Is your hospitality company taking full advantage of the data you collect? According to a recent study, the answer to that question is probably no. And you’re probably also missing out on a great opportunity for marketing.
The study, Digital Trends in the Travel and Hospitality Sector, surveyed 170 executives in the travel and hospitality sectors about their digital strategies. When asked about the area where they felt their organization lacked skills, data was cited most often.
Interestingly, when asked what skills they plan to focus on the most over the next year, data wasn’t the top pick—customer experience was. In fact, data didn’t even crack the top three. That’s a problem, because without good data, you can’t create meaningful customer experiences.
The Problem with Data
In the past, data was something that marketers were always clamoring to get more of. They got their wish in the form of real-time analytics for everything—websites, emails, social media and targeted marketing campaigns. And it was too much. Companies use just 12% of the data they collect. Big Data got too big, and no one knew what to do with all of it.
Hospitality and travel businesses collect a lot of information. You know where your users are coming from, where they want to go, what they want to do, and their preferences, just to name a few data points. It can be overwhelming to package all of those metrics in a way that will help you to create actionable insights, but here’s why you should: customer experiences are the lifeblood of your industry, and you can use that data to create better ones.
5 Ways Data Can Help You Put Customers First
1. Deliver targeted messages.
Whether you’re marketing on Google, Facebook or on your own website, you want to get the right message in front of the right person. Your analytics can help you to identify patterns in your customers, which you can then use to tailor your marketing. If you find you’re losing a lot of first-time visitors, it can be as simple as using AddThis Website Marketing Tools to offer them a discount. If you have noticed specific age groups, genders or geographic locations that account for more customers, you can run a Facebook Newsfeed ad targeting them.
2. Streamline the purchase process.
Where are you losing customers on the path to purchase? Maybe you’re asking for too much information. Maybe the process is too complicated. Maybe your purchase pages are too cluttered. Your website analytics can help you to identify weak points in your conversion funnel. Then, you can A/B test tweaks to the process to help you to create an experience that converts visitors into customers.
3. Deliver impeccable customer service.
As a business, you’re likely going to deal with customer feedback both good and bad. And you’re going to have to deal with it wherever it happens. The days of a 1-800 number or a website contact form are long gone. You need those, sure, but you also need to be social listening with both ears. Social media mentions are metrics like anything else, and how you respond isn’t going to be seen by just one customer—it will be seen by their friends, fans and followers as well. And hopefully it will only go viral if it’s a good experience. The same goes for review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor.
4. Be strategic about follow-ups.
When someone gives you their business, they also give you a way to contact them with future marketing messages. That’s where your email marketing comes in. Follow-up surveys requesting feedback are a great way to make sure you’re delivering a great customer experience. Email marketing is also a great way to deliver relevant content. For example, if you’re running a Labor Day special, notify everyone on your list who has taken advantage of past Labor Day specials.
5. Build personalized experiences.
The more you know about your customers, the more you can personalize their experiences with you. If you run a hotel, this could be as simple as remembering their preferences for their next stay, or as complicated as serving them a homepage welcoming them back, and offering deals and content they’ll be interested in based on past purchases. Even the smallest bit of personalization will make a customer feel like a valued customer.
If your business struggles with how to analyze and use data, don’t put it on the backburner. It’s one of the best tools you have at your disposal for measuring what’s working, what isn’t, and what you can do better. Understanding your customers better will help you to create relevant, valuable experiences for them. If you do that, you can count on them to do your marketing for you, both online and off.