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In today’s world, travelers have become more technologically sophisticated. It is becoming increasingly difficult to measure guest behavior through a standalone system. The modern hotel marketer is encouraged to be data savvy to better understand their guests and take actionable insights that can drive greater business growth.
“Data is the new oil. It's valuable but if unrefined it cannot really be used”
Clive Humby, UK Mathematician & architect of Tesco’s club card
When it comes to hotels analyzing guest data, there are often pain points that need to be addressed, in order to get the best insights to drive daily businesses and operations.
Hotels may be connected to an abundance of systems and intelligent tools used to measure performance yet without good analytical skills, the simple process of understanding the customer through data can be a complex undertaking.
“Almost a third (32%) of travel and hospitality industry marketers rate data science as the skill they most lack, with programmatic coming in a close second at 28%.”
With useful insights hotels and marketers stand a better chance of engaging with guests and more importantly to drive engagement, guest loyalty, direct booking, and ancillary revenues.
Here are 5 great insights beyond the pain points of accessing behavioral insights via hotel property platforms or CRM systems.
1. Accessing Pre-Trip Booking Data to Further Increase Direct Bookings
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Pre-trip booking behavior provides valuable information related to the type of hotel deals on your website, such as booking periods and preferred room types. Using website tools such as Google Analytics can provide additional information such as traveler ‘interests’ that contribute to an aggregated understanding of your guests’ preferences.
Going beyond, guest browsing data can be linked to actual direct bookings to provide you with the most relevant insight, from browsing to purchasing. Booking confirmation reference IDs in connection with bookings from the IBE (Internet Booking Engine) can show more purchasing details.
With relevant data to understand what types of customers make direct bookings, hotels can start to create more targeted and segmented campaigns to reach more like-minded travelers and fuel a greater number of bookings.
In some instances, additional tools such as Google Signals allow marketers to understand the customer journey better across multiple devices as they interact with hotel websites. A complete overview of the journey can impact hotel marketing strategies and lead smarter campaigns that target more segmented customers, such as mobile-only booking travelers.
To assess the success of booking funnels and the need for re-marketing campaigns, measuring the number of drop-offs plays a vital role in learning how to bring customers back to complete their bookings. Booking abandonment can be approached with a more personalized strategy that encourages return from a dropped-off customer. Several re-marketing companies do provide such services for a small commission fee.
There are many sophisticated proprietary tools on the market on top of Google Analytics. Should the platform be incompatible, exploring other support tools is a long-term investment that will sustain the growth and stability of your hotel. Get the best out of the data already made available to you and use insights to inform marketing campaigns and booking experiences that can be taken into action and make a difference.
2. Leveraging Location Data for Geo marketing In-Destination
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Tangible figures, such as revenues generated from direct bookings are a common objective among hotels. Yet what's greatly lacked is the ability for hotels to successfully engage with guests in the middle of a hotel stay. In-destination marketing is one of the many underrated positive ROIs that can elevate guest satisfaction and monetary value.
With GPS-enabled devices made available to guests during their hotel stay, such amenities, are a great way to better understand your guests. From traveler interests to city mapping and preferred travel routes, a device, such as a smartphone can enable you to obtain valuable insights. Data may be anonymous, however the awareness can bring to light trends among specific demographics and traveler types.
Hone the chance to offer customized package tours and digital city guides that are both relevant and create a better guest experience. By partnering with local tours and in-destination packages, you can also take this guest experience further, creating new revenue streams through new opportunities.
3. Understanding In-Destination Purchasing Behavior for Effective Promotional Campaigns
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A customer’s purchasing behavior is valuable for creating relevant in-stay promotions that can help increase your brand facilities and ancillary services, such as spa treatments or special luxury services. As a hotelier, an abundant amount of information regarding guest purchasing behavior is made available to you, from event interests to room type, pillow and even food preferences.
As a marketer, the best way to run a campaign is to spot trends and patterns from hotel data. A hotel may spot underused facilities and can start implementing the means necessary to driving greater utilization. Other examples, cover bringing greater exposure to F&B outlets, whereby running a ‘happy hour’ or special tea set promotion can increase additional spending from your guests.
Together with marketing platforms, such as social media channels and hotel websites, utilization of smart gadgets can promote your services to guests more effectively. Target your guests during peak times through the use of digital concierge displays and tablets. Push notifications are also a great way to capture your guests attention in room or on-the-go, such as via portable hotel smartphones. Learn how to schedule messages at the right time with the right offers that speak to your guests.
Personalized experiences are on the rise and increasingly expected. With past-purchasing behavior insights and preferential data obtained from your reservations systems or CRM, you can plot trends and provide an unique experience to returning guests.
4. Optimizing Guest Reviews to Improve Online Ratings
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One of the most useful data collection tools a hotel can have and make use of is reputation management software. When a guest posts a review on TripAdvisor about their stay, through sentiment analysis these platforms can map a guest’s rating to their specific use of facilities, services and operational activities at your hotel. For example, when a guest posts - “I enjoyed my stay, however when I checked in my bed was not properly made and the sheets were dirty” the software is able to recognize the negative sentiment through keyword pick up.
When a review is submitted through the use of digital hotel gadgets, the hotelier has the opportunity to act on this with a shorter response time frame. This publicly available data also provides hotels with the opportunity to measure the performance of multiple properties within a hotel brand through linked metrics. You can also improve overall hotel rankings and drive more future bookings for your own and sister hotels all at once.
5. Harness Guest Data from the PMS or CRM for Email Marketing
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When a guest books directly, their email address is made available to you through your PMS or CRS systems. Harnessing this piece of guest information is an important step. With the opportunity to capture their data in multiple locations and times over a year, automotive tools are able to create data profiles to best help you learn about your individual guests and target them during in-stay, post journey, and pre-trip.
According to Marketingprofs, an email marketing channel is one of the most effective channels according to 52% of marketers, coming only second to a hotel’s direct website. This indicates a loss in vital opportunities for creating repeat bookings and building loyalty, if email address acquisition is not a top marketing priority.
“Getting an email address is the first critical step to figuring out who my reader is, and hopefully in the future, my customer of some sort. If our goal is to drive sales or keep customers happy in some way, we first need to get them as part of our audience. If I have one regret as a business owner, it’s not focusing on building our email list earlier in the process.”
— Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute
An email address helps connect guest data across multiple platforms. It becomes an important factor for noticing patterns and touch points related to pre-trip, in-stay and post-trip data. With the chance to create personalized email campaigns that can drive bookings and repeat stays, hotels can have better occupancy rates hand-in-hand with brand loyalty.
Data collection is a powerful tool for hoteliers, but together with the GDPR (General Data Privacy Regulation) implementation on May 25, 2018, companies around the world, including hotels are properly managing personal data for its long-term value.
A report survey by Siteminder showed that almost 80% of hoteliers are of the opinion that prioritizing guest personalization and experience would bring the most success to them, followed by branding at 67%.
With personalization becoming a priority for many hoteliers, so is the founding need for analytical insights. Hotels can learn to collate across multiple touch points and data profiling to deliver a better customer experience.
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