This article comes from one of Triptease's Direct Booking Coaches. Get in touch to find out how Direct Booking Coaches can help your hotel.
Today, data is a key component of any industry, and hospitality is no exception. Now more than ever it can be used to lift the lid on customer behavior and provide optimization opportunities that result in more bookings.
That's why OTAs increasingly invest in data-driven features such as automation, machine learning, and predictive analytics. Without a budget that matches that of OTAs, hotels need to develop new ways of collecting and analyzing data that helps them to better understand their guests and drive more direct bookings.
At Triptease, we advise our clients to follow these four steps to make better-informed, data-driven strategic decisions.
1. Capture and analyze your data from the very beginning of a guest’s journey
To understand what your data is telling you, you need an overview of all your digital touchpoints.
We sometimes find that hoteliers approaching their direct booking strategy as though the guest journey begins on the hotel's website. Of course, most guests go through an entire research stage before they start narrowing down to particular properties. Hotels need to be thinking about how they can capture and leverage data in this stage of the journey as much as on their own site.
If you can identify and target a customer with purchase intent in the research phase, you stand a much higher chance of converting them directly (rather than losing their business to an OTA).
This is why Triptease is making it easy for hotels to bid smartly on metasearch (including Google Hotel Ads) based on hotel-specific data. Our Acquisition product is powered by two systems. The Guest Value Index compares online searchers to your hotel's ideal customer profile and detects their real-time purchase intent. The Trip Value Index is calculated from the searcher's booking conditions, including parity and booking value. Data from these systems is combined to automatically calculate a precise bid amount that stands your hotel in the best stead for attracting and converting your ideal customer through metasearch.
2. Monitor customer behavior on your website and booking engine
A key metric to monitor is the drop-off rate of visitors from your website to your booking engine. Issues that make a guest leave your website without booking can range from small inconveniences (e.g. hidden credit card fees) to larger problems (e.g. a broken booking button). Once you have clear insights into where the problem areas are on your website, you can work on solutions.
We know that the demographic mix of audiences on a hotel website can fluctuate over time - therefore, the changes in behavior can also appear. Your site needs to be able to keep up with these trends. That’s why you need real-time data that tells you who is visiting your site and how they're using it.
3. Create tailored offers
Our data collected from thousands of hotel websites shows that personalized dynamic messages outperform generic campaigns and capture more direct bookings. Triptease's website personalization tools allow you to quickly design, launch and test thousands of different messaging options on your audience.
For better results, tailor not only the copy but also the design of your messages and offers based on what you know about your customer segments. Use our gallery for inspiration, or upload your own custom design.
You should also make sure you're using a tool that can detect a customer's intent and trigger targeted upsell messages. The Message Builder on Triptease Platform makes it very easy to create targeted messages based on intent (length of stay, check-in date, etc) -simply go the 'targeting' tab and select yours!
4. Look at the right data to achieve your goals
‘Analysis paralysis’ is not just a tongue twister! Big data is invaluable for optimizing website performance, but it can distract you from your goals.
To unlock data-driven strategies that work for your hotel, you need to set yourself clear KPIs and analyze only the data that helps you achieve these goals. A simple, distraction-free Insights Dashboard can give you a view of your conversion funnel and a clear picture of direct booking trends over time.
To reach your website conversion goals, make sure you're looking at data that drives decision-making. And to unlock its full potential, speak to your Direct Booking Coach - we're only a phone call away!