Leadership at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has teamed with Datavision to transition from Excel spreadsheets into more advanced Business Analytics, gaining a better understanding of their business and the data behind it.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is an award-winning owner and operator of some of the world’s most luxurious hotels, resorts and residences. Their flagship property, The Mandarin, opened in 1963 in Hong Kong, and Mandarin Oriental today operates 36 hotels in 24 countries, each reflecting the company’s oriental heritage, local culture and unique design. Mandarin Oriental has become an established leader in luxury hospitality, with a mission to delight guests each and every day.
To power that mission, Mandarin Oriental has remained on the leading edge of technology adoption, using innovative tools in the front of the house to provide an unparalleled guest experience and in the back of the house to power a data-driven business and growth strategy.
As the company has grown across the globe, centralizing data from each of the properties to help make smarter business decisions at the corporate level has become a priority, says Sofia Baglini, Commercial Insights Manager for Mandarin Oriental.
“We wanted to transition from Excel spreadsheets into more advanced Business Analytics,” Baglini says, “to gain a better understanding of our business and the data behind it.”
Drilling Down into Analytics
Early on, Mandarin Oriental leadership identified the right challenges that were impeding their analytics strategy.
One common challenge across the hospitality industry is that many revenue-driving outlets – spa, food and beverage, revenue management, sales and marketing – work in silos, preventing leadership from making decisions and setting goals based on the same sets of data.
These silos particularly inhibited the workflow around better understanding Mandarin Oriental’s customer analytics. It proved challenging to gain a 360-degree view of customers’ purchasing decisions and then segment those customers appropriately, which prevented the team from implementing new strategies to retain current customers and acquire new ones.
Simultaneously, Mandarin leadership was looking to move from traditional descriptive reporting that focus on what happened in the past to a more predictive environment where they could use forward-looking data to help identify impactful business trends.
Creating Digestible Data Points
Baglini says the process of adopting a successful Business Intelligence strategy starts with first gaining the knowledge and understanding of your own business. Familiarize yourself with your demand drivers, where your business is coming from, what your guests are asking for, and what data points you’re collecting today to help answer these questions.
“I was able to have the ownership of the data within my company that’s part of my success story,” Baglini says. “I was trusted with that.”
Datavision’s installation at Mandarin Oriental has been evolving since the initial implementation in 2006, growing in functionality, modules and user reach. In 2019, Mandarin Oriental partnered with Datavision to build a data visualization strategy that would prove to be a framework for all departments to rely on when making decisions. Bringing Mandarin’s data into PowerBI via Datavision helped them unlock insights into their own business that they never had before. “The way the data was organized and structured matched the way I worked, matched my Excel brain, and I became a super user really quickly,” Baglini says.
Mandarin Oriental piloted their first PowerBI reports with the Revenue Management team and then, soon afterward, those reports began cascading into other teams. They worked with Datavision to customize the look and feel of their new reports to match older reports for familiarity, but upgraded visuals and readability. “I knew I wanted a clean format that was easy to read, and it was a natural improvement from our existing reports,” Baglini says.
Mandarin Oriental now has data to better understand the voice of the customer and justify ROI on implementing guest-facing technology across all outlets. Leadership is using analytics to drive innovation in areas like F&B and spa revenue management. Analytics are assisting even in the areas of design and construction, helping determine how large spa outlets should be and how many tables to include.
A Single Platform for Insights
Taking advantage of Datavision’s flexibility, Mandarin has completely customized the Datavision environment to their requirements. The team at Mandarin has built out a suite of dashboards to satisfy their users across different disciplines – revenue management, marketing, guest analytics and finance. Each team is able to digest the information and execute their strategies based on the business critical data provided by Datavision.
Today, there are between 400 and 500 users on Datavision at Mandarin Oriental, and Baglini has built a master report that consolidates all of her efforts into a single dashboard for daily viewing by senior leadership.
Data quality has been critical to the process, and Mandarin Oriental leadership has prioritized the ability to merge, dedupe and match customer profiles, for example. The team analyzes the validity of email addresses and keeps KPIs on the quality of each hotel’s data.
“We have come a long way,” Baglini says. “We’ve improved the quality of the data on the backend and implemented Datavision to put it into action on the front end.”