Data Mining and Delivering Gold

By Laura Daquino, for the Australian & NZ Revenue Management Association

HOTELIERS are increasingly turning to data to support decisions, but they aren’t necessarily using this to its revenue-generating potential.

Traditionally, corporate and leisure were the only segments being marketed to – and for some, that’s unfortunately still the case.

Now, a surge in available data is exposing an array of other segments, and finally a heterogeneous market is understood as being comprised of a number of smaller homogeneous markets.

Adrian Caruso, managing director of full service digital marketing agency Fastrack, says effective marketing through a behavioural segmentation lens is the best way to tap into this.

Fastrack specialises in servicing clients across the tourism, travel and hospitality industries, helping these clients create customer profiles by segmenting according to dimensions such as marital status, trip purpose, past habits and life stage.

“Sometimes even the best hotel chains are failing to conduct basic demographic profiling. It’s a massive opportunity missed for hotel brands,” says Caruso of database segmentation.

“A lot of hotels don’t record ages of their visitors, and sometimes don’t even record if they are male or female, let alone seemingly more advanced profiling like marital status.

“People are being so inundated with marketing messages that there really needs to be a marriage of data and customer to ensure cut through in the competitive hotel space.”

Caruso draws on his own personal experiences, when in Singapore he received the odd message from the hotel he was staying at to ‘rekindle your honeymoon’, where some of the big brand hotels he is a regular at consistently fail to send him any relevant offers.

It has been observed that hotels drop room rates once conventions end and corporate groups leave, but Caruso is of the view that extending booking windows through discounted rates isn’t always the best-practice solution and more can still be done.

“Revenue managers need to speak to the hotel’s marketing managers to look at ways of improving revenue management by sending tailored campaigns,” says Caruso.

“For example, a single 30-year-old female executive could be targeted to extend her business trip from conference day Thursday through to Saturday by offering something like a pamper package or winery tour.

“The marketing department must always be diligent with data because you may have the same person checking in time and again, but their marital status of guests may change significantly.”

Melissa Kalan, managing director of the Australian & NZ Revenue Management Association agrees that targeting the right message to the right customer at the right time is extremely important rather than a flood of irrelevant offers. Not only do irrelevant message annoy consumers they hinder the opportunity to drive effective revenue growth.

“The standard approach of offering discounts to lure business or booking extensions needs a fresh approach and is not always required. Offering value added targeted offerings to compliment guest’s needs and lifestyle is of great benefit to both the property and the customer.

“Today the accommodation industry has the opportunity to access vast amounts of data on their customers and can apply a revenue management approach to driving ancillary spend and room night revenue through targeted strategic campaigns.” Says Kalan.

Caruso adds that the days of the one-type business traveller are gone as well.

While some research suggests that there are now a number of subsets, Caruso thinks this can be differentiated into two vastly different types of business travellers, each demanding different marketing strategies.

“You now have a situation where one of these business travellers wants to stay in a box, taking into account their 830am arrival and meetings all day with no break for leisure, and then another who wants much more than a box and to be given somewhat of a package deal.

“Boutique hotels and apartments are addressing that some travellers want more than a box at the expense of some of the bigger hotel chains.

“Across the industry it needs to be noted that your revenue will suffer from the mentality that one marketing measure fits all.”

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