Smart Data vs. Big Data
By now, many hoteliers are tired of hearing about “Big Data” and why they should be utilizing it for customer engagement and marketing.
Many hoteliers assume that utilizing Big Data equals past guest data i.e. CRM Data. At the property level, CRM Data means past guest profile information, past booking history, service preferences, purchasing habits while on property, affiliation with the hotel guest loyalty program, booking channel preferences, preferences for auxiliary services, opt-in email recipients, etc.
In our view, CRM Data is only part of the equation, and only the smaller part of the hotel’s customer engagement and acquisition strategy. On average, on any given night, only 15% – 25% of guests at a typical independent hotel are repeat guests, the rest are first-time guests. For branded hotels the percentage of repeat guests at any property is higher, but still below 30% – 40%, not counting loyalty members who have stayed at other properties of the brand.
The more important part of the overall strategy – the one that will result in a much higher percentage of direct bookings – is Intent Data i.e. targeting and engaging travel consumers who are “in market” and planning to visit your property’s destination in the near future. Intent Data is crucial to engage and acquire first-time guests, which generate the bulk of roomnights at the property.
Smart Data Marketing: Closing the 360-Degree Customer Engagement, Retention & Acquisition Cycle
CRM Data and Intent Data should both be integral pieces of any hotelier’s marketing strategy. Engaging and retaining past guests, frequent guests, and loyalty members is imperative, but if your strategy isn’t utilizing real-time “in-market” targeting that reaches potential guests – travelers who have expressed intent to travel now or in the near future to your destination, you are missing serious revenues and the opportunity to expand and “replenish” your existing customer base on an ongoing basis.
At HeBS Digital we call the balanced utilization of both CRM Data and Intent Data “Smart Data Marketing,” which is at the core of our full-service digital marketing services we provide to our clients, allowing them to “make the most” of past, present and future customer data.