Traveller Intent and Upper Funnel… Easily Explained!
Traditionally Hotel Revenue Managers used Business on the Books and Year on Year trends to predict how business was likely to perform in the future. For the past 12 months, these measurements have become less valid, as COVID-19 has halted travel almost completely. We all know there is pent up demand for when restrictions are lifted and we need to predict what the traveller behaviour is likely to be once travel resumes. More and more we are hearing these new buzz words:
“Upper Funnel”, “Forward Looking Data”, “Future Demand”, “Top of the Funnel Data”, “Traveller Intent”
But what do they mean? And how do they affect your property?
Revenue Management has always been – and will continue to be – about selling the right room to the right customer at the right price at the right time via the right distribution channel. These new terms are describing the data that many revenue managers are now using to try to predict demand, price accordingly and forecast as accurately as possible.
Essentially what it means is spotting the green shoots early, even before a reservation is made!
This can be done by looking at traveller behaviour by their search history. What are your customers searching? stay dates, room types, length of stay, number of occupants, mobile vs desktop, rate plans etc.? When you know these indicators, you can then predict buyer behaviour, build the correct rate strategy, market it and then analyse, adapt, analyse, adapt…………
So where is this data?
Several of your OTA’s and some Brand.com booking engines and Direct Booking Tools (like The Hotels Network) have this information available in their extranet. You need to analyse search behaviour/patterns for your property and for your location and build your strategy around this data.
We say this all the time but never have we meant more – Revenue Managers and Digital Marketing and Sales teams need to work side by side. Both teams have data that needs to be shared so you should be making joint decisions and applying your revenue strategy together. Make sure this is a collaborative effort as both teams will be able to offer a valuable insight into what searches are being made, where they are being made from and as a result, you will be able to identify and drive traffic based on rate plans, room types and the demographic that is searching.
Quite often at the moment teams can be short staffed or operation focused – if you need help to identify these search and booking behaviour trends our Revenue Consultancy team can help you with this.
Top Tips to Keep in Mind for the coming months
We are expecting Domestic Travel to be dominant this year so flexibility is going to be the driving force behind your sales – Advance Purchase Rates and Deposits will be deterrents to bookers
Review your Competitor Set
Neighbouring towns and cities are now your competition. Keeping your competitor set narrow to your local area may give you a false sense of the competition you are facing.
Don’t just shop your Standard Room types, ensure you are benchmarking your other room types too against your competitors such as Family rooms, Suites, Executive rooms etc… don’t undersell any room type!
If you are seeing an increase in demand for the summer months, ensure you sell to room type and are not displacing higher value room types with standard room sales.
If you are applying MLOS (minimum length of stay) and CTA (closed to arrive) restrictions, make sure customers can still book all-inclusive packages that make sense, for example, not everyone wants to book 5 nights DBB in your hotel – customers want flexibility!
Don’t forget to boost sales in ancillary departments – close out B&B rate plans at higher occupancy levels and allow DBB, Spa and Golf packages to remain bookable
Don’t forget to close out OTAs or place MLOS restrictions on them, leaving Brand.com as the main source of bookings.
Identify your demand drivers and shout about it. Make sure your website and Sales & Marketing plans are delivering the same message.
Analyse, Adapt, Analyse, Adapt
At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is to analyse your data consistently and tweak it regularly. The Rate Wise RMS reviews 365 days of data daily. It helps you spot green shoots early and allows you to review and amend your rates quickly to ensure you maximise your return on each room sold. Our Business Analytics tool gives you detailed analysis of the next 365 days as well as your historical performance – this tool can help you make smarter, more efficient decisions allowing you to adjust your strategy quickly.