BWH Hotels scales enterprise business intelligence adoption while reducing costs with Amazon QuickSight
This is a guest post by Joseph Landucci from BWH Hotels. In their own words, “BWH Hotels is a leading, global hospitality enterprise comprised of three hotel companies, including WorldHotels, Best Western Hotels & Resorts and SureStay Hotels. Our mission is to deliver trusted guest experiences, drive hotel success and foster a caring, inclusive culture that respects the environment. Technology plays a key role in meeting these standards.
My team supports analytics throughout BWH Hotels, including some affiliate and international organizations. Four years ago, we switched to Amazon QuickSight, a fully managed, cloud-native business intelligence (BI) service, and have not looked back. In March 2021, I wrote about how QuickSight had helped us cut costs by over 70%, while also improving our operations. Since then, we have moved fully onto Amazon Web Services (AWS) from IBM Cognos and Oracle, and improved our BI adoption while navigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this post, I discuss how we are using QuickSight today, how it helped us through the pandemic and how we are using it to build the future of our business.
Migrating to AWS and QuickSight
After a six-month proof of concept, we decided to move fully to AWS for our data and analytics needs. Our previous BI solution, IBM Cognos, was prohibitively expensive because we had to pay for a license for each user. After we made the decision to make QuickSight our BI solution, we were able to move our hotels from Cognos to QuickSight within 10 months. Our affiliate users made the migration four months later, followed by our corporate users.
Having used Cognos since 2008, this was not just a lift-and-shift migration. We determined what dashboards and data we needed to migrate from our previous solution to QuickSight. During the migration, we discovered that a significant portion of what was in Cognos wasn’t being used. With AWS Database Migration Service (AWS DMS), we were able to put our data into Amazon Redshift and then build dashboards with QuickSight.
Navigating the pandemic with consumption-based pricing
Shortly after we switched to AWS and QuickSight, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which impacted the hospitality industry considerably. If we hadn’t made this migration, we would have been stuck with fixed licensing costs. Thanks to the AWS pay-as-you-go pricing model, we were able to only pay for what we needed when demand was lower in 2020. Then when travel increased again, we were able to seamlessly scale back up with demand.
This consumption-based pricing model was one of the reasons we chose QuickSight, which turned out to be a game changer during an unanticipated event. We didn’t have to do any of the scaling down and then jump back up ourselves.
Increased usage and functionality
Even as we have reduced costs, our enterprise BI adoption and usage has gone up almost tenfold. Our corporate users and hoteliers find QuickSight much more intuitive than Cognos. We have 24,000 registered users and 8,000 monthly active users within BWH Hotels.
With greater usage comes greater responsibility for governance and training. When we began the move to AWS, we had a weekly governance meeting, which we have now moved to biweekly. In this governance meeting, we determined how we were going to standardize data handling and set rules. These meetings also gave us the opportunity to provide training on the new tools we were using, like QuickSight. Finally, we also had learning sessions which team members were able to access virtually. Now, whenever a new team begins to use QuickSight, we have 3–4 years’ worth of training material to help them get up to speed. We have also found the training resources provided by QuickSight to be valuable.
Improving our business with QuickSight
The BWH Hotels Revenue Management team was an early adopter of QuickSight. We have around 20–30 specific revenue management dashboards used both by corporate and hoteliers worldwide. Our sales team has implemented QuickSight to perform recency, frequency and monetary (RFM) analysis to determine which customers it should prioritize. With these dashboards, our sales teams at both the corporate and property levels are able to score customer and corporate accounts so that they can optimize how they use their time. We have also begun to experiment with sentiment analysis based on call center data that is fed into Amazon Transcribe. Gathering a multitude of data and then visualizing it in QuickSight has made us a much nimbler organization.
We are also excited about the value we are able to provide to our hoteliers with QuickSight Paginated Reports for creating billing invoices. With this new feature, our hotel operators no longer need to go onto the credit card processing portal to access transactions. They can access the information they need right within QuickSight.
Building for the future
In the near future, we plan to embed QuickSight into our property management system (PMS), AutoClerk. This will provide BWH Hotels and our hoteliers with analytics within their PMS, saving them time and giving them easy access to the information they need to improve their businesses. By including analytics, AutoClerk will provide incredible value to customers.
By switching to QuickSight, BWH Hotels has provided more value to our hoteliers – increasing adoption, saving money and building for the future.
To learn more about how QuickSight can help your business with dashboards, reports and more, visit Amazon QuickSight.
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About the Author
Joseph W. Landucci serves as Director of Technology Management at BWH Hotels where he has spent over eight years building and evolving their data management strategy. In this role he is responsible for the management and strategic direction of six product teams: Database, Revenue Management Systems, Data Services, Loyalty Applications, Loyalty Automation and Enterprise Analytics.