Hospitality's Largest Source of Insight is Untapped
By Jonathan Barsky Partner, Market Metrix | June 01, 2014
The biggest source of hospitality customer feedback isn't being used much, at least not yet. Experts at Gartner, Forrester and IDC estimate that somewhere around 80% of the world's data is unstructured. And unstructured data is growing at 15 times the rate of structured data. Unstructured data is the kind of data that doesn't fit neatly into columns and rows, and isn't easily analyzed with traditional tools.
Things like e-mails, Word documents, customer feedback, blogs, online reviews, instant messages, pictures, videos, etc. Clearly there is a significant competitive opportunity in doing a better job using unstructured data.
In hospitality, the biggest sources of unstructured data may be reviews and comments published on sites like TripAdvisor, Twitter and Facebook. In fact it's estimated that by 2015, 68% of all unstructured data will be created by consumers (1). It's this dramatic increase in volume of opinions that offers the best opportunity to use new technologies to understand who is talking and, more importantly, what they're saying. Blogs, tweets, comments and reviews are a reflection of broad public sentiment, but also individual opinions about experiences.
Sentiment and text analytics have been a hot topic for almost a decade, but few companies have fully embraced their real potential. Many approaches to text analytics fail to live up to expectations due to limitations in effectiveness, complex integration and cost-related issues. But new analytic solutions perform a more in-depth task. After extracting facts and context from unstructured content, unstructured data can now be transformed into a relational format and stored in a data warehouse. This process offers businesses insight into the context, or true meaning, of the unstructured text.
This new approach to unstructured data analytics can reveal important interrelationships that were previously difficult or impossible to determine. New text analytics software can process hospitality feedback and determine what features or items are being discussed (concept extraction), who's doing the talking (named entity recognition and extraction) and, most importantly, people's opinions about specific features or items (sentiment analysis and measurement).
But better understanding unstructured content is still just part of the solution. Combining what can be learned from unstructured data with insights from survey results and other structured sources unlocks even more powerful insight.