize our reporting? How can we go from reactive reporting to proactive analytics?”

To begin, Remington Hotels’ Analytics team created a timeline for REMi that featured three major milestones. First, it had to build a way to collect data automatically so that team members wouldn’t be tasked with manually pulling data. To do this, Remington Hotels worked very closely with its in-house Oracle development team.

“This was probably the most challenging part of building REMi,” Cunningham says. “It took the longest amount of time and was the most complex part of the process because we had data on PDFs, on Excel, on databases, etc. In was all housed in a variety of random places and our team had to build a data policy from scratch.”

However, as Remington Hotels created and tinkered with its data policy, it gradually became easier for the company’s Analytics & IT teams to add more data streams to REMi.

“It took us much longer to go from two reports to five reports than it did for us to go from 20 reports to 30 reports,” Cunningham adds. “But building that initial foundation correctly was the most important thing we could do, because we couldn’t have gotten to where we are today without it.”

Second, Remington Hotels found a way to begin combining data sets that complemented each other. For example, if a guest had preventative maintenance issues, how did that affect the guest service scores? And third, instead of only looking at the data reactively, Remington Hotels is now focused on using the data proactively to try and accurately forecast trends and outcomes.

“One of my favorite things about REMi is that it’s so transparent and user-friendly, whether you’re a GM, a divisional leader or an owner,” Cunningham says. “If we’re able to cut down the time they’d normally spend looking at reports from a full day to just a couple of hours, we’ve now given them time back in their day to interact with guests or spend time implementing strategies for success.”

And, of course, having access to more data means that users can make better-informed decisions. For example, REMi offers full granularity for reporting, meaning one can see how each line item of their P&L is performing daily. It also provides DoW trends, MoM trends and YoY trends, and it demonstrates the relationship between B/W revenue growth and labor/cost growth.

As an added bonus, REMi was built to be constantly updating the data it pulls for users to be as near real-time as possible. For example, most reports update daily and many update several times a day. Plus, Remington Hotels’ open data policy provides full transparency to owners with regards to their data, meaning they have access to every data point collected for each of their properties.

Access to such a wide variety of data sources and granularity can provide surprising insights that previously went unnoticed which can then drive better operational decisions. For example, owners might learn that the breakfast buffet served in the lobby makes approximately 75% of the hotel’s F&B revenue on the weekend while dinner at the main restaurant makes 75% of the hotel’s F&B revenue mid-week.

However, to make this product user-friendly, Cunningham’s department had to really step back and assess how they were going to present this product and its data to their end users.

Most of our audience was not going to be data analysts such as myself,” he explains. “It’s a GM or an owner who looks at data differently than I do and who wants to see things presented in a way that’s also different from what I would prefer.”

But even with all of the obvious advantages to REMi, it still took some time to entice GMs to switch from their old ways. And that process of change management is still ongoing.

“Many very successful GMs are used to their PDFs and Excel spreadsheets, so we had to really sit down with them and first go through their normal process and then take them through that process in REMi to help them better understand how it would be less work and more beneficial,” Cunningham says.

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