As we approach summer, there are many that feel the need to create a summer campaign because that’s what’s expected and what we have been doing since summer vacations were invented.
I suggest we turn the concept of a summer* campaign on its head. (* spring, fall, winter)
It’s not necessarily a radical approach when you really think about it.
As sophisticated hoteliers, we have data everywhere. As an example, we know:
- The guest name
- Where they live
- When they book
- How long they stay
- How much they spend
- Visits to spa, golf, dining and other activities
- How often they visit
- The channel they book
- Their credit card of choice
So, at the very least, you have what I would call the basics. And it’s a great place to start.
Multiply this data by all the guests that have stayed with you over the past few years. Hopefully, your records go back several years. This is your active database. You collect guest data from all key touch points. If you are lucky they have opted in to receive information on your property.You are sitting atop a gold mine.
Let’s create a scenario. Mr. and Mrs. Seymour Profit visit your property 2 times every winter because they enjoy cross country skiing. They are in your database. They live a 3 hour drive away. Fast forward. Your Summer Family Special is emailed to your entire database because it’s your Summer Family Special. It has a great rate and kids eat free. You blast your past guests with this Summer Family Special.
You may give your Summer Family Special a fancy marketing name but it’s what we call Spray and Pray. There is no defined strategy and clearly no targeted focus behind this promotion, other than summer is coming. There is no benefit to Mr. & Mrs. Seymour Profit, who have no kids and only visit in winter. You may perceive it as a great offer but meaningless without relevance and good timing. In fact, you have probably upset Mr. & Mrs. Seymour Profit because they feel you really don’t know them and they now have you in their Junk Mail folder. Goodbye Seymour Profit.
This illustrates a one way communication path reminiscent of the 1980’s. More importantly you have valuable data, but not gaining insight from it. Correct analysis of basic data provides wisdom to create relevant, well targeted promotions that will provide a higher ROI. Highly personalized, relevant and timely. You have rich data that assists in extending the customer life cycle. It enhances engagement. You can begin or expand the conversation with your guests on their needs. This is not new. I remember successfully working on these types of models several years ago with hospitality and DMO clients. Baby steps, leading to more sophisticated modeling.
What you have is powerful. More powerful than the dollars OTA’s spend on search. You own the customer relationship built on all the data that an OTA does not have. You know the guests likes and dislikes.
Einstein said “We should take care not to make the intellect our god: it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.”
OTA’s may have intellectual transactional data but you have powerful insights into the behaviors and characteristics of your guests. You have the ability to learn more about your guest than any OTA.
You have the power, use it wisely. And Seymour Profit will become a very good friend and frequent visitor.