Big data and direct bookings. Still two of the biggest topics on hoteliers’ minds in 2017, and with good reason: Making sense and use of all the data out there and competing with OTAs remain two of hoteliers’ greatest challenges today. So our TLearn webinar on March 30, hosted by Tnooz, brought these two challenges together to overcome them in one fell swoop: How to win direct bookings with data.
Winning more direct bookings with data is all about using facts and statistics to inform your hotel marketing strategy. In this post I’ll summarise our recommendations from the webinar.
Firstly, it’s important that everyone is on the same page about why data is so important. The simple reason is this: Decisions based on data are more reliable than decisions based on intuition.
Intuitive decisions carry a significant risk in business; one bad call can be detrimental to your livelihood. In addition to making your decisions more reliable, working with data also helps you make decisions faster, which is great news for the busy hotelier.
Secondly, travellers are increasingly researching and booking their travel online: Phocuswright projected online penetration in global travel at 43% for 2016. Then there’s the data from the World Tourism Organisation, which found that more than 1.2 billion people traveled across the globe in 2016, an increase of 3.9% on 2015.
These figures tell us that a huge amount of traveller data can be found online. Hoteliers just need to know where to look for it—and what to do with it when they find it.
The challenges of working with data
Three of the biggest challenges when working with data can be described collectively as the V-Factor.
- Volume: the amount of data needed to draw reliable conclusions; the technical capacity to analyse and store that data
- Velocity: how often to update the data, depending on the variance in trends over time
- Variety: types of data from multiple sources, in different forms
For independent or small hoteliers, overcoming the V-Factor can be difficult. Fortunately, at trivago we have a huge amount of data at our disposal, and we can use that data to guide hoteliers in their hotel marketing strategies.
Three pillars of data for hotel marketing
Working with data only yields valuable results when you structure it and make it actionable. Therefore, we’ve defined three key pillars that you should focus on when seeking data and building a marketing strategy from it.
Recognising what is special about your hotel’s location as a travel destination is one thing. But you need to understand its market value: how many people want to travel there, and what they’re prepared to pay for their hotel when they stay there.
This can be achieved by looking at the supply-and-demand data for your destination. Supply is the number of hotel rooms a guest has access to, and demand can be monitored by tracking the search volume for the destination. Seasonality and events can affect demand, so make sure you anticipate this and take advantage of opportunities to set competitive prices and boost your bookings and revenue.
When you understand the types of guests searching for your hotel, or hotels like yours, you can tailor your online content to appeal to them.
Data about where your potential guests are coming from enables you to reach them in their own languages by having your online content translated. The first step is localising your hotel website, as well as content across all channels and touch points with your hotel brand.
A deeper understanding of these guest types and their search behaviour helps you optimise your hotel profile. Our data analysis has revealed three key traveller types: vacation travellers, business travellers, and weekend travellers. When you know which type is most interested in hotels like yours, you can use this information to highlight specific features and services of your hotel to make it stand out from others in your location.
Understanding what your hotel competitors are doing helps you set competitive prices. Consider your unique selling proposition (USP) and compare it to those of other hotels in your area, to identify which are most like yours and are therefore your closest competition.
You also need traveller-type data for competitor hotels, to be able to reach their audiences as well and target every potential guest. Ideally, you should seek data about your hotel and your competitors from the same source, to be sure you’re comparing apples with apples.
When setting prices, you need rates that are attractive to the guest, in line with what they expect to pay, and competitive with other hotels. Our data analysis of traveller behaviour, in relation to price differences, found a sweet spot: Offering a price that is just 5% lower than what the competition is advertising can result in a 50% increase in booking conversion.
Where can you get the data?
This is the golden question on everyone’s minds, and the corresponding golden rule is to seek reliable sources that overcome the V-Factor.
trivago data is an excellent place to start. You can access all three pillars of data for both your hotel and its competitors with trivago Hotel Manager PRO.
Do you want more revelations from our webinar? Watch the full-length recording here.