If you’re in the hotel industry, you probably know that Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, they can help increase your hotel’s visibility and bring in more bookings. On the other hand, they can mask your guests’ email addresses, making it difficult to gather valuable first-party data that you can use to improve your marketing and customer service efforts.
In this article, we’ll explore some strategies for converting OTA masked email addresses into genuine first-party contact data, and how a hotel CRM and marketing automation platform can help.
What are OTA masked email addresses?
Before we dive into strategies for converting OTA masked email addresses, let’s first define what they are. When guests book a stay at your hotel through an OTA, the OTA acts as an intermediary between the guest and your hotel. As a result, the email address that the guest provides is often “masked” by the OTA. This means that the email address is modified in some way so that it cannot be directly used by your hotel for marketing or communication purposes.
Why is it important to convert OTA masked email addresses?
Converting OTA masked email addresses into genuine first-party contact data is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it allows you to build a direct relationship with your guests. By having their email address, you can communicate with them directly and personalise your marketing and customer service efforts.
Additionally, having access to first-party data allows you to gain valuable insights into your guests’ preferences and behaviour, which can inform your marketing and revenue management strategies.
Finally, your direct booking strategy will also benefit from the conversion of OTA masked email addresses into genuine first-party contact data. Direct bookings are a key priority for many hotels because they offer a range of benefits, including lower commission fees, increased control over pricing and inventory, and greater opportunities for upselling and cross-selling.
By building direct relationships with guests through first-party contact data, you can encourage them to book directly through your website, rather than relying on OTAs. This not only helps to reduce commission fees and improve profitability, but it also allows hotels to establish a stronger brand presence and guest loyalty, which can lead to increased direct bookings in the future.
Strategies for converting OTA masked email addresses
Now that we understand why it’s important to convert OTA masked email addresses, let’s explore some strategies for doing so:
- Offer an incentive for guests to provide their email address. One simple way to convert OTA masked email addresses is to offer an incentive for guests to provide their email address directly to your hotel. This could be a discount on their next stay or a free upgrade, for example.
- Use a pre-arrival email. Another strategy is to send guests a pre-arrival email that includes a link to a survey or a form where they can provide their contact information directly to your hotel. This can help ensure that you have their email address before they arrive.
- Incentivise your staff to ask guests to provide their contact details on check-in or during their stay.
How For-Sight’s Hotel CRM and Marketing automation platform can help
For-Sight’s CRM and Marketing automation platform can be incredibly helpful in converting OTA masked email addresses into genuine first-party contact data. Here are a few ways that our CRM can assist:
- Centralised guest profiles. You can access centralise guest data, including email addresses, from various sources, allowing you to build a more complete picture of your guests.
- Automated pre-arrival emails. With our marketing automation platform you can send pre-arrival emails automatically, including links to forms or surveys where guests can provide their contact information directly to your hotel.
- Personalised messaging. By using guest data to personalise your messaging, you can increase engagement and build stronger relationships with your guests.
- Reporting. With For-Sight’s Reporting Suite you can monitor the health of your database over time. The Reports help you track the improvement of your valid data rate (name, email, phone), your contact growth and conversion over time as well as the marketing preferences of your guests.
- Understand Guest Behaviour. By analysing guest data in For-Sight’s CRM you can access valuable insights into guest behaviour and preferences, allowing you to optimise pricing and revenue management strategies.
While OTA masked email addresses can be a challenge for hotels, there are strategies and tools available to help convert them into genuine first-party contact data. By doing so, you can build direct relationships with your guests, gain valuable insights into their behaviour and preferences, and optimise your marketing and revenue management strategies.
Want to know how to convert OTA email addresses into real guest emails using For-Sight? Read this article