Data is one of the most valuable assets for a hotelier looking to maximize business. It provides booking trends and guest preferences and can be applied across departments for more effective planning, from revenue management to marketing and distribution strategies, operations to staffing and more. Here are five ways that data can open doors for hoteliers.
NB: This is an article from Amadeus
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1. Improve Revenue Management
By understanding data and anticipating future demand, you can adjust your revenue strategy according to trends—before they happen.
Business intelligence solutions provide not only historical data, but on-the-books, forward-looking booking data as well. Consider layering in additional data sets like short-term rentals and air travel for a long-range view of what’s coming into your market.
For instance, Amadeus data shows most travelers search for and book their air travel well in advance of their accommodations. If you see an increase of flights being booked in your market during a future window, then this becomes a good leading indicator of hotel demand. By correlating high-quality data sets to build a full picture of travel, you can more effectively inform your revenue management strategies and begin adjusting your marketing offer help drive profitable demand.
2. Inform Marketing Campaigns
Marketing is not just about reaching people; it’s about reaching and influencing your target audience. A data-driven digital media campaign deliver profitable returns. A strong place to start is by asking yourself, ‘Who is booking? How can I reach them? What will they want?’
A great example of data in action is from the Houston First Corporation, the destination management organization (DMO) for the city of Houston, TX. Confronted by business travel at an all-time low in the wake of COVID-19, the DMO used data to pivot their strategy and set their sights on a new audience: leisure. By realigning their marketing efforts to backfill the loss from the business segment, the city saw a 9 percent rise in leisure travel in 2022 compared to 2019.
Informed marketing campaigns allow you to streamline your business and sales efforts, without compromising on the end result.
3. Master Omnichannel Distribution
In a competitive accommodations landscape, it’s critical to maximize your most profitable booking channels.
But increasing market share and maintaining a competitive edge requires a clear distribution strategy. Ask yourself, ‘Where are my bookings coming from? Who is my core audience? Which travel agents book my property?” A recent survey showed that 50 percent of travel agents are using global distribution systems more than they did three years ago—making this an important channel to increase bookings.
Whether it’s corporate, group or leisure bookings you’re after, make sure your hotel is visible on the platforms most relevant to your target audience—direct, GDS, metasearch and online travel agencies, among others. This will expand your digital footprint, opening your property to new business and ensuring you are reaching the right traveler, on the right channel, at the right time.
4. Optimize Operational Decisions
To ensure minimal disruption and smooth service year-round, make operational decisions that are anchored in the medium-long term. As a rule of thumb, identify significantly busy or quiet periods and work backwards.
If the data shows you have a period of high demand coming, this should inform any staffing and operational decisions. In anticipation of a surge, you can bring in additional staff from sister properties or cross-train team members in advance. This will relieve pressure on your hotel during peak windows and ensure that you have a capable workforce that’s ready to meet demand. Likewise, if you see that demand is softening, you may consider taking some rooms out of service to slim down your operations and reduce costs while still keeping the property running efficiently. This could be a good time to tackle much-needed maintenance or renovations.
5. Maximize Group Business
Not all bookings are created equal, which is why maximizing group business can give you a significant edge. Group travel is often booked far in advance, ensures seasonal balance, promises cross selling and upselling opportunities, keeps occupancy consistent and, of course, provides significant revenue.
Data can help you understand how your group performance aligns with overall group performance in your market by exposing booking patterns. Ask yourself, ‘What are the size and demographics of groups booking in my area? Are they large city-wide events with sophisticated needs? Are they small single-day gatherings? Are they corporate or leisure groups?’
These questions will help you identify windows of group travel as well as who’s booking with you. Use this information to your advantage to potentially balance multiple types of groups, so hosting smaller single-day meetings can bridge the gap between larger, city-wide events.
The benefits of data are clear. With both historical and forward-looking booking information in hand for visibility, all guesswork is removed, making hotel management easier and less stressful for all. Those using the industry’s most comprehensive business intelligence solutions will be the best positioned to grow their business now and in the future.