For-Sight’s Inbound Marketing Executive Maud Bruyere look at how data can help hospitality businesses convert venue attendees to future accommodation guests.
In 2021, spending priorities have shifted in favour of the hospitality industry. The ‘net spending intention’, forecasting the next 12 months, in comparison to the last 12 months, shows a remarkable increase in interest for leisure. The winning categories of March 2021 Pwc’s survey are: eating out (+32%) and holidays (+27%). Simultaneously, consumer confidence is progressively strengthened with vaccines rolling out. Hospitality accommodation businesses that welcome visitors in their beer gardens, restaurants, afternoon tea… could be sitting on an untapped gold mine, if they don’t already use this opportunity to convert those visitors into guests!
In this article, we share ways on how to own your visitor’s relationship and increase your revenue, thanks to data management and effective communication techniques.
The value you bring to your visitors is key.
The visitor experience will be the first influence that makes your visitors come back. The higher, the better! It is no secret that building loyalty, strongly depends on the combo: wonderful visitor experience and highly personalised communication. Ultimately, the effort you put in delighting your visitors will not only make them come back for a stay, but also work as one of the most cost-effective acquisition techniques: the word of mouth. To get this right, the data you hold in your PMS and other transactional systems – restaurant booking for instance, can provide insights to help you build guest profiles of the visitor you wish to convert. Which brings us to…
How can Data help you?
The data on its own is dormant until activated thanks to processing and analysis. Properly used, data can have a significant role in helping hospitality businesses to understand their visitors and guests, and adjust their strategy accordingly.
“The use of innovative ethical data management is an effective strategy to increase sales revenue by providing the tourism and hospitality organisation with valuable business insights for ongoing marketing activity and competitive advantage” (Yallop & Seraphin, 2020).
Data has the potential to unleash valuable insights to back up your marketing decisions, as you will know your guests’ unique preferences and purchasing behaviour.
Collect your visitor’s information
Maximise your chance to collect your visitors’ data by exploring the various touchpoints that could help you interact with your beer garden visitors. Here are some ways to reach out to your visitors and build your email list:
- The first contact – When making a reservation, encourage sign up and opt-in, while ensuring the highest standards in data security and compliance.
- All the contacts – utilise the points that are visible to attendees to encourage or facilitate sign up: your tables, your glasses, the waiting area, less glamourous but nonetheless with high traffic: the bathrooms…
- Your venue introspection – Analyse what you offer to your visitors by experiencing your venue through your visitors’ prism. This exercise can enlighten areas you had no idea could exist.
- Inspire yourself – other venues could help you think about new ways to connect with your visitors that you could adapt to your property.
Guests’ relationship management
A GWI report (May 2021) found that U.S and UK consumers consider email, as a channel, to be informative and helpful, while expecting email campaigns to be relevant and personalised. To fulfil your visitors’ expectations, there is an absolute necessity to capture their needs and preferences. The information that you collect can help you build accurate visitors’ profile that you can use to create your message and speak your attendees’ language!
Have your visitors enjoyed happy hours and were responsive to promotional offers? Why not offer a happy hour stay to any guests booking before a specific date?
Cross-comparison with your attendees and similar guest profile – demographic, spending behaviour, specific requests, booking frequency… can also help you predict needs and preferences. In conclusion, it is never too late to awaken your data!
Email marketing campaign – Ready, steady, go!
Don’t make your attendees wait! Now that you have your lists and you know whom to address your messages to, it is time to invite your beer garden visitors to something new, the guest journey. It is crucial to start nurturing your leads soon after their visit, so they don’t move on to something else. Plan the journey you want your visitor to experience as future guests, keeping in mind the current situation that still requires reassurance and flexibility from your property.
Easy mistake – Trying to fit a square peg in a round hole
A common pitfall when building email marketing campaigns is to try to make your guests fit an offer, rather than tailoring it for them. The other side of GWI’s report indicated that email campaigns can also be perceived as Excessive (32%) and Intrusive (18%) – the red zone that could lead to poor results. There is a delicate balance between bringing value to your attendees and spamming them or being creepy.
Select the right tools
- To Plan and Measure When it comes to choosing the right tools for your hospitality marketing, the market has plenty to offer. CRM technology brings analytics to your door using the multiple data sources across your systems, such as your PMS. Conversion campaigns can be strategised, designed, measured and adjusted using your Business Intelligence: clean and actionable data from your CRM. The use of data can be perceived as a disruptive innovation in the tourism and hospitality industry; however, it allows hospitality businesses to ease personalisation, offer convenience, save costs and overall enhance their competitive advantage (Evans, 2020).
- To Design and Adjust
Driving effective hospitality marketing, capturing unique opportunities and generating revenue… When choosing to either use a generic email marketing solution or a Hotel and hospitality specific emailing marketing solution, there are few points you should consider!
On the top of the functionalities of a Generic solution, solutions designed specifically for the hospitality industry, such as For-Sight’s hotel crm and email marketing solution, helps you to:
- Connect your PMS data with data from other transactional systems, so you can create highly personalised campaigns,
- Segment and customise data for targeted and impactful campaigns,
- Access detailed reporting and insights on your performance and results, so you follow your trends and adjust your strategy.The knowledge and support from the industry experts in our professional service team can help you create unique and effective tactics, to convert your visitors into accommodation guests.
Encore! To hit the nail on the head – test what you do.
Analyse what is working and what isn’t, using the reporting feature of your For-Sight emailing solution. That way you can see which emails are more popular for conversion and pinpoint where the most contacts drop out, in order to optimise your campaigns accordingly.
Evans, N. (2020), Strategic Management for Tourism, Hospitality and Events, 3rd ed., Routledge,Abingdon.
Yallop, A., & Seraphin, H. (2020). Big data and analytics in tourism and hospitality: opportunities and risks. Journal Of Tourism Futures, 6(3), 257-262.