Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Business Intelligence and the Start-Up – By Martin Pucher

To share...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUpon

Author Martin Pucher, COO and Co-Founder of Inspirato

Business Intelligence can be an intimidating subject matter, but I’m here to say that it doesn’t have to be.

When my co-founders and I launched Inspirato in 2011, we didn’t have a business intelligence program.  We chose to make investments in our product – luxury vacation homes – and while we knew we had the data collection and analysis of our members and business, we didn’t have a strategy in place to use that data to guide us in our business. Very soon, however, we got over the tips of our skis and realized how integral BI would be to our business’ success.  We needed the ability to get the right data at the right time so that we could make educated decisions about our business.

So we started a BI program from scratch at Inspirato and I can tell you from experience that there are a few key areas to focus on in terms of dollar and time investment:

  • Develop a data warehouse strategy. Where are you going to store all of the information you are gathering?
  • Identify the architecture but don’t get hung up on what tools you are going to use just yet – those will depend on what information you are collecting and what you plan to do with it. Instead, focus on establishing a process and determining the platform. And make sure all the systems will talk to one another so when you make a change it is communicated to the other systems and you can avoid data creep.
  • Clearly understand your definitions. What are you reporting on? What are you counting? Answering these questions is key to the success of the BI program, so make sure everyone agrees on what questions need answering. In our case, for example, we had to sit down and decide what counted as a membership. For example, does an add-on to a Core Membership count as a separate membership?
  • Then identify your key tools. At Inspirato we use Informatica ETL software, which allows us to create complex mappings between our systems. We can extract from data sources in our enterprise system and put that into a data warehouse where it becomes the record of truth.
  • The last piece is to determine what visualization tools you will use to share the findings. This is the end goal of business intelligence after all: converting raw data into valuable information that can be used by each department of the business, from accounting to member services.

Although we got a late start in using the data strategically, our investments in developing a BI program have made Inspirato smarter and more efficient, and have been a major contributor to our successes.

BI has helped us develop value adds for our members across our platform such as our Jaunt Now and Jaunt 52 programs. For example, based on historical patterns, we now have predictive abilities that can estimate what properties are likely to be available and when. This helps us determine which properties should be put into our Jaunt program, which offers our members significant nightly rate discounts on available properties.  This increases member engagement, reduces vacancy, and drives revenues.

BI has also helped us strategically build our real estate portfolio. Which residences and destinations are popular? Which aren’t? Is the nightly rate priced appropriately? Is our occupancy sufficient? These are decisions that affect not just the real estate portfolio but how our members use the club.

More than anything, however, BI tells us the story of our business. Are we getting better at serving our members? Are we meeting our financial goals? Is there a red flag in the data that we can correct quickly? Our BI program allows us to have the data ready when we need it and use it to, in many ways, look into the future.

In short: even in the start-up phase, don’t neglect the business intelligence program. Making investments in this part of the business early on will allow you to make strategic business decisions and stay ahead of the curve for the long haul.

To share...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUpon
Martin Pucher

About Martin Pucher

Founder and COO of Inspirato