Can we manage the consumer journey?
By Paul King
consumer is doing, and ensures that their revenue management strategy is aligned so that every opportunity is captured whilst engaging with the consumer at every touch point.
It isimportant to know, regardless of which channel they book… who is your consumer, what are their needs, what are their habits, what is their incremental spend? Do you have measures in place to track and report on this effectively?
in terms of how they book, and are erratic in terms of the device that they use to book. The way in which the consumer researches, and the amount of choice that they have to aid this process is also presenting hoteliers with many challenges in controlling their business in a consistent and profitable manner; customer segmentation is therefore a challenge. This is where as hoteliers we can become SMARTER at selling rooms. We all know that the consumer journey starts with research before booking - whether on a map search, review site, brand.com or social media. This is where we need to understand what they are using; PC, tablet, mobile. And then understand when they are doing this… before, during, after work – regardless, the way in which the consumer researches is dependent on them, their ME time – it does not however mean that how they start their journey is necessarily where they will end up booking.
What - As a hotelier, we need to ensure that our content is consistent, andsupported on all devices – PC, mobile and tablet. If we make it difficult, the consumer will go somewhere that makes it easy, this could be a competitor, or another channel. Is your website and booking engine agnostic – meaning, does it matter what device is being used to view the content?
When - Ensure you have your best value offers out there as soon as possible;capture the consumer when they first look. If you are considering releasing a promotion late in the day, it may be too late, that consumer may have already gone somewhere else. Use consumer habits to your advantage – use social media to stimulate the interest early in the day, i.e. "tune in at 5pm today for an offer of a lifetime," include the links to get the consumer straight to that promotion, make it easy to "share," so the consumer can help you reach a wider audience.
Consumers are not guests, as they can still change their mind; in fact 33% will change the hotelbooked based on social media research. Ensure the consumer understands the value they are getting with your hotel. Monitor cancellations and have a process in place to contact the guest, if possible, to understand the reason for the cancellation. If it was price related, then plan a retention process to negotiate the booking back when appropriate to do so (if demand is low). Look at value – what could you include that's important to the consumer – late checkout, a room upgrade – these do not cost the hotel anything verses breakfast, afternoon tea or spa treatments. Or think from a total revenue management perspective – how about a voucher for a percentage off dining in house? Be creative with your negotiation.
Now, how do we link this to the concept of revenue management… selling the right room, at the rightrate, to the right person, at the right time through the right channel? This links back to the consumer journey. A few things to consider:
- Review all of the touch points where the consumer can find your property, and then review how this looks on the various devices; content and images.
- Based on the offering, ask if the consumer can find the products that meet their needs and do they see the value in what is there?
The concepts of RM do not change, right rate at the right time based on product, service, customerreviews, demand, competition, and all of the other factors. The right room, the right person and right channel are based on marketing the hotel correctly, and being visible in the right places. Hoteliers then need to understand the profit generated from each consumer type. Evaluating this will assist in measuring which channels the hotel should be present on, the success of that channel and if the right price point was selected. These together will enable the hotelier to continue to acquire and engage with the consumer, convert into guests and retain them.
Paul King works on Sabre Hospitality's Revenue Management Consulting team asRegional Director of Revenue Management in EMEA.
About Sabre Corporation
Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR) is the leading technology provider to the global travel industry. Sabre's software, data, mobile and distribution solutions are used by hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotel properties to manage critical operations, including passenger and guest reservations, revenue management, flight, network and crew management. Sabre also operates a leading global travel marketplace, which processes more than US$120 billion of global travel spend annually by connecting travel buyers and suppliers. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world.