There’s been a lot of buzz over the past few years about the explosion of big data. And that explosion has created a new world of data-driven hospitality, where the convergence of hotel marketer data, analytics, and guest expectations for personalized communications and service are redefining the way hotels connect with their guests. Read on to discover five pivotal reasons why data is now the heartbeat of modern hotels.
What you will see here
1. Better data leads to better insights
Not having access to diverse and abundant data presents considerable challenges for hotel operators. Limited data restricts your ability to identify patterns and make informed decisions that not only benefit the customer experience, but your bottom line as well. For example, if your hotel has access to a small data set, you may struggle to identify nuanced booking behaviors that impact your business. Or you may not be able to personalize experiences because you lack a clear understanding of evolving guest preferences.
The greater the volume of variable data you have at your disposal, the richer the insights you can obtain from it, and the better you understand your guests’ behaviors and interests. An expansive pool of variable data can cover a spectrum of areas, from understanding visitors’ reasons for travel, to booking lead times, to factors that influence repeat visits. And it empowers you to do things such as identify which guests prefer rooms with scenic views or enjoy spa services. Armed with this information, you can tailor your marketing efforts to promote specific features and amenities, enhancing the guest experience and simultaneously boosting customer loyalty.
In addition to the need for abundant data, the type of data you use is important as well. Zero-party data is information that customers proactively share with you, like feedback and information about their interests. First-party data is data directly collected from guest communications, including booking history and online interactions. Second-party data is data collected by another company, and purchased by your business in a private transaction. And third-party data is purchased or acquired from external sources on an open marketplace.
Many companies are moving away from third-party data due to concerns about privacy and regulatory compliance. And second-party data is often less relevant than your own customer dat. Zero- and first-party data are the only types that ensure accuracy and reliability. They allow you to narrowly focus your communications, making them indispensable for hotel marketing strategies.
You can learn to optimize your direct guest communications with the complete guide to first-party data for hoteliers.
2. Clean data leads to precise targeting
In addition to abundant data, you need clean data. When your database isn’t clean, it’s like trying to solve a puzzle with missing, torn, or duplicate pieces. You end up with an inaccurate image, and it’s nearly impossible to envision the completed picture as a whole. A hotel data model filled with dirty data may include multiple entries for the same guest, for example, Mark Davis may appear as “Mark Davis,” “M. Davis,” and “Davis, Mark” in the database, making it challenging to create a comprehensive guest profile.
Messy databases also include incomplete or inaccurate contact information, outdated preferences, and more. Stale and inaccurate hotel marketer data not only wastes valuable resources, but it can lead to irrelevant guest experiences and communications that may have a detrimental effect on your hotel’s reputation.
On the flip side, a clean database ensures each puzzle piece fits neatly into its correct place, contributing to a clear and complete view of your visitors. Revinate’s Advanced Profile Synthesis is a sophisticated AI and machine learning-powered process that automatically cleanses, deduplicates, synthesizes, and merges your guest data, so that you get a true and accurate view of each customer.
With reliable, up-to-date guest information, you can precisely target your marketing campaigns, ensuring the right message reaches the right guest at just the right moment. A clean database boosts your campaign deliverability rates and enhances your customization efforts, allowing you to tailor each visitor interaction to their specific preferences.
A great example that highlights the benefits of maintaining a clean database comes from Lub d. With Revinate solutions, the hotel group effectively used their first-party data to customize and automate guest communications, reducing their reliance on OTAs, and increasing their direct booking conversion rates 100% year-over-year.
3. Data segments empower personalization
The days of sending generic, one-size-fits-all communications to your guests are long gone. Hoteliers have learned this is simply not an effective strategy. To truly engage your guests, segmentation of your hotel marketer data is key, and it’s essential for total revenue management.
Segmentation involves categorizing your guest profiles based on specific factors, such as location, demographics, interests, past purchase history, and more. It’s the bridge that connects you with your guests, because you can then use these segments to craft highly targeted and relevant messages — and personalized experiences — that speak to specific customer segments.
This strategic approach helps you optimize your marketing spend, boost engagement, and drive revenue, just as InterContinental Hua Hin Resort did. The resort noticed they had a 96-hour window of room availability. So, they segmented their guest database to target customers within 200 km of their property and promoted a one-time campaign for last-minute business, driving over 230 room nights.
4. Accessible data streamlines marketing operations
Having direct access to guest data empowers hotel marketers to respond swiftly with relevant messaging precisely when it will have the greatest impact. This is where a Customer Data Platform (CDP) comes into play. A cloud-based CDP houses all guest information in one place, ensuring reliable backups and making it easy for interpreting and acting on data in real time.
It also offers the advantage of automation. You can streamline marketing operations by automating repetitive tasks, such as data segmentation and email delivery. This not only reduces the time and effort required to deploy campaigns, but also minimizes the margin for error or lost business.
As an example, picture a guest checking in and expressing interest in exploring nearby hiking trails. With customer data at your fingertips, you can automatically send a custom-tailored message containing hiking trail recommendations, enhancing the guest’s experience and increasing the likelihood of future bookings.
Another benefit of a CDP is that your marketing team no longer needs to wait for IT teams to run reports. Nor do they waste time contacting different departments to get the information they need. Instead, they can execute campaigns with speed and precision, as well as experience rapid campaign testing and optimization based on customers’ real-time responses.
5. Holistic profiles strengthen omnichannel marketing
A jumbled tech stack with disparate systems can result in fragmented, dirty data and inaccuracies that hinder your marketing and personalization efforts. You may experience misunderstandings, inefficiencies, missed opportunities, and a disjointed customer experience. Plus, you end up with guest information spread across data silos, making it nearly impossible to orchestrate customized communications and seamless visitor experiences.
A CDP provides hotel marketers with a hub for comprehensive customer data drawn from a variety of sources, including social media, email, your property management system (PMS), point of sale (POS), guest satisfaction surveys, and more. It empowers your omnichannel marketing efforts and ability to provide individualized journeys, from tailored pre-arrival emails, to in-stay recommendations, to post-stay follow-ups. The omnichannel approach ensures that your marketing efforts yield optimal results because your messages reach guests through their preferred channels.
As an illustration, imagine you have a guest that often books stays during specific seasons and frequently shares Instagram posts about local events they attend while visiting. With this information at hand, you can send specialized promotions for upcoming stays that highlight local events of interest during those seasons.
This type of targeted approach helps ensure each customer journey is a coherent and special experience, while also boosting booking rates and putting you in a much better position for building lasting guest relationships.
Want to drive more direct revenue and connect with guests? We recommend reading our free email marketing strategy guide. This jam-packed, industry-specific guide helps hoteliers master the art (and science) of email marketing, containing 40+ topics with actionable insights, strategies, and best practices for email marketing.