person with arms open in joy reflecting a great experience and where hotels can try to maximize their returns with data driven marketing

Many hotels collect guest data with the guest’s permission but how many truly use it effectively?
The properties that have meaningfully increased their direct booking rates, overall loyalty and guest satisfaction have done so by fully committing to a data-driven approach that forges memorable moments across every interaction point along each guest’s journey.

NB: This is an article from Agilysys

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At the heart of this approach is achieving a level of personalization triggered by preferences and other rich insights captured before a guest’s arrival, while on-site and after the guest returns home. This data is used to proactively identify hospitality moments above and beyond typical service protocols to elevate the guest experience. This is the difference between being well run and well loved.

Guest profiles built by data offer hotel marketers a single pane of glass to view the guest’s stay history, preferences, and life events or celebrations. From these profiles and advanced analytics, properties can create targeted marketing campaigns and personalized experiences where guests ultimately spend more, do more and stay longer. This is the blueprint for maximizing Return on Experience (ROE).

Profile-driven marketing campaigns informed by rich data collected across the guest journey allow properties to creatively customize activities, amenities, and services at the guest’s fingertips and make it easy for them to play an active role in personalizing their visit. Providing staff members with access to that data via guest profiles built by information in the property management system and continuously shaped by point-of-sale transactional data, allows them to identify hospitality moments and create real-time triggers to act on them, delivering exceptional experiences to their guests and ensuring zero disappointment.

Enhancing the Booking Process

Businesses have only 7 seconds to make a first impression as consumers decide whether to continue interacting or to move on and search elsewhere. As a first touch, a hotel’s marketing team must design a website that attracts and maintains a guest’s attention. Tech-savvy guests expect an attractive, easy-to-navigate website that offers a clear view of what the property has to offer and makes it easy for the guest to navigate the site and book direct the first time – whether on a desktop or a mobile device. Responsive design helps optimize the mobile experience as 48% of smartphone users in the U.S. use their phones exclusively during the research phase of their travel.

Investing in technology that creates a 360-degree view of the guest and building a user-friendly, mobile-first website that maximizes direct bookings is crucial, however, marketing efforts must extend well beyond the website. As guests research hotels through various channels in addition to the property’s website, teams should constantly monitor and manage the hotel’s reputation on social media channels and travel review sites to make sure its brand image is always cast in the highest light.

With billions of users globally on social media and travel review sites every day and the global revenue of travel apps estimated at close to $390.5 million (USD) in 2023, hotels must invest in an omnichannel marketing campaign to maximize exposure, amplifying their brand voice and forging a lasting, positive impression at each interaction. This is how you elevate your property to being well loved by guests.

Once a guest has begun the booking process, a property needs to engage the guest with targeted marketing based on guest preferences. Personalization is critical. Nine out of 10 travelers today expect a personalized experience when they book a hotel. This is an opportunity for a hotel to increase Revenue Per Available Guest (RevPAG) and increase guest ROE by sending offers that enhance a guest’s existing booking. If a guest has booked a tee time, a property can offer them a private lesson with the golf pro or a premium tee time. If a guest has booked a spa visit, send the guest a promotional offer related to the products used during that visit. Tailored offers and messages encourage guests to book activities and enhancements before arrival and help strengthen a property’s bottom line. To that end, 47% of guests who book their activities before arrival spend more on their accommodations.

With the help of a modern, robust property management system that connects all the hotel’s systems and creates a dynamic data-driven guest profile, every touchpoint from booking to arrival and after their stay is an opportunity to learn more about the guest. Hotels can identify guest segments and create early marketing campaigns that target specific groups. Properties can stay informed about guest preferences, travel plans, and arrival information, to personalize their stay from the moment they arrive on property.

Increasing ROE on Property

With a robust tech stack and complete guest information, properties can continue to communicate with guests while they are on-site via their preferred communication channel (messaging or SMS). Properties can offer a discount on spa services or special event tickets based on their history and interests. Guests want options and they are more likely to select services or special offers catered to them. Hotels that stay connected with guests via push notifications after arrival will effectively encourage them to stay on-site and spend their money on property. It is critical to capture opportunities in the moment. To that end, 48% of experience bookings take place after the guest arrives at their destination. Hotels that aren’t actively marketing to their guests while on property are missing revenue opportunities.

This same data can be used to elevate a hotel’s staff from providing guest service to guest hospitality. For instance, if it is a guest’s 25th anniversary and their flight is delayed, with the right technology in place, hotel staff will know it and anticipate their arrival with a glass of champagne while at the same time proactively rescheduling their dinner reservation to a later time.

Instead of following traditional service protocols of limited hold times on restaurant reservations or canceling rooms for late arrivals, hotels can use data to identify hospitality moments and turn a bad day around by creating a special arrival experience. This is a priceless marketing opportunity to build loyalty and provide guests with a lasting, truly exceptional experience. This is how you become well loved, creating a halo effect reinforced by guests loving your brand on social media and in online reviews.

Maintaining High Return Hospitality Post-stay

A hotel’s focus on delivering high return hospitality doesn’t end when guests leave. Hotels must keep guests engaged even after they return home by providing relevant property news, encouraging reviews, and sharing special offers, new amenities to enjoy for future stays or upcoming events. Each communication is a chance to reinforce loyalty, create a positive interaction and allow guests to share their positive experiences.

Profitable Marketing Campaigns Begin with Modern Technology Built for Hospitality

There are many parts to a profitable and effective marketing campaign. The most important pieces of a hotel’s toolkit are an attractive easy-to-use website with a robust booking engine that provides guests easy access to all the property has to offer, a modern PMS and POS solution set that automatically updates guest profiles in real-time, advanced analytics solutions that help identify different guest segments and creates real-time triggers embedded in special offers, and clear communication channels that match guest preferences and drive active engagement throughout their journey which fosters positive reviews on social media and travel sites. Just as critical is a strong commitment from the property to empower its staff members to maximize the return on guest experience and provide zero disappointment.

The global travel and tourism market is predicted to reach $854.80 billion (USD) in 2023, with hotels projected as the largest market at $408.80 billion (USD). With as much as 74% of total revenue estimated to be generated through online sales by 2027, hotels can drastically increase revenue with targeted and personalized marketing efforts driven by advanced analytics, including guest preferences and real-time transactional data.

Every step of the guest journey from research, to booking, to arrival, to a guest’s return home is an opportunity to learn more about the guest, delight them, actively engage and nurture the relationship, ultimately fulfilling the vision of true high return hospitality. Guests are willing to share information about themselves in return for exceptional, personalized experiences. Empowering staff members by providing them with tools like the unified guest profile and allowing them to dynamically offer unique hospitality moments at key points of impact to guests in the moment will help a property forever stand out, eliciting five-star ratings and return visits.

Personalized digital marketing campaigns not only help attract guests in the first place but they also help forge a lasting relationship which, in turn, reinforces loyalty and creates champions for your property. Guest data shouldn’t be collected only to be left unused. It must be acted upon in a way that delivers a richer, tailored experience for the guest. By investing in technology solutions that help truly connect with guests and offer them the exceptional, personalized experience they hope for, hotels can stand out from their competitors and add to their bottom line.

Read more articles from Agilysys

Reprinted from the Hotel Business Review with permission from