My instinct was to use an observation from the Justice Court: "I know when I see it".
That applies to what is analysis. I know it when I see it.
That, of course, would have been an unhelpful answer.
So here I what I actually said:
If you see a data puke (lots of data, 12-15 morning reports, different graphs, pies, trends, different ratio or metrics) then you know you are looking for at the result of a revenue reporting, even if this is called a Hotel Finance / Sales template.
If you see words in English outlining actions that need to be taken, and below the fold you see the relevant supporting data, then you are looking at the result of the revenue data analysis.
Would you agree?
The job of data revenue reporting is to punt the part of interpreting the data, understanding the context and identifying actions to the recipient of the data puke.
If that is your role, then the best you can do is to make sure to summarize the data into Excel and add a color to the table header.
So what about revenue analysis?
The job of revenue analysis mandates a good understanding of the business priorities (Independent Hotel Strategies, RevPAR growth, Market share goals, Variance Week 4 vs. Week 2), creation of the right custom reports (i.e Ramadan Period analysis for last 3 years, Market Segmentation - Peak Periods), application of market segments to that data (FIT - Travel Agents - Group Series), and finally and most importantly, presentation on your insights and recommended action using the right language.
See the difference? it's a different job, requires different work and of course radically different skills.
Analysts constantly complain that no one follows any of their data-base recommendations. How do you expose your hard work?
Top 5 signs that you are looking at / doing revenue analysis
1- The thing you see instantly is not data, but rather actions for the business to take.
2 - I have never seen revenue analysis without effective data / market segmentation.
3 - If there is even a hint of the impact of actions being recommended then I know that is analysis. It is hard to say: I am recommending that we shift the Travel Agents business into the FIT. It is harder to say: I am recommending ...and that should increase revenue by AED 100,000 and profit by AED 60,000. Look for that.
4 - If you see fabulous metrics like Benchmarking Penetration, Month by Month RevPar , Top 10 Accounts year-to-date, then they are good signs that the Analyst is stepping outside Revenue Trends. I would still recommend looking below the surface to ensure that they are not just data pukes, but the good thing is these are smarter metrics.
5 - An application of algorithmic intelligence, data sort, expected range of metric values, or anything that even smells of ever so advanced statistics is a good sign. Unknowns, unknowns are what it's all about.
I hope you have some fun learning how to distinguish between revenue reporting and revenue analysis. It is a fact of life that we need both. The bigger the hotel inventory, the more they want data puke, sorry, reporting.
But if you have "Analysts" in your job title then you perhaps now have a stronger idea of what is expected of you to earn that title. If you are hiring a " Revenue analyst consultant" and are paying them big AED then you know what to expect from them. Don't settle for data reporting, push them harder.
Apply the rules above. Send their "analysis" back. Ask for more. Raise your expectations!
I hope now "you will know it when you see it", and have more "datagasm"!
I strongly recommend Independent Hotels in the Middle East to search for a Revenue Analyst to develop, because this role has a direct double digits impact on your profitability. You cannot give this role to a Financial Controller or a Director of Sales, because they have their own duty. I am talking of someone who spend 80% of his time analysis (Excel mainly) and 20% remaining for presentation of the outcomes.
Okay, it's your turn now.
How would you answer the question about the difference between revenue reporting and revenue analysis? What signs do you look for when evaluating the work of your Analyst?
Please share your thoughts via comments below.
Romain @ RSVP Hospitality