Data at your hotel is everywhere and can be a driver of your entire business strategy. It’s especially important to prioritise data as a tool in the current era of hotel commerce where traveller demands are higher than ever.
Depending where you are located, if you’re welcoming both domestic and international travellers or cater to both business and leisure guests, your guest data can provide you with the insight you need to drive your property’s success.
This can help you identify a huge number of trends in the market that you can use to inform the decisions you make at your property. This will help you attract more guests in turn and make more revenue from each one, as you understand them better.
So let’s look at what data you need, how to use it, and where to get it.
Key guest data to focus on and why it’s important
The first thing to remember is that guests can tell you a lot before you ever meet them at your property. Their booking behaviours will give you insight into them, the effectiveness of your strategies, the performance of your distribution channels and more.
- Look at guest booking windows and booking devices – This will let you know what type of guests are booking and help you segment so you can target effectively
- Look guest booking channels and promotion codes – You’ll be able to see which channels and offers are profitable
- Look at the number of guests per booking and length of stay – This will allow you to tailor more personalised offers pre-stay and during the stay to maximise revenue from each booking
- Look at guest check-in times – Again, use this to personalise their stay. Check-in times and requests can often determine how a traveller is getting to your hotel and how far they’ve travelled. Some may be weary and need to get quickly to their room, while others may be ready for a free drink on arrival.
- Look at demographics – Data such as age, location and number of children can help your marketing and front desk make more relevant recommendations
- Look at reasons for travel – Knowing if your guests are there for business, pleasure or an events of some kind can help you customise the guest experience
- Look at seasonal trends – This can tell you if you’re attracting certain guests during certain parts of the year and can inform when you advertise, your seasonal promotions, and how to maximise bookings during peak seasons
Of course, perhaps the most crucial piece of guest data you can have is personal details such as an email address. The email address will allow you to have direct access to your guests, delivering more personalised email communication from booking to check-out that will increase your engagement and conversions. To help inform this, you can use other pieces of data – such as staff reporting on their interactions with guests and reviews that you see on TripAdvisor, booking channels, or Google. Afterall, data isn’t just numbers and qualitative data can be just as useful as quantitative data.
Take the gold nugget that is guest requests for example. Special requests allow you to gather valuable insight into each individual guest and make sure their specific needs are taken care of. When they stay again in the future, you’ll be perfectly prepared and they’ll be singing your praises.
- Guests asking for particular in-room extras – You’ll discover they like wine more than champagne, or chocolate more than fruit
- Guests asking for advice or tickets on activities – You’ll know if they like being active or would rather the theatre
- Guests asking for pet-friendly options – You can factor this into your marketing or property development plans
- Guests making special dietary requests – You can curate a special menu for them and others who share the same allergies or preferences
- Guests making unique requests such as extra pillows – You can build a profile for all guests and make notes about their preferences
- Guests booking for specific reasons such as sporting or music events – You can build a list of those who attend for regular events and drive repeat bookings
Combine this with the purchasing behaviour of guests, such as what amenities they book or what they order from your menu. Imagine the delight of a guest who check-outs and gets a follow-up email with the recipe of your muffins or a sample of the products they used at the spa.
How can you easily access and control guest data?
The key to collecting guest data and having it prepared in a digestible way lies in your tech stack and the features you are using at your property. Core solutions where you can retrieve guest data include:
- Channel manager – You’ll be able to see lead times, channel performance, length of stay, guests per booking, and more
- Booking engine – You’ll be able to see purchased extras, promotion code performance, requests, and email addresses
- Website – You’ll be able to see traffic sources, device information, geographic data, and conversion rates
- PMS integration – You’ll be able to view and manage reservations, build guest profiles, add notes, collect staff feedback, and get POS insights
However, there is always the risk of being overwhelmed by the amount of data you need to look at, or being confused because the data is in so many places.
Data is not much use to you while it’s fragmented, which means you really need to ensure your technology is seamlessly integrated. The best way to do this is to manage everything from one interface, where you can not only control everything but click into various insights instantly.
This means you can also combine data from different sources to form even more powerful analysis. For example, if your channel manager, booking engine, and PMS are all communicating on a two-way, real-time, basis you’ll have fast and accurate access to all guest reservation data all in one place.
It’s this capability that has become necessary to mastering hotel commerce in the modern day. Your guests are demanding higher standards and greater levels of personalisation and flexibility. Your ability to offer it depends on you being able to access and analyse accurate data quickly – so you can make the right decisions at the right time.
This level of clarity and control can only be achieved via an open hotel technology, like SiteMinder’s leading hotel commerce platform.