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Power On Series: Using Data to Focus Your Marketing on Key Segments

 

This excerpt is from our recently published guide, Power On – Marketing for What’s Next. The complete guide offers actionable digital marketing strategies to prepare you for what’s next for hotels, resorts, & vacation rentals. You can check in daily for the next section or you can download the full version here.

We know this is a challenging time to be in the hospitality lodging industry and change is happening daily – if not hourly. Your world has been turned upside down in the short-term and uncertainty can certainly loom in the long-term. As a technology and digital marketing partner in this space, we’re also getting creative on how to get through this crisis while making sure we’re ready for the other side. 

We’re talking daily with clients in short-term rentals, resorts and lodges, and hotels that rely on us for their technology and digital marketing strategies. We’re implementing strategies for them that allow them to stay engaged with their audiences, yet focus their attention on the segments of their customer base that are likely to be the first to start planning travel again and get back to their properties for the long-awaited getaway. This series is meant to give you some creative, cost-effective ideas and strategies to keep the marketing engine prepared for travel’s return and preserve budget while honing in on a market segment.

In this series, we’re going to focus on the “drive-to” segment of your customer database and offer tips on how to use your data to market to them in a cost-effective manner. Our goal is to help you focus on the sections of the marketing funnel that make the most sense for your time and investment right now.

As you know, drive-to destinations are more popular than fly-to destinations in times of uncertainty. Travel is resilient and has a history of coming back in a strong way from a downturn. But, as with any industry, certain portions will come back first and faster and in this case, the “drive-to” segment is where we’re advising our clients to focus their efforts and available budget.

There is no way to predict when large gatherings, long-haul flights, and international travel experiences will once again become commonplace. But, the general feeling among hospitality travel experts such as Ali is that those will be the last segments to return.

In the meantime, there are millions of Americans who saw their getaways this Spring postponed due to quarantines and “stay-at-home” orders. Once these orders are lifted and life starts to find its new normal, prospective travelers will be ready to get out of their homes and plan an experience. 

Destination Analysts published their Travel Sentiment Index Report for the week of April 13th that included this question about what place people will visit first post-pandemic. As you can see, road trip destinations top the list

 

We feel now is the time to make sure you’re preparing yourself for what comes next – the fast and swift return of travel. Now is the time to start shifting your mindset around a more data-driven, targeted approach to finding your most profitable guests.

Using Your Data

A continuing theme throughout this series will be a data-driven approach to targeting the customers that are most likely to be the first to book. Not only was this a good approach two months ago, but 

it’s even more important right now as it will help you keep marketing with a small budget.

As an example, your Google Analytics account is a treasure trove of data that will help you understand not only where your traffic is coming from but, if set up correctly, where your conversions and bookings are coming from as well. 

You can very clearly see in this example that this company, located in southern Louisiana, knows geographically from where their highest traffic and bookings are coming. They should instantly focus their ad budgets on these drive-to areas and not try to blanket states right now that don’t typically drive the most bookings.

Are you currently doing Google PPC? How about researching destinations where you’re getting your highest click-through rates paired with your lowest CPC. This example is from a property in Texas who is migrating their entire spend right now to only Texas.

 

Lastly, your CRM should be another go-to place to understand your data. The screenshot below, from our TRACK CRM demo account, is an example of how a CRM should help isolate your top targets.

Within your CRM is valuable customer data that can also be exported to fuel marketing campaigns across Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. But, more on that in an upcoming post. If you look closely at the Sales columns you can see that Tennessee, Kentucky, and South Carolina would be viable target regions for this customer based on revenue and bookings the first few weeks of March.

In the next installment of this Power On series, we’ll dive into the marketing funnel and how your typical traveler personas have changed in the short term.

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