ONLINE HOTEL BOOKING TREND 3 – 2017: There are more visible signs of big data being utilised more effectively in marketing initiatives – and involves targeting the micro-moments (a google phrase) to maximise conversion.
The consumer need
While looking at the traveller and breaking down the stages of travel (dreaming, planning, booking, and experiencing} is not entirely new thinking, it is the application of available data more effectively is what has changed and will continue to.
Bookers seek relevance throughout the booking process. Anything outside of it is guaranteed to drive them away.
What is driving change?
On Google.com, mobile queries just within the travel category have increased more than 50%. This data reveals that year on year, people are increasingly using their phones to plan travel, but when they do it’s happening in smaller moments across more sessions on their phones. They’re also making more purchases on their phones.
Emerging customer expectations
A large number of decisions on the micro-moments are being made at the last minute. 85% of leisure travellers decide on activities only after having arrived at the destination.
Are they delivering on expectations?
The increasing emphasis and sophistication of predictive analytics allows companies to take bits of information like geography, age, travel patterns, etc. and send communication specifically designed to reach the right guest at the right time.
Now prescriptive analytics goes one step further than the insights revealed by predictive analytics by providing actionable recommendations based on findings.
These prescriptive models analyse existing data patterns and then review the outcomes of various possible scenarios, allowing you to test out decisions before they’re made. For example, you can test out the impact of a 1% increase in ADR on occupancy in a hypothetical environment before applying it in real life. The results of these hypothetical testing ultimately influences real decision making.
Businesses applying this trend
Travel Appeal offers a real-time intelligent advisor for hospitality managers. It allows you to control your reputation, enhance your communication, provide great customer experience and improve your revenue using prescriptive analytics.
Freespree places every conversation with bookers into its digital context and then feed the entire marketing stack to deliver relevant marketing actions. Marriott uses Freespee to have full visibility and control over its inbound direct bookings.
Voyat uses data science to identify high-opportunity website users, and increases their conversion rates with a variety of segmentation and targeting strategies.
SnapShot created by hoteliers is made for hotels of any size, from single hotels to large chains, to make the most of their hotel data.
LodgIQ’s revenue management system (RMS) analyses market variables when optimising forecasts and room rates – current supply and demand in the destination, room rates of direct and indirect competitors, historical room rates, flight patterns, meteorological patterns and local events, among many others.
Mabrian a travel intelligence platform uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies to provide DMOs and tour operators with insights on travel dynamics and tourist behavior in optimise their decision-making.
Travelsify create a unique sequence of hotel DNA tags that are relevant based on the wisdom of travelers & experts for each hotel worldwide. It produces a worldwide database of Hotel DNA & related products: Geo-targeted DNA, Seasonal DNA, Hotel DNA Similarities, to feed & power hotel booking and targeted advertising platforms.
Sift Science fights fraud and online abuse using large-scale and real-time machine learning. Using data from companies like Airbnb and HotelTonight, Sift Science offers a more seamless customer experience while reducing chargebacks, identifying content spam and abuse, and catching spam accounts.
“Hosted Walks” tapped into Airbnb’s passionate network of New York City hosts to be there for travellers in the moment of intent.”
Hilton now uses email markup and lets Google recognise when a traveller has booked with Hilton, and as the travel date approaches it shows the guest a Now Card (essentially an alert on their phone) with hotel details and reservation updates.
Trend potential and takeaway
In the hotel industry, we have never been short of data. The challenge has always been how to use it effectively. While the challenge of disparate systems (typically CRM, PMS, RMS) continue, solutions that assimilate and prepare data will become more widely accessible.
This, in turn, will drive the more static decision model driven by predictive analytics to a more prescriptive one.
I see great potential for companies like Travel Appeal.
According to a Gartner study, currently, only 10% of organisations use prescriptive analytics – and predicts that by 2020, that percentage will grow to 35%.
I would also expect companies like Freespree to help hotels market better with their data.