Whether you run a boutique luxury hotel or a big box with thousands of rooms, the key to winning in revenue management game is always the same: you should increase the percentage share of direct bookings. It is the least costly method of getting your rooms sold and thus the most profitable.
From optimizing your website to creative digital marketing campaigns, there can be many ways of increasing direct bookings. But many hotels often forget about one of their strongest tools: data! The data that comes from your booking engine and CRS, where you sell and manage inventory, is such a rich source of data that it can become overwhelming at times.
There are simple ways to break down lines of data and derive easily actionable and measurable decisions. Data from your booking engine tells a story: you can see the most important trends for your hotel, analyze what has worked for you in the past, and strategize around making it even better. Similarly, you can observe what hasn’t worked and quickly change it.
The data from booking engines such as RezTrip can give you a competitive advantage when it comes to pricing and revenue management. Thanks to essential data points such as seasonality-based demand and search patterns, booking windows, guest insights and more, you can act quickly and proactively instead of waiting until it is too late to take any meaningful actions to maximize revenue. Let’s look at which data points can help us and how:
Data that tells you exactly where your guests are coming from opens up opportunities for geo-targeting and allows you to customize your rate plans and special offers. You can even send special marketing communications based on geographic location.
By looking at the source location of guests who booked certain rate plans, for example, you might learn that guests from London prefer the all-inclusiveness of the Bed & Breakfast package, while guests from Rio de Janeiro loved the partner discounts you included in your Shopping package.
With such data, you can fish where the fish are and capture even more guests by further customizing your offers based on location and communicating only the most attractive offers to your customers with geo-targeting.
Knowing what days of the week your customers search for your hotel allows you to make better revenue management decisions. For instance, if large numbers of transient travelers spend time on your website and make reservations on Tuesdays, you may decide to sweeten the deal for them by promoting value-added, last-minute packages on your booking engine for that day.
Similarly, you might think of applying dynamic pricing based on room types and have your most popular rooms priced higher than the rest on high booking days.
This type of data refers to the type of device is used to access your hotel website and booking engine. Your booking engine will be able to tell you what percentage of your customers use which devices to find your hotel, learn about your hotel, and book your hotel.
Take a second to acknowledge how important this is! If a large percentage of potential first-time guests are using their mobile phones to find out more about your hotel, you can create a special mobile-only booking offer to entice the guest and increase your chances of capturing the booking right on the device.
Another important metric you can easily track with your booking engine is lead time, which is the number of days prior to the start of the booking that the booking is made. Guests from different parts of the world have different reasons to stay at your hotel, which means they are motivated to search for, learn about, and book your hotel at varying lead times.
For instance, for guests in Northern Europe, January could be the highest booking time for summer months. Lower temperatures might be motivating to finalize their summer vacation plans. For business travelers, you may see a much shorter window of 10 days or less.
By tracking lead time, your hotel will know when to start planning and marketing packages and rate plans to target specific groups of people. For big events, for example, you’ll want to work backwards from the start date. Art Basel coming up? Look at past years’ booking data: you might see a peak lead time of around 3 months prior to the start date—that’s when you’ll want to start running any special promotions.
Use data to your advantage
With data from your booking engine, you can know exactly who is coming from where and when they are booking for which periods. Being armed with actual answers to who/what/where/when questions allows for more precise forecasting and increased ROI from your marketing efforts.
In summary, your booking engine is not only your most profitable source of bookings, it is also your most trusted source of data. With it, you can:
- Attract new eyes to your website and convert them into actual reservations
- Customize what you display to guests based on where they are located
- Tweak mobile and desktop displays to increase direct bookings
- Update your marketing messages based on high/low demand periods
- Maximize revenue by simply capturing guest attention at the right time
Don’t let that data go to waste!