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Hotel analytics to help marketing and revenue

Leveraging OTA Data Insights – Using Analytics To Assist Marketing & Boost Revenue

Across the hospitality industry, data collection has grown and improved by leaps and bounds over the past decade. Not only can establishments now gather a variety of customer information, but they can also better analyze it to target guests with personalized offers and deals.

Growing competition in the hotel industry requires everyone, whether a multinational hotel chain or a family-run B&B, to invest in collecting and decoding guest data to gain a much-needed business advantage.

Before we delve into leveraging data insights from OTAs (Online Travel Agencies), let us first briefly understand how Big Data can help us increase sales and revenue.

Advantages of hotel data analytics

In-depth knowledge about customers, competitors, and market trends comes with manifold benefits.

  • Fine-tuning operations: Analytics allow you to focus on your strong points while working on removing deficiencies. What works and does not in your hotel can help you generate more revenue, cut costs, and better plan marketing based on booking trends.
  • Guest satisfaction: Personalized services as per guest requirements are vital in the hospitality industry. Data analytics allow you to predict and focus on individual customer preferences to enhance their experience.
  • Budget allocation: Data analytics provides details you can apply to budget marketing, staff, and on-site enhancements based on booking behaviour, feedback, and overall growth requirements.

Relationship between OTAs and hotels

That OTAs hold a significant pull in the worldwide travel network is a given. Thus, hotels must maintain a synergy that includes working with OTAs while building their own brand.

OTAs undoubtedly offer benefits such as increased reach to target customers, a straightforward booking process, and all-around visibility for the hotel.

At the same time, they do dilute the brand amidst a sea of competitors, charge exuberant commissions, and often form a barrier between the relationship a hotel should have with its guests.

Thus, the long-term goal for any hotel should include less dependency on OTAs. At the same time, it’s also worth leveraging data insights from OTAs to better your brand and increase revenue.

Leveraging OTAs for data

The more important question is how a hotel can leverage OTAs.

The answer lies in the analytics that they provide, which help you understand;

  • booking trends
  • customer behavior
  • price sensitivity
  • competitor analysis

Using hotel analytics to inform revenue management and marketing

Since we have realized that being on an OTA is an industry requirement, how can we use the available analytics from these OTAs to our advantage?

Revenue Management

OTAs present yearly occupancy trends that can be analyzed to understand booking behavior.

Viewing this historical data allows you to adjust prices, organize staff schedules, and simultaneously work with your hotel marketing agency to strategize a plan to maximize annual revenue generation.

For example, a study of past occupancy rates informs you that a two-week period in early September sees negligible bookings for whatever reason.

As a result of this information, there are a few differing actions you can take;

  • Work with your hotel marketing team to develop a digital campaign highlighting the benefits of staying at your hotel during those two weeks. The strategy can include social media, website promotions, and email marketing.
  • Work with your sales team to offer special discounts over this period, particularly to customers booking directly through your hotel website.
  • Organize your temporary staff schedule, reducing their number to cut costs since fewer guests require a lower number of on-site staff.

Guest feedback and reviews

Typically, hotels use email marketing and make on-site requests to encourage guests to provide feedback and reviews.

Luckily, OTAs have review systems, including following up with customers for feedback. As a result, you do not always have to go out of your way to get this vital information.

However, with the information, you can then implement changes in operations and service to better your hotel.

You may also respond to guests on the OTA websites to form a relationship that will hopefully nudge them to book directly with you the next time they plan a trip.

Competitor analysis

Analytics about your competitors from OTAs is a gold mine of information that can benefit revenue management and marketing.

You can change prices to offer better rates and deals by understanding competitor pricing.

At the same time, by deciphering what guests like about your competitor by reading reviews on their page, you know what customers want and can then implement the same into your hotel.

Rate optimization

To best help your hotel’s revenue management, it is necessary to focus on rate optimization through analysis.

Leveraging data insights from OTAs means making the most of performance analytics like;

  • conversion rate
  • booking pattern
  • click through rate

All of the above allow a deep dive into customer booking behavior to learn how and when they make a reservation. Or, as often, at what point do they hold back from completing a booking?

You are also privy to market demands and trends, based on which you can set room prices, offer seasonal deals, or make changes in your services and facilities.

An example of the latter would be WiFi and how a complimentary internet connection has, over time, become a standard for all room bookings.

Strategizing a marketing plan

Guest data from OTAs is an imperative part of a successful marketing strategy.

Analytics from OTAs about customers offer an array of information;

  • Demographics – from where in the world are tourists looking and booking your hotel?
  • Traveler categories – is your hotel more popular with couples, families, solo travelers, or business persons?
  • Booking medium – are guests accessing the OTA via mobile, tablet, or PC?
  • Guest preferences – are customers requesting special services or facilities?

The above information can help your hotel marketing agency develop a streamlined promotion campaign to increase your customer base or capture a new audience.

For instance, let’s assume OTA analytics informs that your hotel is popular with families, but its location on an idyllic Greek island makes it ideal for honeymooners.

Consequently, your hotel marketing agency can devise a campaign focusing on the hotel’s and the island’s romantic aspects.

So, they may use influencer marketing to invite a travel couple to the property or offer special promotions for honeymooners.

Simultaneously, the professional photos on the website can include couples enjoying various facilities to expand your audience.

Moreover, if you see more people accessing your hotel listing via mobile, you need to ensure that your hotel website is mobile-friendly.

Understanding customer value

No doubt, hotels are better positioned to collect and use Big Data than OTAs.

Since customers are physically present at the property, hotels have the optimal opportunity to calculate every guest’s lifetime value.

That’s analyzing how much business a guest will likely bring in the future based on their past booking conduct.

As a result, hotels can and should go a little out of their way for guests that offer long-term revenue generation.

However, to obtain a holistic understanding of customer behavior and market trends, one should continue to leverage data insights from OTAs and pass on the analytics to revenue management and marketing for continued growth.

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