Great hospitality feels personal. When you step inside a hotel and you’re warmly greeted by a hotelier, you feel special. If you’re remembered from a past visit, the experience is magical. But that feeling doesn’t need to be limited to on-premise experiences. By segmenting your database and personalizing your email messages to each segment, you can elicit that same feeling for your guests when they open your email. But, doing it well requires creativity, great customer database software and a test-and-measure approach. In this blog article, we provide the basics you need to know when segmenting your database.
Start with clean data
Ever heard the expression, ‘garbage in, garbage out’? This phrase applies to the quality of your hotel contact database. If your database is full of junky contacts or duplicate entries, you’re never going to be able to understand the true state of your hotel contact database. Luckily, automation can help so you don’t need to manually sift through the data and eliminate errors.
Your Hotel CRM should be constantly working to eliminate dupes in an effort to maintain the cleanest database possible. Revinate, for example, has developed technology to synthesize the existing profiles using machine learning to dedupe and organize the profiles for later use. The result is a database that actually reflects your guests, allowing you to easily see a breakdown of segments for more effective marketing.
Continually build your database
For the same reason that you need to keep your database clean, you also need to keep it growing. The more fuel you add to your database in terms of fresh new contacts or rich data about your existing guests, the stronger your results will be. The great news is that data fills your PMS every time you get a new booking or someone checks into your hotel and you capture more information.
And, the beauty of modern technology is that systems are built to work together. That means that your PMS can integrate seamlessly with your CRM, allowing all the great guest data that you collect to flow right into your CRM. To supplement what happens naturally, you should ensure that your front of house is continually asking for more information from guests when they check in.
In addition, you should make sure that any post-stay feedback that you collect from guests is collected in your CRM. If you’re a Revinate customer, all reviews and surveys that your customers write are automatically send to the CRM and stored with the guest profile, allowing you to have even more data to use to segment your guests.
Start segmenting contacts
With all your beautiful, clean data stored in a guest database, you’re ready to segment your guests. A segment is simply a filter of your guest database that you can save and use for the targeting of your email campaigns or surface data for your own information.
Segments can use different targeting criteria of various fields to narrow down the results from your database. Here are some common ways that hoteliers segment their databases before personalizing email messages.
Subscription Status: Guests that subscribe to your newsletter or blog are your most engaged customers. Segment by subscription status to send monthly newsletters or regular updates about your property.
Geolocation: You can segment your database by local, domestic or international travelers. During the pandemic, many hotels had tremendous success by reaching out to their guests with stay-cation offers.
Loyalty: You can segment by lifetime spend or total nights stayed. This is a great way to identify your best, most loyal guests.
Demographics: You can segment by attributes such as gender, birthday, travels with family, couple, etc. Depending on your amenities and services, you can see how being able to isolate families can allow you to present highly targeted upsell offers or promotions. For example, you can offer a kids-eat-free promotion or upsell families into a larger suite.
Channel/Market: You can segment by preferred booking channel, such as direct, OTA or corporate clients. Many hoteliers segment by OTA booker and send a special promotional offer to these guests in order to drive the business direct on the next stay.
Room Type: You can segment by room type in order to isolate standard travelers from those that like to upgrade. For example, you can create a segment that targets all guests who have stayed in a Deluxe King Suite if you want to send an email campaign to promote your newly renovated King Suites.
Lead Times: One handy way to segment guests is by lead time. You can then send promotions for last minute stays to guests who you know are comfortable with last minute decisions. Also, by segmenting by lead time, you can hit your guests with holiday offers in the timeframe they have booked before.
Drill Down Deeper
While the segments above are a great start, sometimes you’ll want more granular segments. If you’re using a modern guest marketing solution, like Revinate Marketing, you can use AND vs OR statements to define your segments.
In Revinate, you can have as many lines of criteria in your segment as you wish. But, as you might expect, your segment count will drop as your search gets more specific. Playing with segments and seeing the count of guests that meet the criteria is a great way to understand the make-up of your database.
Why should you care?
According to our data, segmented emails often see 2.5x higher open rates and 3x times higher click-throughs. And more engagement means more bookings.
Need proof? Mark Anderson, Commercial Deputy General Manager at The Royal Garden Hotel, attributes his success in building Royal Garden’s diverse group of loyal guests to the personalized marketing he is able to execute with Revinate Marketing. By building segments within his database based on booking channel, rate code, and stay patterns, is always confident they are sending the right message to the right audience in a way that feels timely and meaningful.
Powered by segmentation with Revinate, the Royal Garden Hotel now enjoys a repeat booking rate of 40% because they’ve been able to build long-lasting guest relationships with personalized messages and experiences.