As hospitality companies rebuild their teams, they’re leaning on leaders who are well-versed in using data to convert more travelers at various points along their booking journey.
AUTHOR: Tim Kolman
As hospitality companies balance a prolonged recovery with the current labor shortage, they’re rebuilding teams with extreme caution. Team members at both the property and corporate levels continue to wear multiple hats and take on more tasks outside of their core responsibilities. Meanwhile, the reset has given owners and operators a chance to rethink how they structure their organizations, and many are choosing a more centralized and collaborative approach.
The downturn, therefore, could provide two silver linings:
- Revenue, Marketing and Sales departments are more aligned on objectives and performance measurements than ever before, which means they’re sharing data that will ultimately drive revenue and lead to better guest experiences.
- Operators are increasingly turning to technology to reduce labor hours by automating manual processes previously performed by a human. At the same time, these digital tools provide new resources that Revenue, Marketing and Sales teams can leverage to attract and convert demand.
When Revenue and Marketing departments, specifically, are aligned and collaborating, hotels can be confident they are targeting the right guest on the right channel with the right offer. And they can begin putting the building blocks in place for a more personalized guest experience from the start of their search all the way through checkout. A well-integrated RMS and CRM provides even deeper guest segmentation, allowing operators to build tailored offers that drive the most revenue while improving the guest experience.
A Fresh Look at Your Org Chart
As hospitality leaders rebuild their teams, they’re looking for different types of talent – individuals who are more versed in both revenue management and marketing. It’s important that team members can read and analyze the numbers as well as action them – use them to tweak the distribution strategy, create enticing packages, target new segments of travelers, etc.
With canceled meetings and the continued lag of group business recovery, even the role of the Sales Director has evolved, and he or she now must be knowledgeable in other areas, including marketing and revenue. More and more companies are appointing a Chief Commercial Officer or Chief Revenue Officer that oversees the three-legged stool of driving revenue: Sales, Marketing and Revenue Management. Perhaps a new structure will mean more long-term collaboration and can prevent operators from falling back into old habits of working independently.
Since they’re likely working from home most of the time, how are your teams communicating? Now that we’re in the midst of such a volatile environment, perhaps the concept of the weekly revenue calls has run its course and instead we need a more real-time, collaborative process.
Data Drives Revenue
Hotel operators have more data about their business and their guests than ever before, so if you’re still making pricing, marketing or distribution decisions from the gut, it’s time to re-examine your strategy.
Data analysis is where revenue and marketing leaders can put their heads together to ensure their strategies are geared toward maximum profitability. One example is the way we monitor and position ourselves against our competitive set today. While the revenue team cares deeply about their position in the comp set, Marketing is typically more focused on awareness, branding and driving bookings.
Now that there’s more data available, Revenue and Marketing teams can dive deeper into how their promotions fare, and they can follow the guest further along their guest journey. Now, tactics like remarketing list search ads allow teams to follow the guest along their booking process and even shift business from competitors.
Folding your digital marketing strategy into your revenue strategy will help you better understand who your real competitors are and ultimately be more competitive in your market.
Fresh Digital Marketing Strategies
With Group and International travel coming back slowly, hoteliers remain focused on leisure business. Meanwhile, leisure travelers are traditionally more price sensitive, and they’re confident deals can be found in today’s environment.
When running search ads, focus on your local market by using location targeting. If you have a location-based promotional strategy, such as a local residents rate, location targeting by city or state is a great way to drive incremental new business to your property. When the ad points to a special offer, you have a better chance of bringing that traveler into the booking process, resulting in more direct bookings.
Hotels today are also facing increased competition from short-term rental properties, especially in heavily leisure destinations. Today’s traveler is not only looking for lodging, they’re looking for experiences. Therefore, it’s more important than ever that hotel commercial teams provide the right overall product – the preferred room, amenities, and experiences – for each and every guest. We should shift our thinking to providing the right product first, and the right price becomes secondary.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
As you observe the benefits of more closely aligned Revenue and Marketing teams, ensure you are providing the tools and resources for this newfound collaboration to become a staple of your operations. Setting shared goals, analyzing common data sets, and encouraging real-time collaboration over weekly meetings will set your business up for long term success.