At STR Analytics, our charge is to innovate, create and consult using the massive database of hotel performance information that STR houses. Just pulling the data is often imposing enough, but actually trying to discern trends from a 300,000-row Excel spreadsheet filled with numbers can reduce even the stoutest of data geeks to tears. So we are constantly looking for new ways to visualize the data, and one of the best pieces of software we've run across to do this is called Tableau.
Simply put, Tableau is a software interface that sits on top of your data source (Excel, CSV, SQL, etc.) and brings to life the data points, letting users change the visuals on the fly. Users can customize a number of views, and recently for the Hotel Data Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, STR Analytics built a series of custom views in Tableau to allow conference attendees to quickly examine what the hotel trends were in their market.
One view of looking at the data through Tableau is to create a revenue-per-available-room recovery map. In this case, we plotted monthly performance data for every tract in the U.S. (more than 600 in all) and compared for each tract its prior peak RevPAR and its current RevPAR. Through Tableau, the results look like this:
Fully recovered tracts are shaded dark green, and tracts with much room for performance are in red. The software lets users easily view, say, only those areas that are between 50% and 70% recovered. Users can also zoom on any particular area or select any existing market or tract.
Someone, for example, might be interested in trends in San Francisco. The following screen shots are an example of what can be visualized for that market through STR Analytics' ability to create complex and custom platforms in Tableau combined with the STR database.
A quick glance shows the San Francisco market is doing well and has fully recovered to its previous peak RevPAR level. The dots represent the individual properties that comprise the market, while the performance statistics represent the aggregate market performance.
Keeping with San Francisco as an example, we can also break the market down into the sub-tracts, and plot how each tract performs relative to one another. A RevPAR positioning matrix is a perfect way to demonstrate this, as detailed below.
As shown, as of the second quarter 2012, the Market Street tract's hotels (dark orange) achieved the highest rate, followed closely by the Nob Hill/Wharf tract (light orange). The slidebars on the left allow us to cycle the performance of the tracts over time, visualizing changes in competitive position through a full up-and-down cycle of the market.
You can use Tableau to visualize performance over time, and a quick look at the performance of the San Francisco markets shows it bottomed out in January 2010.
A helpful feature of this tool is the ability to select any visually represented data and export it to Excel to be used in your own customs charts or graphs.
More than just performance statistics can be loaded into a platform like this. In addition to the full U.S. census, we can also load in pipeline hotel projects, as demonstrated in the following table.
A map of California and parts of the west visually demonstrate the amount of new supply coming into any area. The larger (and darker) the dot, the bigger the project. Hovering the cursor over any one dot reveals the data on the proposed hotel project.
Hotel sales transaction, also tracked by STR Analytics, completes a visual overview of the health of a market, revealing the magnitude of investor appetite in any one area over the years. The following table details the transaction activity in the San Francisco/San Mateo area.
As shown, by loading STR Analytics' transaction almanac data into Tableau, we can quickly see the peaks and troughs of transaction activity and measure the average price-per-room paid against total volume.
These are just a few ways to use data-shaping software such as Tableau to better visualize the trends users might be searching for (or never knew existed.) STR Analytics is building custom Tableau dashboards for clients and infusing it with custom data runs, both on a one-time and subscription basis.
For more information, contact Carter Wilson at cwilson@STRanalytics.com.
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