Geo-targeted offers and rate disparity, and who makes the final decision when revenue management and marketing teams work together: these are just two of the issues we didn't have time to discuss in our cram-packed webinar a few weeks ago. But we address these points - and more - in this short follow-up article.
Now available on demand, the webinar in question was Creating the Ultimate Couple: how to bring together marketing and revenue management teams, a collaboration between Hotelchamp and OTA Insight. In the discussion, we aimed to give listeners all the techniques required to leverage opportunities and data across both teams.
Moderated by leading hospitality tech expert, Nick Vivion, our speakers were Hotelchamp’s Solution Architect, Luke Terheyden, and, OTA Insight’s Thierry Collard, Global Commercial Manager for Revenue Insight, who discussed:
- The opportunities from aligning marketing and revenue management;
- How to take advantage of up-to-date data to create effective marketing campaigns;
- Alternatives to pricing as a revenue management lever;
- Potential ways to structure your team for peak alignment.
With so many points raised, we still had a few outstanding questions that we’ve collated for you below.
1. Can geo-targeting offers work without triggering rate disparity?
Hotelchamp: Typically we see the most effective way is to target visitors with non-price offers from countries that need the push. This way we avoid complications with rates in metasearch and parity, while keeping the cost of these targeted promotions relatively low (compared to discounting). Find more information about targeting and personalisation.
OTA Insight: This can be a tricky issue. But it can be combated by using business intelligence tools that allow you to monitor your rate parity across different points of sale and take action when disparity arises. So when geo-targeted pricing is set, you’re less likely to be caught off-guard by OTAs. The most effective of these tools will have a live view of the metasearch website for proof of disparity, allowing you to take action if needed.
2. How will definitive decisions be made when marketing and revenue teams work together?
Hotelchamp: The most important thing is coordination and cooperation, more than having one central decision-maker. This does mean that you will need to have different managers’ buy-in on the value of working closely together. We have seen from our customers that having one manager overseeing coordination does help bring things together quicker as incentives and goals dramatically change.
OTA Insight: To echo the above, a good start is to identify a champion of this marketing and revenue partnership who can keep the closeness of the teams on track in the initial stages. Sit together and look at each other’s challenges, review tools and goals, and keep meeting up to do this. Depending on each challenge you’re trying to solve, there will be different decision-makers. This process may take time to smooth out but is of value. By combining strengths you can create a framework for collaboration and build accountability.
What’s also key is that any plans you come up with reflect an alignment between Revenue and Marketing. It’s also easier to resolve differences of opinion if quantitative targets are agreed on at the start of a collaborative project, then tracked and monitored. This can only be achieved if you use reliable data.
3. How can social media insights help us make better decisions?
OTA Insight: Social media is important because it’s fast becoming part of the guest experience from planning, right the way to sharing experiences during and after the trip. An interview with Jennifer Kim, Director of Revenue Management for Cycas Hospitality, touched on this topic where it was mentioned that while some social media activity is hard to measure, you can add links on Facebook and Instagram to a ‘book now’ button and track how many people are booking through it. A “peak month” at the chain’s Moxy Amsterdam equates to “30 bookings, which is on par with what a small OTA generates,” she added.
Social media can also be used to generate awareness for your hotel brand. Jennifer noted that brands are now creating social media calendars to reflect different subjects of interest and relating them to their service.
There are also social listening platforms that can provide data that lets you know what context your brand is being mentioned in on social media and allow you to gain an insight that can be used to fuel marketing campaigns.
Hotelchamp: Social media insights are often so helpful because of the variety of demographic data that they provide, giving us insight into who is interested in your hotel. There is also a rich amount of data that comes from website behaviour that can be used to make decisions, such as the conversion rates for different countries, whether a payment method or a language is missing, and whether rates might be too high. Or we might look at the number of searches for particular dates. What is the level of demand? How does this compare to the number of bookings? Are prices too high or too low?
4. What kind of data can help merge marketing and revenue teams?
OTA Insight: The data we highlighted in this session is great for merging marketing and revenue. The webinar is now on-demand so you can listen back at any time for more detail, but the following data-types can really help both teams.
- Booking evolution data
- Booking window data
- Business origin data
- Event data
- Pace by Rate code (eg a marketing campaign code)
This information is all provided in OTA Insight Rate Insight tool. If members of the marketing team are set up with access to the platform, they can use this data to help plan their activities.
Hotelchamp: Additionally, if you ask your web agency to track the dates, length of stay, and rates and adult/child count in Google Analytics, this will open up huge amounts of data.
5. What data sources are the most useful to integrate with a common repository and how do we approach using them?
Hotelchamp: Combining data sources is very important. We would recommend looking to connect website data with cancellation rates and purchases made in the hotel restaurant and spa. This is because a lot of marketing managers will evaluate the performance of advertising or partners based on revenue in Google Analytics.
However, this underestimates impact (if a visitor is spending more at the hotel, their value is more), or overestimates impact (if cancellations are not factored in). A simpler way is to work out the average cancellation rate (for different lead-times or lengths of stay).
Also, customer lifetime value is great to track. If visitors keep coming back after their first purchase, then the value of that first booking is much higher. Additionally, if you see that they come back through the same channel, such as a particular OTA, that tells you the importance of shifting visitors to direct for their first purchase.
OTA Insight: This is one area where OTA Insight has spent a lot of time on developing tools which integrate with our data sources. Drawing from users’ PMSs, Revenue Insight converts revenue data into business intelligence by making it actionable. Users can compare actuals and on-the-books information with previous time periods, booking windows and pick-up trends, and they can analyse their revenue KPIs. They can also combine a wide range of indicators such as rate codes, channels, room types and immediately understand where and how they can drive revenue. Much of this information is as useful for marketers as it is revenue managers.