There has been a lot of buzz in the press over the last several years about Big Data. The explosion of data, coupled with increased consumer expectations for personalized communications and service, has the potential to completely change the way marketers communicate with their audience. Here are five reasons why data is so important for hotels in particular.
1. Why does data volume and variety matter?
By collecting data through guest bookings and engagement, hotel marketers can get enough data on their guest population to gain valuable insights. Not getting a sufficient amount of data leads to inconclusive results. But, with a large volume and variety of demographic, social, behavioral, and transactional data, hoteliers can deliver more personalized communications and services to people who have interests and preferences in common. They can also create complete guest profiles, to engage more deeply on a one-to-one level. This first-party data is free to collect, and provides deep insights to truly understand, engage, and convert current and incoming guests.
For example, hoteliers can use first-party data collected from guests currently in the database to build look-alike segments. They can then use these segments to target guests with similar demographic and interest profiles to increase guest loyalty and satisfaction.
2. Why does data quality matter?
Stale, inaccurate guest data means wasted dollars and irrelevant guest experiences. Capturing first-party data and keeping it up-to-date and accurate is the key to reaching the right guest with the right message at the right time. Quality data also increases campaign deliverability (more on that here) and customization. And, it gives you more accurate insights into how to improve your operations to increase guest satisfaction.
3. Why do you segment data?
Sending one-size-fits-all messages to guests results in hit-or-miss performance. Segmenting guests based on location, interests, past purchases and other data points enables hotel marketers to reach a more defined audience with highly relevant messaging. Catering content, offers, and more to specific attributes of guest profiles optimizes spend, engagement, conversion, and loyalty.
For example, you can improve conversions and loyalty by segmenting guests according to their on-site behaviors. Say you notice that your spa has openings for an upcoming weekend. You can create a segment of guests who have booked with your spa and live within driving distance of the hotel. Inviting these guests back with a special spa offer is more likely to be effective than a generic blast to your entire database.
4. Why do hotel marketers need to access data directly?
When left dependent and waiting on an IT department to run reports and segment data, or on a marketing firm to create and deliver HTML emails, hotel marketers lose the agility needed to reach guests with highly pertinent messages at prime points of influence. The ability to directly access, analyze, and act on data results in rapid campaign turnaround, testing and optimization based on guests’ real-time interests and behaviors.
5. Why does it matter to understand guests across channels?
Without a single repository for all guest data, hotels can easily lose track of guests across social, email, PMS, POS, GSS, and other channels. Consolidating guest data across systems and collecting it in individual profiles unlocks the ability to create personalized guest experiences that span multiple touch points across that guest’s stay.
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