In travel, it seems we often look outward before looking inward, starting with the answers without having asked the questions that help us arrive at truly useful conclusions. For instance, how often have you rolled out a marketing plan without a detailed review of your guests and their spend from the previous year or two? Do you know, for certain, who your most lucrative guests are or are you guessing at who you believe them to be?
In order to plan smartly, it is essential to ask questions. However, before you ask questions, you must have gathered the data to support them—ideally using a CRM that integrates data from a variety of both online and offline sources. With this data on hand, you can dig deep into your channels, guests, their behaviors, your reservations department, and revenue in order to develop a plan that is informed by real guests, tailored to weed out what hasn’t worked, and driven by what you know is profitable.
So, assuming you have the right data, what should you ask of it before crafting plans?
- Which channel is the highest-profit channel? For most, this will be direct, but analysis of all channels helps hotels create a strategic hierarchy.
- Further, what efforts are driving more profitable direct channel bookings?
- What is the investment and return on click-to-call? More and more travelers are opting to call from a mobile device, and this is more important than ever to mobile search and bookings projected to be at their highest historical levels in 2016.
- What is the most profitable segment? Then design a targeted and automated outreach around it.
- What were the top campaigns of 2015 in total revenue and ROI?
- How does your drive market compare to others in terms of ADR and occupancy?
- Which offers and packages had the highest conversion rate? How were they delivered?
Guests Preferences & Behaviors
- What are your guests typical booking windows?
- What time of year do they stay and when do they start the planning process?
- Couples? Families? Framily? Bleisure? Explore your segments.
- What markets do they come from?
- What marketing messages and vehicles did they respond to?
- What was the average length of a successful reservation call in 2015? What other qualities did those calls have in common (did the agent ask for the reservation, did agents use the guest’s name regularly, how did the agent describe the property?)
- Review individual agent metrics to isolate the highest performing agents, and review the team as a whole. Reservations teams tend to change throughout the year, so consider agent attrition or team expansion when developing conclusions.
- How does online, offline, and agent-booked revenue compare?
- What was the revenue achieved per lead from email campaigns? And how is that different when using recipient segmentation, retargeting and other automation?
- What are the conversion percentages across all channels?
Hotels that ask these questions of their data can create profitable strategic plans and allocate their budget resources wisely for the greatest return. They generally eliminate any unnecessary costs associated with reaching out to the wrong markets or guests, and become more efficient by launching targeted marketing to guests based on those guests as unique individuals.
If you lack the data to support these questions or are uncertain how to reach the answers using data you’ve gathered through your CRM, a NAVIS System Consultant can help you on the data path.