This week, Revinate and Fastrack Digital hosted a webinar for the hospitality industry titled, “Outperforming Your Competitors by Using Data”. Speakers included Adrian Caruso from Fastrack Group and Dylan Cole and Nicole Wiener from Revinate. The overarching message to hoteliers was that your website and your email list are the only two digital assets you really own. Therefore, focusing on guest data and building a strong email list is important because it gives you the ability to communicate directly with your guests.
For years, hoteliers have relied upon OTAs to drive bookings. At first, the two parties shared a symbiotic relationship. Hotels were happy to fill unbooked rooms with OTA customers looking for a discount and OTAs were thrilled to get a piece of the pie for the introduction to the hotel. But while putting heads in beds was a valuable service that drove revenue, as time went on OTAs were not only taking a percentage of the profits, but they were also owning the relationship with guests.
Some OTAs introduced their own loyalty programs and offered their own booking incentives. At the same time, they demanded rate parity from hotels, often making it hard for hotels to compete. One of the most egregious moves was masking OTA guests’ emails so that hoteliers couldn’t email them after the stay to encourage a direct booking the next time.
Since OTAs have enormous marketing budgets and can outspend even the largest hotel brands on AdWords and organic search, it has never been more important for hotels to work with what they have and where they can win—personalized email marketing using their guest database.
Email is such a profitable channel because the only cost involved is the CRM software. You use your own data, your own email and your own marketing acumen to segment your customers and ensure that the message and offer you send is relevant. The more data that you have on your guests, the greater your ability to segment your guests will be.
Segmentation is a very powerful tool that has been proven to drive better open rates and better conversion. By analyzing the emails sent from customers using Revinate Marketing, we can see that segmented campaigns of 5,000 or fewer recipients see significantly higher engagement metrics than larger email blasts. In fact, open rates go from 9.96% to 23.54% when emails are segmented and conversion goes from .07% to .32%. More personalized communication drives engagement and engagement drives revenue.
To help hoteliers understand how they can segment their guests, during the webinar Wiener shared three common categories of data that can be used to personalize emails. They are demographics, stay data and guest preferences. Using demographic data, hoteliers can segment guests by gender, location (geo-targeting), lifetime spend, VIP status, and more. Stay data can include room type, average room rate, market code, booking channel and more. Finally, guest preferences can include any data that you capture from reservations or surveys.
To see examples of how segmentation can be used to drive profitable email campaigns, watch on our blog for a post on real world examples that were shared during the webinar that you can leverage to drive bookings using segmentation. Or, if you would like to see a demo of Revinate Marketing, let us know. We would love to help you put your guest data to work driving bookings.