So much has changed in the hospitality industry since 2019.
NB: This is an article from OTA Insight
As well as the challenges brought on by the pandemic where we’ve seen closures, redundancies, staff shortages and supply delays, and now ongoing pent-up demand following two years of very limited travel – there’s also the worry of inflation and a looming recession.
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Consumer behaviour has also changed. Traditional compsets have shifted, while conventional forecasting methods based on historical analysis are simply no longer effective. Demand has become harder to predict with any level of certainty, and, with more hoteliers trying to capture a smaller pool of predominantly leisure travellers, competition is fiercer than ever.
Factor in different segments, room types, distribution channel management, cancellation policies, as well as discounting and promotional strategies ,and it is clear that the operating landscape has become even more complicated.
As a revenue manager, wearing ‘multiple hats’ and keeping track of what’s happening day-to-day is hard enough – let alone looking ahead further than the short-term future.
Understanding the new, developing behavioural trends of your customer, as well as the competitive landscape, is vital to planning through these uncertain times. Now, with the help of market intelligence tools such as Market Insight, hoteliers can make strategic forecasting decisions at the click of a button.
But what exactly is forward-looking data in the context of the hotel industry?
Hotel demand forecasting using forward-looking data
Forward-looking search data is top-of-funnel information collected when consumers are still in the inspiration or ‘dreaming’ phase of the customer journey. This data exposes future market behaviour and new booking patterns and trends, which hoteliers can use to forecast hotel demand.
A predictive demand intelligence solution can aggregate billions of these future-facing data points, including flight and hotel search volumes, to reveal booking intent and therefore give important insight into travel demand for future dates.
Quality data is central to understanding what’s happening in the market. The more comprehensive the data, the more solid any strategic commercial decisions will be. And, when all the heavy lifting is done at the click of a button, as is the case with Market Insight, hoteliers have more time to dig into the insights and make calculated, proactive revenue decisions, with speed and confidence.
In the past, hoteliers looked to historical demand patterns, OTB data and event calendars for ideas of what the future may hold. While historical data still has its place, post-pandemic booking behaviour and patterns have shown that it does not have the same level of importance that it previously held when it comes to forecasting.
Forecasting now requires a much broader view of the market for hotel commercial teams. For example, pre-booking data helps one to understand the full guest journey, enabling more effective targeting of travellers in the very early stages of their trip planning. This can hotel commercial teams better anticipate early demand shifts and position themselves to effectively convert lookers into bookers before their competitors.