How to Create Marketing Audiences using your Hotel CRM

Truth be told, when we first began developing Revinate Hotel CRM, we were primarily focused on two use cases. The first was allowing hoteliers to easily segment guests to create targeted emails that drive better engagement and conversion. The second was to arm hotel staff with rich data about guests to personalize the stay and drive loyalty. But as we began building, we realized the tremendous power of CRM for improving marketing across other channels. As a result, we made sure to include features that enable hoteliers to utilize their guest data in many ways.

All hoteliers can improve their marketing reach and complement their email marketing efforts by using their hotel CRM. It starts by combing through the data to find your best guests. (With Revinate, it’s easy to segment your database by LTV, average nights stayed or other criteria that can help you determine what a great guest looks like to you.) Once you have a list of your best guests, you can export the list and load it into other platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Google. 

With this data loaded into third party platforms, hoteliers can really take advantage of their customer data. They can create paid advertising campaigns aimed at the same segments that they are emailing. They can target past guests to return in more ways than just email. And, they can create lookalike audiences to drive new traffic and awareness.

Quick ad primer

Before we dig into the specifics of how to use CRM data to improve your marketing, it might be helpful to review the basics of how today’s most popular advertising platforms work. Due to the tremendous reach of platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and Twitter, it’s no surprise that they’ve become popular with advertisers.

Audience targeting on these platforms has become very sophisticated, allowing advertisers to get their ads in front of virtually anyone brands want. By knowing your core audience, or who you want to reach, you can segment the population of users to ensure your ad reaches the right types of people. Or, by uploading your own lists of customers, you can get your ads in front of specific customers or look-alike audiences, which we’ll address in a minute. If you’re uploading your own lists, you need to be aware of your ‘match rate,’ which is the percentage of your uploaded list that can be matched on an ad platform. Since the average match rate is around 40%, you need to be aware that your ad won’t reach everyone on your list. 

Lookalike audiences

In 2013, Facebook launched lookalike audiences, which allowed its advertisers to reach out to potential customers with similar characteristics to their current customers. This was a huge innovation in advertising because lookalike audiences make ads far more relevant for the consumer and more effective for the advertiser. The premise is that the best way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your brand is by finding people who are similar to your best existing customers. 

Other advertisers, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Google followed suit with their versions of lookalike audiences. Google’s similar audiences provides marketers with the ability to target similar audiences across Google’s ad properties, including Search, Shopping, Gmail, YouTube, and Display. The company claims to drive five times more reach than with remarketing lists alone. 

Given the traffic, multitude of advertising options and reach of these platforms, hoteliers today have the opportunity to reach a lot of new customers that act and spend like your best guests. And, unlike many businesses that don’t have easy access to customer data, hoteliers are rich in data, allowing them to benefit tremendously from lookalike audiences. Even hoteliers that don’t consider themselves digitally savvy can build a lookalike audience, especially those that are using Revinate Hotel CRM. By using your existing data to find new audiences, you will be able to improve other marketing activities, using a tool you already own. Consider it an extra bonus feature!

How-To

To get started, all you need is access to your CRM data and access to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google ads manager. To capture your audience, we suggest pulling a list of your top 5,000 best customers based on lifetime value, average stay spend, lifetime visits, engagement or any other qualities that matter to you. Think about your property and the type of guests you want to attract. For example, if you have a resort that caters to families, find guests that traveled with families. If you cater to honeymooners, find guests that celebrated their honeymoon with you. 

Revinate Marketing customers can build a ‘Top Customers’ segment, directly in the platform. You can have as many lines of criteria in your segment as you wish. To see how big your list is, you can click on “Update Stats” to see an immediate count of segment members. Once you are happy with your segment, you can click on “Create” and export the list. 

Once you have the list, you can upload it into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google and follow the prompts to get your ads in front of new audiences that look similar to your best customers. In most cases you will select the country/countries where you’d like to find a similar set of people, select your audience size and click create audience. You might need to adjust settings as you go given your match rates, and ad networks’ minimum audience size. Segments must pass this threshold in order to be utilized.

Keep in Mind…

While the process is simple, there are some things to keep in mind. First, if you only want to reach new users, make sure to exclude your remarketing list, if you uploaded one. Second, smaller lookalike audiences perform better. Similar to our research on smaller email segments outperforming larger sends that we published in our benchmark report, the same is true for audience size. The closer your lookalike audience resembles your customers, the more success you will have. Finally, networks take time to upload and process large lists. Be sure to create your audiences in advance of when your offer goes live. This gives you time to ensure the audience is ready, and provides time for the ad approval process.

If this article has gotten you excited about using your CRM data to improve your marketing efforts but deep down you know that your CRM is too hard to work with, please reach out. Hoteliers today need actionable guest data that they can use to power their email program, their guest experiences and their digital marketing. Without great data, you’re at a disadvantage. With Revinate Hotel CRM, you have everything you need to market to your existing guests, ensure they feel recognized and appreciated on property AND find new customers online. 

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