First Cornell and SAS Hospitality Analytics Roundtable Focuses on Customers

Apr 20, 2011

Contact:  Jane Henion, 607.255.9780,

First Cornell and SAS Hospitality Analytics Roundtable Focuses on Customers

Hospitality firms must develop a universal approach in all media to learn what customers want

Ithaca, NY, April 20, 2011 – Hospitality firms now have the tools to track customer behavior across many web and social media platforms, so that marketers can offer pricing and other offers that are customized to individual customers. The first Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) Hospitality Analytics Roundtable, sponsored by SAS, drew some 30 industry executives to Las Vegas to examine the level of market research that has been made possible through customers' social media and web activities. CHR Roundtables are open to all center partners and invited participants.

Roundtable organizer Chris Anderson, an assistant professor at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, explained that the roundtable covered the following four major areas: social media analytics, web analytics, customer choice modeling, and customer centric pricing. "To the extent possible, hotels can use customer-centric approaches pioneered by casinos," he said. "Hotels should be looking to use the information that guests share to create specific pricing and package offers, and provide upgrades for individual customers. Much of this is enabled through social media and web traffic analysis."
The huge volume of information available on the web and social media requires extensive analysis. Anil Aggarwal, CEO of Milestone Internet Marketing, Inc., outlined new tools that have been created to monitor and track online social media traffic, similar to Google Analytics. Kelly McGuire, practice director, global hospitality and travel practice for SAS, explained the three steps to make sense out of the unstructured data on the web. They are content categorization, text mining, and sentiment analysis. By creating a framework for discussion of social media flow, McGuire points out the differences between using social media to communicate with customers and using it to understand customers' desires. Thus, outbound communication creates demand, builds brand awareness, and drives customers' development and retention. Inbound, customer-generated content provides information to support promotion and pricing decisions, as well as to develop strategy.

Google continues to develop new products and analytical tools, according to analytics manager Nick Tully, including Google Webmaster and Google Places. The increasing array of options provided by online shopping requires firms to manage customers' information overload. Cornell Professor Rohit Verma, CHR executive director, demonstrated how customer choice modeling provides a framework to ensure consumers are seeing the appropriate product attribute choices. Vikas Sabnani, senior director of revenue optimization at Expedia, Inc., and Jay Hubbs, director, hotel supplier relations at, illustrated how online travel agents need to manage their displays to provide the most appropriate assortment of hotels for each customer. These analytical efforts are all aimed at what might be called a market segment of one, in which the hotel or casino presents a specific offer based on an individual's stated preferences. Marco Benvenuti, partner, co-founder of Duetto Consulting, explained the soon-to-open Casino del Sol's approach to customer-centric promotion. The customer-centric model will allow the casino to quote rates and promotions according to each customer's overall estimated value to the casino.

About SAS
SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions delivered within an integrated framework, SAS helps customers at more than 50,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW®.

SAS and all other SAS Institute Inc. product or service names are registered trademarks or trademarks of SAS Institute Inc. in the USA and other countries. ® indicates USA registration. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies. Copyright © 2011 SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved.

As a CHR partner, SAS sponsors a series of webcasts, "Insights and Innovations for Hospitality and Gaming."

About CHR Roundtables
CHR roundtables are a meeting place for invited senior-level hospitality industry executives and Cornell faculty members. Each roundtable lasts one day and is divided into four or five sessions. Sessions begin with a short research presentation (by a Cornell faculty member, faculty from another institution, or an industry leader) that lasts five to ten minutes. Immediately following, one or two industry discussants either support or contest the researcher's hypothesis or conclusion. The conversation is then opened up to the entire roundtable for discussion. For more information on roundtables, please visit:

About The Center for Hospitality Research
A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the center's 81 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit

Center Senior Partners: Hilton Worldwide, McDonald's USA, Philips Hospitality, SAS, STR, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, and TIG Global

Center Partners: Davis & Gilbert LLP, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, Denihan Hospitality Group, eCornell & Executive Education, Expedia, Inc., Forbes Travel Guide, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Fox Rothschild LLP, French Quarter Holdings, Inc., HVS, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jumeirah Group, LRP Publications, Maritz, Marriott International, Inc., Marsh's Hospitality Practice,, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Proskauer, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Schneider Electric, Thayer Lodging Group, Thompson Hotels, Travelport, and WATG

Center Friends: • American Tescor, LLC • Argyle Executive Forum • Berkshire Healthcare • Center for Advanced Retail Technology • Cody Kramer Imports • Cruise Industry News • DK Shifflet & Associates • • EyeforTravel • Gerencia de Hoteles & Restaurantes • Global Hospitality Resources • Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) • • • Hospitality Technology Magazine • Hotel Asia Pacific • Hotel China • • Hotel Interactive • Hotel Resource • International CHRIE • International Hotel Conference • International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) • iPerceptions • JDA Software Group, Inc. • J.D. Power and Associates • Lodging Hospitality • Lodging Magazine • LRA Worldwide, Inc. • Milestone Internet Marketing • MindFolio • Mindshare Technologies • PhoCusWright • PKF Hospitality Research • The Resort Trades • Resort and Recreation Magazine • • Shibata Publishing Co. • Synovate • The Lodging Conference • The Wall Street Journal • The TravelCom Network • Travel + Hospitality Group • UniFocus • USA Today • WageWatch, Inc. • WIWIH.COM • Wyndham Green