SEATTLE—Marketing is a pivotal part of hotel operations, but developing the best strategy and creating the right marketing pushes can be a struggle for many properties. Expedia Group aims to make that process a little easier with the global availability of Guest Insights, a new tool that’s designed to help hotel partners better understand the travel motivations and booking behaviors of guests and potential guests. Guest Insights is part of Expedia Group’s Partner Central suite of offerings.
“Having a holistic understanding of traveler motivations and booking behaviors can provide hotels a winning edge in a competitive marketplace,” said Benoit Jolin, VP of product management and design, Lodging Partner Services, Expedia Group. “Having insight into where your guests come from or what types of trips they book for not only your property, but also your competitive set, will allow you to better identify booking patterns and, in turn, recognize opportunities. Having these insights also helps partners target specific guest profiles with a more tailored strategy, ultimately converting the right travelers through the right offers.”
With the Guest Insights tool, Expedia Group aims to help solve challenges hoteliers frequently encounter. “Working closely with our lodging partners, a common theme we heard was that while they acknowledge the importance of understanding their guests’ motivations and booking behaviors, they lacked the appropriate tools to help them easily access this information for their own properties,” Jolin said. “Partners, in general, typically also have limited access to data and useful insights for their market, leading to a narrow understanding of traveler booking patterns. This, in turn, limits their ability to produce comprehensive, informed strategies.”
The tool offers key insights, including information on where guests are coming from, average length of stay and average cancellation rates. Hoteliers can filter data by country of origin or region, and through an integrated recommendation engine, receive custom, targeted suggestions related to marketing strategies. Data is refreshed in near real time for up-to-date reporting. Expedia Group’s Partner Central Guest Insights is now available in 27 languages to partners in nearly 200 countries and territories around the world.
“It’s about giving our lodging partners quick access to key traveler data that is always up to date, so they can develop a holistic understanding of guests’ travel motivations and booking behaviors,” he said. “Armed with these insights, they can then create more complete—and tailored—strategies to convert travelers.”
When developing the tool, Expedia Group kept key philosophies in mind. “Our lodging partners have complex and unique challenges, and it remains at our core to deeply understand these complexities and put our technology expertise to work for them, bringing them tested and proven solutions that impact their bottom line,” Jolin said. “By listening to our partners and involving them into the product design process, we were able to leverage our technology and first-party data to build a straightforward solution that provides them with quick and simple access to data and demand patterns to help them better power their performance.”
This global launch follows a pilot program with hotel partners in several global markets. According to Jolin, “There were two key learnings that came out of the global roll out:
• While our lodging partners loved the tool, they had trouble finding our information. We incorporated their feedback into the redesigned version to simplify and help with discovery.
• The first version of the tool did not have customized recommendations. However, as we tested the tool, we learned that our lodging partners wanted more in-depth and personalized guidance on how to maximize opportunities based on Guest Insights. That is why you see a recommendation engine in the version available today.”
This recommendation engine is straightforward for hotels to use. “Through a built-in recommendation engine, our lodging partners receive custom suggestions based on the data detailed in their analytics report, including targeting opportunities and promotion recommendations based on region,” Jolin said. “Marketing solutions are also offered as part of the tool to help partners recognize opportunities, build targeted, insights-led campaigns across different markets and strategically target travelers with the right offers.”
Jolin stressed the importance of the ability to utilize the data. “Data-driven insights and analytics give hoteliers what they need to improve the booking process and drive higher occupancy, ADR and RevPAR,” he said. “Making pricing and strategy decisions is easier when hotels have market data and traveler insights to back them up and help them set the right strategies that will convert travelers.
“Driving deeper knowledge into the behaviors and patterns of travelers can help hoteliers grow their business,” he continued. “Additionally, it enables our lodging partners to engage with their guests at the right time, in the right way, with the right information. Our lodging partners are always looking for more data, insight and tools that will help them improve on driving revenue, operating more efficiently and improving on the customer experience, and Guest Insights is just one way to support this. We’re committed, through our technology offerings, to provide our lodging partners with the data, insights and control they need to exceed guest expectations and business goals.” HB