In today's digital business landscape, data has been widely touted as the new oil. Case in point: In 2019, Deloitte reported that data-driven enterprises perform better in the marketplace. Companies that register higher levels of digital maturity are nearly three times more likely than their lower-maturity counterparts to report significantly higher net profit margins and annual revenue growth, according to the report.
To gain a strategic advantage over your competition, try following these three steps in a rinse-and-repeat cycle:
- Gather data about event planners.
- Analyze that data.
- Act on insights from the data.
Sounds easy, right? It's not. In essence, property marketers need to corral the data that will yield the most precise insights about planners (their target segment), leverage the most accurate analytics tools in the business, and then apply the garnered insights into future iterations of marketing campaigns. Especially given that property managers are under intense pressure to get more properties and rooms booked with ever fewer marketing dollars in their budget, getting data-savvy is a no-brainer: The ubiquity of your customers' digital footprint, combined with powerful data analytics tools, not only gives you a competitive edge — it does so efficiently. Here's how to start leveraging the power of data.
1. Get to Know Your Customer
Gathering data just for the sake of it can eventually get you mired in a data lake, fishing around for meaningful insights and following the wrong trails to less-than-desirable outcomes. If you're looking to increase group bookings, gather the data you need to get going. Start by understanding event planners and finding out their pain points so you can solve them effectively. Event planners come in different avatars — full-time corporate planners, enterprise planners, association planners, and more — so understanding their booking patterns and hiccups are useful data elements to capture. For example, the sales and marketing team at the Fairmont San Jose analyzed booking patterns to discover that most bookings came from the local region. This gave the team more insights about how to create strategic partnerships based on industries and interests. The result was stronger relationships across a more active set of companies.
2. Personalize Your Marketing Campaigns
You understand your key constituents who are most likely to execute group bookings. You have historical and real-time data at your fingertips. You monitor the digital breadcrumbs left by your users closely. Now you need to tie it all together to deliver that valuable currency: personalized convenience in real-time.
A 2018 Nielsen study found that convenience is the new currency in today's hyperconnected world. While the study explored mainly the retail and grocery sectors, the take-home message can be applied to the hospitality industry as well.
Event planners are looking for convenience and a seamless digital experience that addresses their challenges, whether that be a lack of time or inadequate budget. Hotel property managers should encourage marketing teams to slice and dice ad spends to customize content for each event planner and to do so while anticipating needs seamlessly. Meet the planners where they are, through a robust, omnichannel presence. Such a razor-sharp personalized focus on each potential customer will yield rich dividends and is becoming ever more easy to execute with data.
3. Act on Insights
Apply data insights in future iterations of marketing campaigns. Success in the industry is not always about scoring a home run on the first try; it's about doing the grunt work necessary to fine-tune your digital marketing message to every potential and current customer. For example, when The Wink, a hotel in Washington, D.C., deflagged from Marriott, leads declined. By analyzing key metrics such as response time, the team was able to better position the hotel and pinpoint key areas of improvement.
Being data-savvy powers intelligent and strategic marketing, which effectively drives increases in RFP volume, improvements in response rate, and better alignment with the competitive set.