How We Maintain a Data-driven Culture With Metabase
By Casai Data Director, Miguel Magos Delgado
At Casai, one of our core values is to maintain a data-driven culture. Although we are a hospitality company, many people may not realize that we consider ourselves a technology company first. We use our data to grow faster, better and keep guests coming back.
Our obsession with data goes beyond hiring a fully-stacked data science team. To accomplish a data-driven culture throughout the entire company, it’s critical for us to make data accessible to all teams at all skill levels. All of our team members have access to our data, so they are able to drive change, optimize processes, adapt to new market conditions as fast as possible, and use key data points to influence supply decisions.
Once the data team has gone through the process of collecting, storing and structuring the data generated by day-to-day operations—or gathered from external sources—we’re ready to create dynamic and interactive visualizations, alerts and dashboards. This gives us an entire overview of our business and makes the necessary data available and easy to understand to those at Casai who may not have a data science background. We find that this empowers the team to be more agile and precise in their decision making.
This is where Metabase comes into play.
Metabase is an open source business intelligence tool. It lets us ask questions about our data, and displays answers in formats that are digestible. It can be in the form of a bar graph or a detailed table. We can save questions related to the data, making it easy to come back to them when necessary, or we can group questions into organized dashboards. Metabase also facilitates sharing questions and dashboards with the rest of our team so that everyone can understand and read the data without needing a technical background.
Metabase allows us to do several things:
- Explore our database and analytics.
- Ask new questions by using their graphic interface or by writing SQL queries.
- Create dashboards.
- Set up alerts and send scheduled data insights through emails or Slack.
Let’s explore each of these features.
1. Explore our database and analytics
A very important part of creating a data-driven culture is self-service analytics. Metabase gives us the option to organize our saved questions and dashboards into collections, based on related topics, such as: “revenue” or “operations”. This allows teams to easily source the data they need.
Another interesting feature of Metabase is that it allows us to automatically extract insights from raw data in our database, which allows even non-technical users to be able to quickly explore the available data to find trends or understand the distribution of data. Because of this feature, we can get a general overview of the data without spending too much time searching.
2. Ask new questions by using their graphic interface or by writing SQL queries
Continuing with the self-service analytics features, everyone in the team has access to an interactive question builder. This allows us to explore the data in a lot more detail, by creating aggregations, adding filters, pivot tables and joining data from different sources. For example, you can see how operational data correlates with guests’ experience data.
For more technical users who are familiar with SQL and prefer to write queries instead, there is also that option and it’s possible to transform the output data from those queries into great visualizations that can even include dynamic filters for other users. This is beneficial because, more often than not, complex data manipulation is needed and this can only be done in SQL. However, Metabase allows anyone in the team to interact with the graphs, regardless of how they were created. They can do this through filters and dynamic dashboards without having any coding knowledge. With this feature everyone can find the specific insights they need.
3. Create dashboards
This is the core of our business intelligence. Thanks to the main dashboards, every single person at Casai has visibility of our core KPI’s and can keep track of performance at different levels, either daily, weekly or monthly.
A second benefit of this is that the data we collect is centralized and standardized. This is important as we now have apartments across several cities and two countries.
Tracking our performance is only the first step. After this we can:
- Perform market comparisons or get a general overview of specific competitors.
- Identify trends in the data so we can adapt or adjust our strategies.
- Analyze how the data is affected by customer behaviour and feedback.
4. Set up alerts and send scheduled data insights through emails or Slack
Sometimes the speed at which we receive the data is as vital as the data itself. Most importantly, this can prevent poor guest experiences. For this reason, we have alerts set which notify the specific team whenever something unexpected occurs or that requires urgent attention. The sooner we detect a double booking or a check-in to an apartment that is still being cleaned, the sooner we can find a solution, before our guest even notices.
Even though certain data isn’t deemed as urgent, it’s still important for it to be available at the right time, as it aids in quickening the decision making process. For instance, checking the occupancy for the week ahead on Monday morning. Thanks to this feature, our data team can send the other teams data from select dashboards at scheduled times, to keep them aware of the real-time data.
By collecting and digesting data at Casai, it enables us to grow as a company. With Metabase, the data we need is made accessible to those at Casai who may not come from a data science background. Utilizing certain data allows us to find room for improvement, so that we can continue to provide the best guest experience — a value that drives Casai to be the leading startup in the technology and hospitality industry in Latin America.
Are you interested in working in a data-driven company? We are hiring!