Our industry might be a people business first and foremost, but coming in a very close second is data. Take a look around your hotel and you’ll find that data is everywhere. Guests details, your occupancy levels, the revenue being driven by food and beverage, your online reviews and their ratings. The list goes on.
But whether it’s used for understanding guests’ habits or improving service times to shave precious hours from a task, data is the key to making informed and confident decisions.
So how do you take quantitative and qualitative data and use it to understand your guests and your business? And perhaps more, crucially which key metrics should you be focused on using the technology that already exists at your property?
1. Your channel manager data
A good channel manager will run seamless connectivity using pooled inventory delivered to some of the world’s biggest online travel agents and third party booking sites. Here at SiteMinder we have more than 300 available to our hotel customers all over the world.
We know it’s unlikely you’ll connect to all 300 at your hotel, but let’s say you connect to 10% of those available. That’s still 30 channels to analyse and report on – a big job for any busy hotelier.
By choosing a channel manager with comprehensive built-in reports, you’ll gain faster and more effective insights into how your inventory is performing across all 30 distribution channels so you can chop and change as it’s needed. It’s critical to compare and understand how successful each channel is in terms of revenue – especially when you want to try connecting with a new channel for your market.
Here is an example from SiteMinder’s The Channel Manager showcasing channel effectiveness over time:
You should use your channel manager to look at:
- Measure your channel yield
- Earnings from reservations
- Booking volume and average lead time
How to action these metrics
Armed with these insights, a data-driven hotelier can adjust their strategy accordingly and make confident decisions on things like, when to reduce availability, when to close out rooms, or when to increase rates on the channels that generate the least revenue in favour of those that are more profitable.
2. Your booking engine data
Taking commission-free bookings is an important part of your distribution mix. Not only are you building a relationship with your guests direct, but you can build loyalty and secure great post-stay reviews. Your direct online channel should always be considered your most profitable – and if it isn’t you should review the effectiveness of your current online booking engine.
Social media also comes into play as a good online booking engine will allow you to sell rooms via the likes of Facebook. This is another great area for insights and you should be able to demonstrate how many bookings are coming from this social channel.
Here is an example from SiteMinder’s TheBookingButton demonstrating how you can filter by promotion code, room rate, room type, and many more…
You should use your booking engine to look at:
- Your direct online guest conversion rate
- Promotion codes which generated the most revenue
- The number of guests booking via mobile device compared with desktop
How to action these metrics
Armed with these insights, a data-driven hotelier will have full visibility into whether or not their conversion rates are an issue, which promotions should run again, and how resources should be allocated to improve the mobile booking experience.
3. Your hotel website’s data
Your online booking engine should fully integrate with your hotel’s website and the two should operate seamlessly together. Your website doubles up as your most profitable online booking channel as the two systems go hand-in-hand.
A beautiful, fully-optimised website that looks great on desktop and mobile devices is the key to keeping prospective guests on your website for longer, securing a consistent stream of online bookers.
Managing your website is a hard job and it can made even tougher if it’s looking out of date and in need of some updates. If you don’t currently report on your website’s performance then chances are you need an overhaul of your website and its design.
However, whether you’ve outsourced your site to an external web designer or its built using an easy creator and editor such as SiteMinder’s Canvas, you should be hooked into your Google Analytics account to monitor everything website-related.
You should use your website’s data (via Google Analytics) to look at:
- Traffic per channel
- Conversion rate per device
- Conversion rate per country
How to action these metrics
Armed with this data, you will have a fuller picture of who your guests are, and how they reach your website. You’ll then be able to implement tactics such as creating content about local tourist attractions to keep them on your website for longer and in turn convert them from lookers to bookers.
Think about how you can use your everyday technology systems in your hotel to help take your data insights to the next level. Turning your data into compelling tales to understand your guests will always pay off. Don’t forget that knowledge is power.
In this highly competitive market where hoteliers compete for the online guest, gathering, analysing and reacting to data can have a very positive impact on your hotel’s bottom line – but only with the right technology in place to drive you (and your data) forward.