How Hotels use Big Data to Drive Direct Bookings

How Hotels use Big Data to Drive Direct Bookings

How Hotels use BIG Data to Drive Direct Bookings

As businesses of all types try to provide more personalized experiences for customers, they are drawn to what we call Big Data. Big Data is the entire collection of information about your guests and your target market. It can be used to find out more about customer preferences, buying habits and markets. It can also shed insight on trends, opportunities and difficulties.

Some say that this is just B.S. Harper Reed, CTO of the Obama re-election campaign, calls it a “bullshit marketing construct”. He point out that answers to simple questions, such as “do you support the President?” matter most. Most companies, he says, just don’t have that much data – big or small.

Nevertheless, things are far more complicated today and companies are marketing and using “data” far more aggressively. Technology companies are creating new ways to interpret data and use it in marketing. It is appropriate to take some time to understand how hotels can use Big Data to get more direct bookings.

Hospitality and tourism have a major problem with Big Data. That is because the focus is often on one’s own data rather than the market at large. In-house data is where most analytics start, but that is the wrong starting point for most small and independent hotels. Only 15% to 25% of guests are repeat guests so sweating over guest data is addressing a pretty small market. 75 % of a hotel’s guests have never been to the hotel before and first-time guests are the largest part of a hotel’s market. You will not find any first-time guests by studying your archives of data.

Of course we want to encourage repeat visitors but we have to accept that travel is about exploration and discovery for a lot of consumers. As we have just stated, that is not something you can gain insight on by pondering your own statistics. Repeat visitors vary between destination and brands, but according to eHotelier, the average is low. It should not be a prime motivator for the average hotel’s marketing campaign.

So we have to ask: what really is the Big Data Opportunity?

Airlines’ Data Define Travel Patterns

Sojern has made a start at being the big data provider for travel. It uses Big Data to get insights into buyer behaviors and preferences, as well as seek out target markets. Sojern gathers information from all sorts of places – social sites and travel sites such as airline sites.

With information from hundreds of travel bookings, they can define travel patterns. In the business travel market, they can inform their hotel clients of business travelers who are arriving in their destination. This they get from the airlines they are associated with. That clearly is a Big Data advantage for some but not for all. It does not work well for holiday destination hotels, as most vacationers usually book a hotel before they buy an airline ticket.

So again we have to ask: where is the Big Data Opportunity?


CC by KamiPhuc

Useful Big Data Analytics

Hebs Digital has a lot of data. They collect information from open sources – from their own and others’ research as well as from clients. They know that the average time for a traveler to plan and book is about 17 days. In that time, travelers will do an average of 8 research sessions, visit 18 sites, and make 6 clicks each before making a booking (Google Research).

According to eMarketer, they will make 15.5 touch points within the week before they actually book a room, villa, apartment or resort.

Now that is useful Big Data! What it tells us is:

  • Your website has to provide information that will persuade the early-stage shopper.
  • You need to inspire them, engage them and offer benefits for booking direct >>> see our blog .
  • You need to keep in contact with options like re-targeting ads to hotel website visitors.
  • You absolutely need to be remembered – capture them, re-target them with a really pertinent offer.
  • You need to seek out direct booking channels like MetaSearch that are accessible to independent hotels at reasonable costs.
  • Use lead magnets, like an extremely helpful app or guide, to get their contact info and keep in contact via emails.

Is Big Data a Big Opportunity for Hotels & Tourism?

Hotels can and must use data from many various sources to compile statistics in order to to identify and reach their perfect guests. Big Data can help identify high value customers and clarify which services are most important to them. The information you need is somewhere in the cloud. That data is not going to be fully accessible to small hotels and it will be a real problem to interpret it. For that we need the Big Data technologists. The challenge is finding and processing all the data so that it can be of use. This field is very competitive and hotels are at a huge disadvantage compared with the OTAs. They simply do not have access to the vast data collected by OTAs, who deal with hundreds of thousands of hotels and millions of travelers.

Dale Nix, Hospitality Consultant at Avenue9, part of the JLL Group, says that, “As emerging technology become mainstream, the opportunity to convert data into truly tangible value will be employed by savvy hotel brands, to everyone’s benefit… Guests look for personalization, recognition and status. We can provide those things at very little cost if we get it right. It’s about creating that seamless guest journey, from booking, to staying, to paying and beyond. We have to make it easy for the guest to say yes—and it doesn’t have to be through points.”  Source JJL >>>

Big Data technology companies can add value to small hotels and chains by tapping into vast data resources. As an example, Sojern claims to have over “350 million traveler profiles and billions of intent data points that drives bookings by helping you engage with in-market audiences most likely to book.”

Personalization: a Big, Big Data Opportunity

The buzz word for travel marketing and guest experience in 2016 is ‘personalization’. Here Big Data can be very effective. Tourism marketers can now grab details of guests and prospects from their social profile. Automated systems will scrape interest and profiles from Facebook for any email you have. You can create target markets with this information and market directly to them. These ideas are presented in our last post on re-targeting (see link above).

Hotels need to seek out marketing services that fine tune personalization. These new systems understand that travelers do not want more choices. Instead, they want a personal recommendation. The new personalization expert systems are the driving force behind, now implemented on the Barbados Tourism Website The intelligent systems analyze a visitor’s behavior and match it with a history of data. In just moments, the traveler gets a recommendation that is highly personal.

While still in beta, the system has shown a remarkable increase in engagement and conversion.


How to Personalize Travel Websites for Independent Travel Brands

How to personalize travel websites for independent travel brands.

Travel brands are challenged to deliver customized experiences across demographics. This article present several technologies that help to deliver a customer-specific experience.

Strategies discussed include re-targeting and ancillary marketing based on the booking information such as room category, number of people, dates, etc. Travel brands can take this data and offer a discounted purchase for a relevant ancillary product immediately after, or even during, the purchase. With this approach the customer can see that they will benefit from a lower price or an enhanced product by booking the product immediately.

Their is more to it than that of course and the report looks at reassurance messaging, mobile technology and website interface technology.

We have covered this also in other post that do a bttter job at look at visual; behavior responsive technology that can create real personalization on the fly see

– See more at:

How to use Behavioral Differences & Personalisation to Boost Bookings

Understanding Behavioral Differences in Tourism And Travel Shopping can boost Bookings.

You will need to register and down load this report but it is well worth registering for it. The report examines behavioral differences between leading retail and travel companies. Conversion rates and purchase cycles vary greatly between the travel and retail sectors and the insights unveiled in this report illustrate a clear opportunity for travel businesses to boost conversion rates by delivering customer experiences that are underpinned by data driven insights. Its exactly what is behind the latest revolution in Visual Marketing Technology created by AXSES for tourism Destinations, See Our previous blog on that here >>

The key insights included:

– The mobile visitor presents a greater opportunity for travel businesses

– The typical media mix for a travel business differs greatly to that of a retailer

– Site search is critical for travel businesses but smarter user segmentation is required

– Cart abandonment offers travel websites a huge opportunity compared with retail

– First impressions are especially important for travel sites as they need to make their customers return

– Travel visitors repeat purchase more quickly than retail

Understanding the sales funnel with these tips in mind will make a hugh impact on conversion and bookings!

Online Travel Agents Quest for Personalisation

Online travel agents and the growing quest for personalization.

Tnooze says “Despite it being universally accepted that customers are looking for a personalized offer, very few booking engines yet ask different or more specific questions”.

Well that’s not the way to do personalization, it’s not necessary to interrogate visitors to your site. Hey guys! this is the digital age of intelligence: Get with it. been doing personalization with tracking and AI since 1990. It was as we was then called an expert system, that learned as people used it. Smart!

The New trend in booking and travel planning is Visual and the leading solution is based on personalization; it to uses user history to profile shoppers and match them to the very best options. See our post here >>>>

Digital Hospitality & Predictive Personalization – Is it Ethical?

Digital Hospitality & Predictive Personalization – Is it Ethical?

Digital Hospitality, AKA Predictive Personalization | ClickZ.

There is a fine line to be drawn between using big data to pry into people in order to serve them better. Some don’t mind but a surprising number object to the Big Brother Bid data.

Image courtesy of JWT Intelligence

Yet it is inevitable and its been around for sometime already. In 1999 we launched a dynamic packaging system called that tracked every click and associated that with personality traits. over time it got surprisingly accurate and some guest were amazed. No one was upset and one changed their marriage date to be able to book the hotel suggested.

But, the issues is bigger now as systems and databases know so much and track us even when we are not aware and certainly not consenting. That can be an invasion of privacy. Just because it can be done dies not mean we have to do It.. Read the article it is food for thought. Click here >>>

At AXSES we work with these issue as we build more relevant systems like Visual Planning and Bookings – merged with dynamic packaging and matchmaker technology developed by