Use These Key Metrics To Make Data-Driven Business Decisions For Your Hotel

Use These Key Metrics To Make Data-Driven Business Decisions For Your Hotel

We love data here at DAE. We especially love using it to craft really targeted and optimized marketing strategies. Thanks to Google and a plethora of other online tools, there’s so much data out there that can help travel and hospitality businesses up their game. If you’re looking for some targeted ways to pivot your marketing strategy and boost reservations this year, there’s tons of data to help. We wanted to dive in a little bit today and show you just a few of the key metrics we look at for our hotel and resort clients and why they should matter to you! 

1. Total Revenue from Reservations

Obviously, one of the key metrics to track is revenue from reservations. Revenue impacts a lot of your decisions, including your overall marketing budget, staffing, and more. Tools like Google Analytics offer e-commerce tracking that makes it incredibly easy to see and understand your online reservations. Once you understand the numbers and  trends, you can make better marketing decisions and more actionable goals.

For example, if you know winter is your slow season, use your marketing resources to focus on some holiday promotions and the magic of a winter getaway. Showcase winter-specific upsells like spa packages or extended stay rates to boost your reservation values. Understanding seasonality trends also allows you to better allocate your marketing budgets so that you’re reaching the right travelers at the right time of the year.

2. Average Transaction Value

Along the same lines, you’ll also want to track the average value of each reservation you’re getting. Again, Google Analytics makes this very easy to do within their ecommerce dashboard! Comparing that value against total reservations and revenue lets you see if people are booking longer stays, upgrading to higher priced rooms, and taking advantage of your upsell opportunities. 

Understanding this number can help you make smarter marketing decisions in the long term. You can use that number to decide when it’s best to invest more advertising dollars to promote upsell opportunities, higher-priced rooms, and amenities. You can also use the data to adjust your messaging and content strategy to help encourage people to book longer stays and take advantage of higher-priced offerings at your hotel. 

3. Traffic sources

A strong marketing strategy means not putting all your eggs in one basket, offline or online! Online, combining paid efforts, like digital advertising, and organic efforts, like content marketing, social media, email, and search engine optimization, gives you a much more well-rounded approach. Tying your offline efforts to your online strategy is also important, and measurable! Adding UTM codes when sharing a link online or when using shortened links and QR codes in your print materials allows you to easily track where traffic is coming from — both online and offline — in Google Analytics. 

Diversifying your traffic sources means you won’t be overly reliant on any particular channel or strategy — which is bound to have changes and fluctuations.  By tracking where exactly your traffic is coming from, you can get a good idea of how the efforts are working together, what’s working and what’s not, and decide where to invest more time or resources. Tracking traffic trends across channels can also help you troubleshoot problems quickly (such as sharp declines in organic traffic indicating a website issue). 

4. Pages per visit

If visitors aren’t engaging with your site and moving on to other pages to learn more, that could indicate a problem. There’s a lot of competition in the travel and hospitality industry, so you want to do everything you can to provide relevant information that guides people to book their stay, rather than getting distracted or jumping ship to a competitor’s site. In general, the longer you can keep them engaged, the more likely it is they’ll make a reservation or keep your hotel top of mind when they actually are ready to book.

Google Analytics allows you to see not only how many pages per visit a user is looking at, but also the flow of that visit through Behavior Flow reports! You’ll be able to see bottlenecks in traffic, which pages you’re losing people on throughout their journey, and more!

While this number is important, be sure to compare it against other data, like reservations and recurring visits. You likely will have people that visit your site multiple times to learn more about your hotel, amenities, and services. You’re also getting site visits from those that are familiar with your business already and ready to book. In those cases, customers probably won’t need to engage with multiple pages, especially if your site is well optimized for your audience’s path to purchase! 

If your organic search results for “book a hotel room near me” point directly to your reservation page, those visitors should have very few pages per visit and great conversion rates! If those searches are instead landing on your home page, they’ll have to click through the site, and you risk losing them along the way. Once you get the reservation, how can you provide even more value to that audience and keep them engaged before their stay? They may find hotel updates and local itineraries helpful as they plan their trip, so those could be possible content opportunities that keep them engaged.   

5. Search engine real estate

Overall, if you’re not ranking in top Google results for relevant phrases, it’s almost like you don’t exist. You want to keep an eye on how much real estate you take up on the search engines for relevant searches. This goes beyond organic search rankings to include Google My Business listings, ads, how well your social media profiles rank, etc. If you don’t have great search visibility, it’s probably time to invest in aggressive digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to improve your real estate on those coveted search results pages. This will have a huge impact on revenue and bookings as well as brand awareness and authority. You’ll also want to keep an eye on trends and what competitors are ranking for to make sure you’re keeping up and meeting the needs of your customers with great content. 

You can spot-check your current search visibility or use tools like Google Search Console or Moz to get regular reports. Understanding what search terms you should be ranking for is really important, and tools like Google Trends and the Google Keyword Tools help marketers discover the most highly searched, relevant keywords to target and optimize for!

6. Locations where your revenue & traffic are coming from

This is another key metric we’ve been looking at especially closely during the pandemic. Through tools like Google Analytics, you can see the geographic areas of people who’ve actually converted on your site and booked a reservation, as well as where the majority of your traffic is coming from. While this may not seem all that important, it’s actually really valuable information. For example, if the majority of people are converting from the nearby drive market, you may focus your ads and content on weekend getaways and road trip opportunities that a local audience might be interested in for some quick wins and revenue boosts. On the flip side, if you’re getting a lot of traffic from further away but they’re not actually booking, that audience could just be more in the daydreaming phase or require more information about things to do in the area and why it’s a great place to visit. You can also overlay the Transactional Value with the geographic location to determine where your higher spend visitors are coming from, allowing you to target that market with upscale offers to increase your bottom line. 

How do I know what I should be tracking for my hotel?

With so many digital marketing metrics available to you, understanding how and what to pay attention to is no small feat! Don’t get overwhelmed by the numbers, think holistically about what you’re doing, what your marketing goals are, and then use the right data to guide your decisions. Just because you can track all the data, doesn’t mean you’ll be using it all at the same time.

For example, your revenue numbers are not going to guide your decisions on whether or not a brand awareness campaign is working well. Increases in social media reach, brand mentions, or branded searches are going to be the numbers that illustrate your wins. If you’ve got a marketing campaign focused on a seasonal promo, on the other hand, your revenue numbers and transaction values are going to be much more important than your specific search positions on Google. As you’re setting goals for each of your campaigns, think through the entire strategy so it’s clear to you and your team what success actually looks like, then select the most meaningful data points to track along the way.

If you’re struggling to understand how to tie your campaigns or marketing initiatives into your bigger picture goals and mapping them to the right data points, we can help! To figure out what metrics to pay attention to, we talk to our clients about their overall goals — whether that be more reservations, increased brand awareness, or even a specific event promotion — and craft and implement a marketing strategy that’s in line with those goals. As noted, there’s a wide variety of data available to help us make decisions and track our progress toward specific benchmarks. .

Like we said, we love talking data, so if you ever want to chat about what data you can use to craft a killer marketing strategy for your hotel, we’re the team for you! 

The differences between traditional and digital marketing and why both are important

The differences between traditional and digital marketing and why both are important

From when the first television commercial aired in the 1940s until just a couple of decades ago, the marketing world was dominated by messages through TV, radio, print and film—what we now refer to as traditional marketing. Today, though, the age of the internet has ushered in a whole new (and highly effective) approach to reaching the global marketplace: digital marketing

Anyone who’s watched the Super Bowl, opened their mailbox, or thumbed through the pages of a magazine knows that traditional marketing remains a big force in the ad world despite the dawn of digital. So what, exactly, is the difference between the two, and can they work together?

The Basics of Traditional Marketing

In short, traditional marketing is any marketing that is not online. Traditional marketing reaches audiences by way of print, direct mail, broadcast, radio, telephone, exhibitions and outdoor advertising like billboards and automobile wraps.

Because this type of marketing has been around for hundreds of years it’s been thoroughly researched. Therefore, many marketers appreciate the tried-and-true nature of traditional advertising and so continue to rely on it. And they should. Traditional marketing channels can serve as excellent ways to reach local and many generational audiences. For example, consider how many billboards you encounter and are affected by when driving on the freeway. Or imagine your own great-grandmother: Would she be more likely to respond to a digital display ad or a mailer in her mailbox?

The Basics of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing, on the other hand, is any marketing that is conducted online. For example, paid ads on social media, email marketing blasts, and pay-per-click (PPC) display ads are all considered digital marketing. As a result of the technological and cultural shifts in society, digital marketing encompasses an extremely popular and necessary host of advertising channels. This approach to marketing also tends to be much more affordable than traditional marketing and allows for highly targeted connections with global audiences.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Digital and Traditional Marketing

One of the greatest disadvantages of traditional marketing is that it affords companies very little interaction with consumers. For example, unlike with digital marketing, customers can’t hop online to check a store’s inventory for a specific sale item if all product promotions are traditionally based. Instead, they have to visit or call the store, which places a barrier in the sales funnel.

Another significant disadvantage to traditional marketing is the lack of measurable results. Though there are some ways, such as printed coupons, to tally effectiveness, these methods tend to be cumbersome and less cost effective. Overall, traditional advertising is also more expensive than digital. Despite its disadvantages, though, traditional marketing has a solid place in the marketing world, particularly for local advertising.

Nonetheless, digital marketing is becoming an increasingly significant driver, with businesses reporting that social selling influences half of revenue overall. Benefits of this approach, such as real-time interaction and campaign results, continue to drive the popularity of digital marketing channels. With inbound marketing specifically, consumers are able to find businesses on their own, which eases the advertiser’s burden of tracking down consumers.

However, there are disadvantages to digital marketing. And the greatest of these is dependence on technology. If a website goes down or a social media platform is on the fritz, there’s no other option than to wait it out. Privacy issues pose another problem because they add a level of complex accountability and sets of rules that are constantly changing. Both can leave an unsuspecting company reeling from accidental violations. That, as well as the constantly changing landscape of the social media world, are among the many good reasons to work with a professional digital marketing agency.

Do Digital and Traditional Marketing Work Together?

The answer is a resounding YES! Consider all the ways we see traditional marketing being used to magnify digital efforts: billboards advertising websites, social icons on print ads, QR codes on mailers, Indeed.com listings advertised in newspaper classified sections. The list is virtually endless. The question at hand isn’t whether to use digital or traditional marketing but, rather, how can we use both approaches to reach the most consumers effectively and efficiently.

Would you like to learn more about how digital and traditional marketing might benefit your business? Get in touch with us here at DAE & Company!

COVID-19 Recovery Strategies For California & Nevada Travel Businesses

COVID-19 Recovery Strategies For California & Nevada Travel Businesses

There’s no doubt that 2020 was rough on hotels — and the travel and hospitality industry as a whole. Many of our hospitality clients here in California and Nevada still remain closed or continue navigating ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and capacity limitations. However, a new year, a new vaccine rolling out, and warmer temperatures on the horizon have us feeling hopeful. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, folks. We can feel it! 

With that in mind, we’re sharing some tips and COVID-19 recovery strategies to help hotels and other travel businesses make the most of this time. With a little strategic planning, you can set yourselves up for a bright future! 

Revamp your cancellation policy

In light of all the unknowns the hospitality and travel industries are still facing, one of the first things you should do is take a good, hard look at your cancellation policy. As customers slowly return to travel, increased flexibility could mean the difference between opting to book with you rather than a competitor, or not travel at all. 

Even as restrictions continue to lift and the risk gets lower thanks to newly released vaccines, people may still be hesitant to travel well into late 2021 and 2022. That means flexible booking and cancellation policies are going to continue to be key in building travelers’ confidence. 

  • We recommend keeping your cancellation policy as flexible as possible to help reduce the risk for potential customers. Waive time limits, fees, blackout dates, etc. This will help account for any unforeseen and ongoing COVID-19 increases, closures, or other travel delays.
      
  • As you make policy changes, be sure you’re being upfront with your customers. Communication and transparency are key to gaining customers’ trust and loyalty right now.  

Rethink your amenities and offerings

Changing times means what’s worked for your business in the past may not work moving forward. As we start a new year and adapt to the changing travel market right now, there’s never been a better time to rethink your amenities and perks for customers. 

As you review your existing business model, here are a few things to consider moving forward:

Look for ways to reduce in-person touchpoints and physical contact. As we all look to reduce the spread of harmful germs and bacteria, consider investing in things like: 

  • Automatic doors
  • Automatic toilets and faucets
  • App-based check-in/check-out and room requests
  • Voice assistants for rooms
  • And more!

As travelers will likely want to keep their distance from those outside their group for some time moving forward, you might also want to consider investing in more private and socially-distant activities for guests. While swimming pools, fitness centers, and game rooms are great, they may not be as popular moving forward, at least for a while.

As an alternative, consider offering more in-room and socially-distant options, such as:

  • Video game consoles
  • Virtual fitness classes
  • Books and magazines
  • Board games and puzzles
  • Minibars and in-room taps
  • Room service and carryout vs. buffet-style meals

Of course, you can also consider other audiences besides just leisure and travel. What else can you offer? For example, maybe you increase the focus on event planning for happy couples who are looking to plan a wedding in 2022 or beyond. Or maybe you can adapt your meeting and conference rooms to accommodate individuals or small groups who are now working remotely but need more space or resources.  

There’s no doubt that this pandemic has likely caused some fundamental changes in our mindset and priorities, so why not prepare now before travel really takes off again? While it may be a change from the norm, shifting your amenities and customer offerings can be a great way to outshine the competition, gain additional revenue sources, and attract new customers moving forward. It’s a win-win-win! Plus, while there is a downturn in travel, you can roll out changes slowly and gauge customer response. 

Keep your website up to date

Even though we continue to move forward a little more every day, there are still a lot of unknowns. We’ve seen reopening dates continue to get delayed, hotels closing back down after reopening, and plenty of other scenarios. In those types of situations, it’s best to be as clear and upfront as possible. You don’t want to leave customers in the dark about what’s going on. Hence why keeping your website up-to-date is a key priority during this time — and a key part of your recovery strategy. 

Make sure key information is easily accessible and accurate on your site, including:

  • Your contact information
  • Your hours of operation
  • Whether your business is open or closed
  • Any amenities/services that may not be available or limited during this time
  • What COVID-19 precautions are currently in place/enforced
  • Your cancellation policy

Having all these details available upfront makes it easy for patrons to stay informed during every step of the COVID-19 recovery journey. This can eliminate a lot of frustration from customers, build trust and authenticity for your business, and reduce the workload on your customer service team. 

Get active on social media

We’ve heard a lot of hospitality business owners saying that social media “isn’t worth it” while hospitality businesses remain closed or recreational travel isn’t recommended. With more and more people staying home and using social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube to stay in touch, we say there’s never been a better time. If you can’t communicate with your loyal patrons and potential guests in person, you have to keep connected with them somehow. One of the best ways to do that is to invest in your social media presence — with a high focus on engagement. 

A lot goes into a great social media strategy, but here are a few key tips to keep in mind during this time. 

  • Use eye-catching images and videos to draw followers in and get them excited for future travel plans. 
  • Respond to comments and messages as quickly as possible — just as you would if a customer was there in-person. 
  • Be proactive with commenting, tagging, and sharing content from others as well. Again, it’s just like striking up a face-to-face conversation. 
  • Focus on the data. Most platforms have built-in analytics and insights you can use to see what posts are connecting with your audience. You can use that data to optimize what you’re posting and when. 

Consistently sharing unique, on-brand content and building up engagement across social media will keep your hotel or travel agency top of mind when traveling increases once again — and your loyal followers will be ready and anxious to visit! 

Create eye-catching ads

As travel and hospitality businesses continue to reopen and more people begin to travel, your digital advertising strategy is going to be crucial. The travel industry is going to be more competitive than ever, which means you’re really going to have to stand out. 

Crafting a well-rounded advertising strategy takes time, but here are a few handy tips:

  • You’ll want to have different message points depending on what stage of the recovery process you’re at (open, closed, open with restrictions, etc.) 
  • Your geographic focus will likely shift as well. For example, it might be more beneficial to target locally within your drive market for “staycations” while non-essential travel isn’t recommended. 
  • Focus on visuals. You really want people to be able to picture themselves at your destination. 
  • Remarketing is key. Most travelers are putting a lot of time and research into planning their vacation, which means they probably are weighing options before booking. You want a savvy remarketing strategy to stay top-of-mind until they finally make that reservation.
  • Once travel starts to rise again, you’ll want to push your great deals and promos to help sweeten the experience for those who may still be on the fence or comparing against a nearby competitor.

Hone your brand

As a creative branding agency, we would be amiss if we didn’t encourage you to use this “downtime” to really hone in on your brand. None of the above strategies are going to give you much success if you don’t really know the fundamentals of who you are as a company and how you truly stand out in the market.

Read Now: 5 Reasons to Consider Rebranding Your Business in 2021

If you’re looking for a strategic partner to help you navigate through this ongoing pandemic, we’re here to help you every step of the way. We offer branding, strategy, content, advertising services, and more — and we have a special place in our hearts for travel and hospitality businesses on the West Coast

Whenever you’re ready, let’s chat about how to make your hospitality business comeback stronger and better than ever! 

 

The Dangers of Playing it Safe

The Dangers of Playing it Safe

There’s one symptom related to COVID-19 that no doctor has addressed: paralysis. Not the kind of paralysis you might imagine, but rather the kind that often runs rampant in the world of marketing when we’re hit by change, chaos and uncertainty. Such has been the script for 2020.

Uncertainty was working overtime this spring as one business after another went dark and streets grew silent. It was a good time to go with messaging that was gray, beige and largely unnoticed. Or was it?

In the travel and hospitality industry, there’s a pervasive sense that the only route to take is the one most traveled, the one where messages and signs and ads look more in line with the kinds of safe,  uninspiring templates you’d expect from government entities, accompanied by staid headlines that work tirelessly to try and say it all without saying a thing. The end result is a flurry of messages that are easy to ignore, which may well have been the intent. After all, this is another C-word that was best not addressed.

That wasn’t the case with two DAE clients that used the downtime to plan for the day when the lockdown would lift. Working together with these clients, we went where few others would go – to a place where our media would stand out, stop consumers in their tracks, and possibly even leave them with a much-needed reason to smile. All while being respectful to the feelings at hand that surround this crisis.

LTRH COVID Signage

“We had an opportunity to buy COVID-19 signs from a government website but chose to create signs that complement our brand and that have messages that are friendly, eye-catching and effective,” said Bill Cottrill, General Manager, Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel. “We were thrilled with what DAE&Co came up with. Our guests stop and read them and actually smile. The beauty of having an agency you’ve worked with for over 20 years is that they get to know you so well and they know the significance of something as simple as a sign.” 

AMGH COVID Signage

Kim Painter, GM of Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel, added, “We’ve been closed since Disneyland Resort closed. It’s been a tough time, but as we were looking forward to opening our doors and welcoming guests back, we wanted to be sure they felt the magic the moment they stepped in our doors. The whimsical and clever signage will help set the tone for a family friendly stay with a touch of magic. It is always fun to see our brand come to life.” 

It was the best of times to be different, smart, and even a little brave. It was – as all marketing should be – a good time to advance the brand, an approach far more effective than giving in to fear and paralysis.

 

Tribe Marketing: What it is and why it’s taking over

Tribe Marketing: What it is and why it’s taking over

Today, we’re watching as the big picture of generational marketing is being replaced by a much more nuanced view of who we’re marketing to. We’ve entered an era where we’ve practically got consumer data coming out our ears, giving us access to highly specific attitudinal and behavioral insights once unavailable to marketers without the use of expensive, time-consuming research tools.

And all the while, the age of the internet has ushered in a new social order where the global village is being replaced by a vast set of divergent tribes.

That’s why, when we develop outreach at DAE & Company, we look at how we should speak to these tribes, not how we can reach “older” or “younger” generations. That is, we look at how different tribes engage and experience brands and we determine the best way to deliver meaningful messages to the individual members of these tribes.

Tribe Marketing in the Real World

In a recent Forbes article on the topic of tribe marketing, writer Kian Bakhtiari describes this phenomenon aptly:

The digital age has enabled the creation of modern tribes, united by a shared mindset, rather than age or location. Unlike the punks, hippies and goths of yesteryear, these new tribal allegiances are invisible. Modern tribes live inside echo chambers on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Twitch and Discord.

So, if birthdate alone can no longer predict consumer behavior patterns, the implications for today’s marketers are huge. Researchers estimate that in 2020, Gen-Z will take over as the largest global generation. Brands seeking to reach this massive pool of consumers will have to go beyond the analysis of simple demographic profiles, instead listening and responding to the highly diverse needs, wants, attitudes, and values this group is communicating to us in those “echo chambers” online.

But how do we begin to deliberately process this new approach?

First, stop viewing “youth” as a marketing segment

Think of it this way. A whopping 64% of the world’s population is made up of Millennials and Gen-Z—that’s 4.7 billion unique souls. And as Bakhtiari puts it in the aforementioned Forbes article,

How can [this massive group of people] all possibly think or act in the same way? For every report stating young people are lazy, there’s another stating they’re workaholics. For every article stating they’re individualistic, there’s another stating they’re community-minded. And for every account stating they’re narcissistic, there’s another stating they’re going to save the world.

The thing is, Millenials and Gen-Z are all of those things and more, that is, when you look at them through the lens of tribe marketing. What the contradictions reveal, Bakhtiari goes on to say, is the natural consequence of attempting to paint a picture of a profoundly diverse group using the broad, oversimplified brushstrokes of age-based demographics.

Second, stop assuming generational demographic segments reflect different consumer needs

You need only take a quick look at the variation within today’s individual generations to easily understand the growing disconnect between age-based demographics and real consumer needs. As Bakhtiari points out, “Donald Trump and Barack Obama are both Baby Boomers. Jay Z and Jeff Bezos are both a part of Generation-X.”

He then goes on to list a slew more age-mates whose views and behaviors prove how very poor a determinant of identity or needs age really is. And all this is despite those undeniable shared experiences unique to each generation—those economic and social events and circumstances that shape a person’s outlook on, and chances at success in, life. While such shared experiences might define circumstances, they no longer define the ways in which individuals within a generation navigate those circumstances.

Third, start taking cues from companies like Netflix

With 139 million subscribers to contend with, Netflix has developed a segmentation strategy based on the tastes of its consumers. By breaking this massive troupe into 1,300 taste communities based solely on viewing behavior, not age or any other demographic marker, the company saves $1 billion each year on subscription churn. These results are consistent with a recent Gallup poll showing that companies who capitalize on behavioral insights have shown 85% more sales growth and a 25% greater sales margin than companies still relying on generational insights alone.

Netflix Vice President of Product Todd Yellin wrapped it with a bow when he said in a recent interview, “[…] there are actually 19-year-old guys who watch Dance Moms, and there are 73-year-old women who are watching Breaking Bad and Avengers.”

Enough said.

Interested to learn more about how tribe-based marketing could streamline your strategy? Get in touch, and let’s talk!