Knowing what type of service or product you will provide to customers is an important aspect for any business. Knowing what audience you want to target is just as important but not always crystal clear. Sometimes the audience you want to sell to are not the ones who are willing to buy, and many times the ones who are willing to buy come from an unexpected demographic.
Such is the case with hotels. We often look at the most popular events or trends happening near the property, launch campaigns and pages to attract people who are participating, then get confused at the mixed results. Combinations like high page visits and low conversion rates or high entrance rates and poor visit duration metrics indicate that the initial visit was intentional, but the visitor either did not find what they were looking for or was not ready to purchase.
So what can be done to alleviate these poor performing, yet highly relevant campaigns? Knowing who your property currently attracts and has attracted in the past can give clues as to who your true potential customers are. To discover this, we must look at various viewpoints.
1) Website Data
The most obvious place to look for website data is your Analytics tool. Most properties utilize Google Analytics, so the examples in this section will reflect that tool. It is important to look at different metrics before making any assumptions about a site’s performance and the audience it drew in. A good place to start is to look at your site’s All Page pageview data.
While you look at the numbers, ask yourself these questions:
- What are my popular pages (other than the homepage)?
- Where did these visitors come from?
- How many visitors converted?
Once you’ve answered the what, where, and how, you’ll have a clearer picture of your property’s target audience interests. It can also identify the pages/interests that are problematic for your site (high bounce rates, low conversion rates).
2) Distance vs. Competitors
One of the major factors consumers consider when booking a hotel is the distance the property is from popular landmarks and/or where it is located within a popular destination. Hotels close to airports or within a trendy district do well because of this. For hotels that are somewhat close to attractive landmarks and cities, they will stretch their property’s location to at least be considered by searchers for these value propositions. However, too much time spent on advertising these half-true values can be costly in the end since customers have a plethora of research tools at their disposal. Map applications list relevant and surrounding businesses within a searcher’s query, allowing them to compare not only price, but also distance from their desired location of interest.
Make an assessment of your location and the surrounding destinations your guests would be interested in. How far away are you from those destinations? Are there any competitors that are closer to that destination? If so, how many? What are their booking rates? What other value propositions or amenities do they offer? If the answers to these questions are unfavorable for your hotel, proceed to execute campaigns for these destinations with caution. Don’t spend a great deal of time marketing to customers interested in a destination when there are 6 other hotels that are half the distance at the same booking rate. Unless you offer unique amenities and/or cheaper rates, little time and money should be invested in marketing to these audiences. Should you still advertise for these attractions? Yes, because they are still relevant to your business (unless you are absolutely certain that no guest who stays at your property has or will ever go to that destination).
3) Customer Interaction
Lastly, and probably the best way to collect potential customer data, is through interacting with current customers who come walking up to the concierge to check in or out. Asking your customers where they came from and what they are in town for can give your business great insight as to who your true target audiences are. Recording these responses can be tedious, so asking only a few, exact questions should be encouraged. This does not need to happen in person either. Somewhere down the reservation process, your customers submit their email address. Why not send your recently checked-in guests a short questionnaire about their stay and offer them something in return for their time? While collecting a significant amount of data will take time, the knowledge you gain will prove to be worth it.
When you spot trends in the responses, act upon them. Share this insight with your staff that interacts with guests the most. Does your staff agree? What other interesting conversation subjects has your staff engaged in frequently? Are there any other destinations that guests are visiting? What are some destinations featured on the site that people are not actually seeing? After confirming and meeting with your staff, you should have a better understanding of who your actual and potential customers are.
After examining the data, the only thing left to do is to plan your ongoing marketing efforts. Will you focus your dollars and minutes on the destinations that are already bringing in reservations, or will you strategize a way to steal market share from other hotels that are attracting other landmarks? What really matters is that you hone in on your actual potential customers, rather than wishing your customers are interested in what you want them to be interested in. Know thyself first, then go after those truly interested in you. At Valet Interactive, we offer services and consultation to help drive qualified traffic from online visitors to customers. Contact us today to see what we can do to help grow your business!