Why Audience Strategy is the Key to Hoteliers Competing with OTAs
By Danielle Gonzalez, VP, Hospitality at IgnitionOne
This poses the question, how does the launch of Google's Hotel Ads integration present the opportunity for travel and hospitality brands to gain a competitive edge against online travel agencies (OTAs)? OTAs are early adopters of audience-targeting practices, so suppliers need to move faster to protect their share of the market. While OTAs have a deep arsenal of targeting and tools, the key asset they won't be able to reach into is clear - a hotel's first-party data. Effectively leveraging that data to inform campaign structure and most importantly power the guest experience in Hotel Ads is guaranteed to result in even greater improvements in channel performance. Here are some tips that will prime travel and hospitality brands for success.
Know the Hotel Ads Audience Offerings
There are three (3) key applications available for audiences in Hotel Ads: 1) Bid Multipliers, 2) Fenced Rates, and 3) Qualified Rates. Through Bid Multipliers, advertisers can bid up to 2x at the audience level. Fenced Rates provide the ability to customize prices based on audience segment. Qualified Rates enable the promotion of discounts without having to display the price itself.
Take Inventory of Your First-party Data Assets
First-party data doesn't just come from CRM. There are many shapes, sizes, and flavors - website visitation data, loyalty program data, outbound email prospecting, recent booking data, and mobile app data to name a few. Each of these come with varying levels of freshness, recency, time lags-to-execution, and all which lead to varying applications. For example, known guest profiles can be used to tailor members-only type offers and amenities, while bid multipliers can be maxed out against anonymous site visitors who abandoned the booking process.
Adapt Your First-party Data Use Across the Conversion Funnel
Marketing has always been the perfect harmony of art and science; a space where creative thinking can easily be adapted to data application. First-party data can be easily manipulated to meet all stages of the funnel from awareness, purchase, upselling, to retention using a variety of Google's built-in audience features - lookalike, customer match, and RLSA depending on what you're trying to accomplish. Using this data to bid discriminately across tactics makes outbidding OTAs possible at the most opportunistic moments.
Find the right partners.
Not everything needs to be built in-house. There are a plethora of technology and marketing partners out there that can enhance travel and hospitality existing teams to provide first-to-market access to Google alphas and betas, automate bid management or cutting-edge customer intelligence technologies that can stitch together disparate datasets.
Considering the OTAs reach, travel and hospitality brands need to constantly innovate and stay on top of trends, such as Google's Hotel Ads integration. But it takes agility, speed and a dedication to the guest to come out on top.
IgnitionOne’s leading Customer Intelligence Platform empowers marketers to find and engage their most valuable customers across channels using a data-driven approach. By focusing on cross-channel scoring and robust personalization, IgnitionOne’s technology provides real-time, actionable insights for smarter marketing decisions and omnichannel engagement to maximize overall results. IgnitionOne is one of the largest independent marketing technology companies in the world, currently scoring over 600 milliomoirn users monthly in 75 countries and powering more than $60 billion in revenue each year for leading brands, including General Motors, CenturyLink, La Quinta and Acer, as well as advertising agencies such as 360i, GroupM and Zenith Media.
For more information, please visit http://www.ignitionone.com or follow the company on Twitter @ignitionone.