NB: This is an article from SiteMinder, a leading cloud platform for hotels including The Channel Manager and TheBookingButton
Do you know the percentage breakdown of guests in your hotel, between domestic travellers and international travellers?
Do you understand the demographics; their age, or where they’re travelling from?
For independent hoteliers, collecting data about guests can be a challenging process, but, increasingly, it’s essential.
One example can be found in SiteMinder’s free eBook – How to diversify your hotel’s distribution strategy – which shows that 47% of Australians book their holiday through a traditional travel agent; it remains a core channel to business, and if your hotel serves a large percentage of domestic Australian travellers, then you really need to be spending a significant part of your marketing time and budget on distribution channels that are orientated towards human relationships and local connections.
The better the relationship that you have with travel agencies and visitor centres that specialise in your local area, the more business they’re going to send your way.
Alternatively, if your business is more geared towards international travellers, then it’s going to be impossible to form relationships with travel agents in every country in the world that might help attract and convert guests. Instead, you would want to work with intermediaries, including wholesalers and online travel agents (OTAs).
How do I collect my hotel’s data?
Understanding your customer base is crucial:
Why do your guests visit you?
Where do they come from?
What channels do they use to book a room?
This will allow you to enhance and specialise your hotel’s operations and improve its profitability.
Thankfully, there are tools available that independent hotels can leverage to get a better understanding of the data flowing through your business.
Start with Google Analytics, which is a readily-available free tool. It might take some dedication to learn, but once you’re up to speed it will provide you with many insights on how your guests are interacting with your brand in the digital space.
From there you’ll be able to determine which online platforms are proving to be the most effective for your business, such as direct traffic to your website, or social media reviews and referrals.
Combine this with the data gleaned from your hotel’s channel manager and it will help you concentrate your efforts on those successful online distribution channels too. For example, SiteMinder’s Channel Manager has a single dashboard which helps you quickly establish which booking channels are delivering the most revenue for your hotel.
By making more powerful and insightful decisions, you can turn the data from your channel manager into a more effective distribution strategy by analysing and evaluating the success of your channels. Make sure you work with an online distribution solution that can measure:
earnings from reservations
average lead times
You should ensure you can view them quickly in a summary or as more detailed trends over time.
Use your hotel data to expand your online reach
The data you find and the actions you need to take won’t be the same from one business to the next.
If you’re running a luxury hotel, then you may well find an increasing number of customers coming from the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) and MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey) markets, as these have been identified as key opportunities for luxury travel growth.
But even within that, the data might point you in a more specific direction.
For example, if many of your guests are Chinese travellers, then it’s worth noting that 48% of travel bookings in China are made via mobile devices. You’ll need to focus more heavily on your hotel’s mobile website experience in order to appeal to that market and successfully convert mobile-savvy guests.
Ultimately, there are all kinds of statistics out there about global travel patterns. But the most important statistics that you need for your hotel is the data that your property itself is generating.
If it isn’t already, make gathering the most in-depth data on your property and guests your absolute priority.