Avoiding the “Left Swipe” in the New Digital Age
Consumer behavior has changed. Travel marketing has to change with it and that means leveraging predictive data.
The online travel game has changed dramatically and hotels need to keep up or get left swiped. Over 500 hotels and travel marketers joined nSight’s recent webinar “How to Turn OTA Shoppers into Direct Bookers” to learn how to up their game.
It’s like asking a twenty-something about the difference between Match.com and Tinder. The rules of engagement are different – the new way to make a connection is faster, visual, on the go and decisions happen with just a swipe. With Tinder and the rise of Tinder-esque apps that are up and coming across all industries including travel, you have seconds to make an impression or you get the left swipe of rejection. To compete, hotels need to leverage forward-looking data that can predict your next best match and how to convert them into a guest.
For a copy of the “How to Turn OTA Shoppers into Direct Bookers” webinar presentation, email [email protected].
Here are the grim realities of most data-driven hotel marketing today:
- It’s based on historic data from the previous year or last month at best.
Historic data is good for trends and establishing goals, but just does not say who is shopping you now. Hotels need to fish upstream before consumers make a booking decision. That means understanding who is shopping now, not just who booked.
- It’s relies on metrics from your hotel website.
Your website data tells you what you have achieved – what you’ve done well or not so well in terms of attracting and converting consumers. It can give you general demographic and geotargeting information as well as great website performance metrics on shopping path, abandonment and upgrades. But your website data can’t tell you who is NOT shopping you, but is shopping your competitor across the street. You don’t know what you don’t know. So you need to go beyond your website data to broader consumer shopping data for marketing and revenue strategy decisions.
- It’s formulaic and uses the same digital marketing tools of five years ago.
The tools hotels have been using, including SEM/PPC, display ads, programmatic ad banners, all have one or more attribute in common:
- They still don’t enable you to compete with the ad spends of OTAs for key words and placement.
- They’re based on historic data from last year or last month using consumers who have already booked. (That business is gone…why model to it now?)
- They’re often simplified to a “generic traveler” profile for ease of your agency’s execution, creative and reporting.
- They’re based on the consumer profile for only your hotel website shopper, which is great if you don’t want to grow outside your customer base!
The bottom-line is that this old approach does not hack it in today’s digital environment. Why look at who bought yesterday when you can market to who is actively shopping you and your competitors toda
Don’t get “Left Swiped”
Just as in the new online dating world, hotels have precious few seconds to make an impression. Using predictive data from across a broad range of travel shopping websites – not just your hotel website, hoteliers have a clear advantage by customizing digital marketing with forward-looking insights that increase traffic and direct bookings.
Here are some examples of how it works:
Best of all, a collective view of these attributes, including top source markets and profiles by arrival date, enables you to personalize all campaigns to target your “most likely to book” traveler. Customized text, image and promotions aligned with your hotel’s need period will increase conversion and boost marketing ROI.
It’s the right way to target active travel shoppers – go where they are and relate to who they are!
Big data offers big learnings for how hotels compete online. To understand how to move the needle, you need to first know where you stand and the intent of future hotel consumers.
Know what these 500 webinar participants know. See how your hotel website looks and books compare to your hotel looks and books on the OTAs. You’ll be amazed at what you learn! Sign-up for a FREE 60-Day Trial of the nSight Hotel Online Traffic Report.
Photo Source: Tom Wilson