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We find that hotels are often faced with challenges, having to make key business decisions based on a small subset of hotel guest data. For this reason, we wanted to share some of the lessons we've learned building Mews PMS over the last 3 years that may come in helpful when you start looking for an upgrade of your hotel reservation system.
Data should be at the forefront of any business decision, especially when it comes to using it to improve sales, but it’s not always easy to collect, especially in an age where this information is becoming more and more protected. This is why In this article we will look at guest data, why it’s important for hotels, types of hotel guest data, and best strategies to collect data to improve sales.
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What is hotel guest data?
Hotel guest data is information used to track and generate leads for your property. This can mean general information that can help you create guest profiles like traveling habits, preferences, and type of traveler, or it can be personal information that allows you to get in contact with guests, such as an email address, a phone number, or social media handles.
Why is guest data important for hotels?
You may wonder why hotel guest data is so important? It’s at the heart of any sales or marketing campaign, and in order for your campaigns to create impact you must be able to reach as wide an audience as possible. It also allows you to personalize your marketing campaigns based on guest preferences or type of traveler. The more targeted your campaigns are, the more successful they will be, and data is crucial for this targeting.
Types of hotel guest data and best strategies to collect it
There are many types of hotel guest data that can help guide your hotel towards maximum profitability. But how do you collect it?
Contact information comes in the form of names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. This information can be collected at the time of making a reservation or during check-in. Online check-in is a particularly good way to ensure you have accurate contact information because guests are in charge of inputting their details directly. You can also collect this information by creating valuable content for which people are willing to leave their contact information in exchange for access.
Whether it be a travel guide or a guide to the best restaurants in town, all of this content can serve as a hook to entice people to offer their details to you. Another way to capture contact information is via social media campaigns, contests or giveaways. Find out more about social media marketing strategies.
Historical data is particularly useful in the case of loyalty members or past guests. This could include how often guests stay with you, their average daily spend, trip type, the type of room they prefer, and length of stay. This will help you to better target your promotions. You can collect this information using your PMS insights as well as through forecasting.
Guest preferences are very important for personalizing the guest experience, but it’s not always easy to capture this information until guests stay with you. You can do polls on social media, ask for their preferences in pre-arrival communication, or collect it during check-in. Capturing guest preferences will help you to better cater to guests during their stay, as well as upsell activities and services that will be of interest to them.
Understanding guest demographics is crucial to ensure that guests receive the right communication and, in the case when they are not guests yet, it will help you understand how to better nurture the lead. Important demographics could be nationality, age, sex, family size, marital status and more. The key behind understanding demographics is to better target your messaging and offers. You can capture this information any time a guest has to fill out a form, for giveaways, or when a potential guest fills out a reservation request.
How can hotels use guest data to improve sales?
Hotel guest data is crucial to improve sales. Let’s take a look at some of the ways it can improve your commercial strategy.
Understanding guest nationality breakdown on your website vs OTAs
Often you see a difference between direct bookings and on OTAs due to the lack of languages on hotel websites. For example, many French guests still prefer to book in their own language.
If you see a high percentage of French guests booking via an OTA, you know they are interested in your hotel, they are simply not able to book via your website if you only offer English as a language. Understanding this information can help you leverage different languages on your website to improve the number of direct bookings.
Special promotions and upselling based on booking trends
Do you see trends in the timings when guests are making bookings? For example, do you see that on Monday evenings you have a significantly high number of bookings? If so, why not use this information to create a special promotion or messaging on your website to further improve conversion?
In terms of upselling, you can analyze which customers actually purchased an upsell in the past. If you see that for example “men” from countries X, Y, Z are highly likely to purchase an upsell, ensure you update their profile with a message to reception to attempt an upsell.
Analyze your stay patterns per channel
Focus on those channels that bring you business during shoulder and low occupancy nights. So if you see a trend where an OTA brings business with a longer LOS, spend your money wisely.
Review whether you see a significant trend between the age of your guests and how much they spend at the hotel, both in ADR but also in ancillary revenue. Focus on those channels that bring you the customer with the most optimal spend pattern. Be creative in your Google Ads and ensure your website is enticing to the most profitable customer group. So if you have a gap in occupancy in a specific period, spend your PPC budget by targeting those customers who are most likely to book in your distressed periods.
Create different landing pages of your website for different customer groups
Analyze your guests and segment them into three or four major groups of travelers, such as leisure male travelers, age 30-50. Next create special landing pages with tools such as this one, where these customers enter your website via Google Ads targeted to this group specifically. This should drive significantly stronger conversion.
Throughout this article, we’ve emphasized the fact that data is crucial for the success of your marketing campaigns and thus for sales. In order to have a bulletproof sales and e-commerce strategy in place, ensure you clean up your data and spend time analyzing it to set smart goals and targets. Once you have validated the information, you should be safe to start analysis and making more informed decisions.
Matthijs Welle – CEO
After years in the trenches of hospitality, Matt co-founded Mews in 2012. Since then he's been our fearless CEO, leading the company and the industry forward.
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