An Introduction to Hotel Benchmarking
By Julia Pedrol, Creative Marketing Manager at The Hotels Network
Perhaps you’ve heard about hotel benchmarking but are not quite sure where to start. How do you define a compset? What kind of metrics can you compare? How should you go about interpreting the results? We’re going to dig a little deeper into all of these points but first, let’s think about why benchmarking your hotel’s performance makes a lot of sense.
This is particularly true in the hospitality industry. Whether your hotel brand has five-star luxury properties or serviced apartments, having accurate and reliable data, and knowing how to effectively use it, is key to developing a successful hotel revenue strategy. And benchmarking tools provide some of the most valuable insights you will find.
Hotel benchmarking allows you to not only monitor your hotel’s own performance but to understand how it compares to the market. It enables you to pinpoint your brand’s strengths and identify areas where you need to improve, providing a clear understanding of your positioning and how you set yourself apart from your competitors. However, it may not always be obvious where to start. And that is exactly why today I wanted to take you through the five steps to master the basics of hotel benchmarking.
1. Know who you are comparing against
Understanding who is your competition is the first step to outperforming them. Hoteliers sometimes limit themselves by comparing their performance to who they consider their direct competitors, these being similar hotels in the same destination or from the same brand.
In the world we live in today, it is worthwhile to look beyond the traditional idea of a compset to benchmark your hotel and consider dynamic compsets. At THN we believe that you can learn from hotels all around the world in order to understand more about the performance of your property. For example, there is a major learning opportunity to be able to compare your results to properties in an entirely different part of the world but who have a similar profile and get a similar amount of website bookings. By doing so, hoteliers are able to move from a purely competitive mindset to a learning mindset, allowing for much richer insights and findings.
2. Identify the relevant metrics
Having access to hotel metrics and data is extremely beneficial, but knowing which ones to focus on is key. As a hotelier, it’s important to analyze and compare those metrics that are most relevant to your hotel’s strategy, and be aware of their evolution over time. Traditionally, hoteliers think of occupancy and ADR as the main metrics when it comes to hotel benchmarking whereas there are many more performance indicators that can be evaluated, from your hotel’s online reputation to the frequency of price disparities.
One interesting area to dive into that is not always top-of-mind is your direct channel performance. Comparing metrics such as total website conversion or booking engine conversion will provide you with a clear picture of your hotel’s performance along every step of the booking funnel. What’s more, these benchmarking analytics give you a view of 100% of your direct channel, not just the 2-3% of website traffic that’s converting.
3. Deep dive into your data
With the move from static monthly PDF reports to interactive benchmarking platforms, there’s no limit to how you can slice and dice the data, and all this in real-time. Drilling down on your hotel’s benchmarking data by search dates, travel party or even traffic source is extremely powerful to gain a more detailed understanding of your hotel’s strengths and weaknesses.
Need an example of where to start? Using your benchmarking tool, consider filtering the average length of stay for direct bookings at your hotel for a specific visitor location: UK. This filter is helpful for checking how long your UK guests are staying at your hotel and comparing it to your compsets. These types of granular insights provide a more realistic view of your property’s situation, allowing you to pinpoint exactly where your marketing efforts and approach need to be adjusted to boost revenue.
4. Compare against past periods
The concept of benchmarking is based on the idea of comparing results, and these can be compared against a previous time period to get a better understanding of the results in context, and to see what changes worked and what may not have worked for your brand, helping with forecasting future results.
However, relying solely on historical data can be irrelevant, especially in current times when past years are not representative of what could be expected. It’s important to look at other data sets in order to get a more appropriate view of your comparative data. Evaluating this week’s performance to last week’s, for example.
5. From benchmarking to action
Once you have identified the metrics where the difference between your results and your compsets is significant, it's important to look for ways to improve them. But don’t just tackle the ones where your results are low. You should also spot where you are outperforming others to be able to exploit growth opportunities and look for new revenue-generating ideas.
As always, it’s a continuous cycle and so once you have made changes based on the benchmarking insights, it’s interesting to monitor the evolution over time to see how these actions impact future results.
Getting started with hotel benchmarking
Luckily, within the hospitality industry, there are various benchmarking tools available to choose from, depending on the area of your business that you want to focus on.
At The Hotels Network, we’ve recently launched BenchDirect – the first benchmarking platform specifically for your hotel’s direct channel. Taking a completely new approach, BenchDirect provides real-time insights for you to understand your hotel’s direct channel performance compared to the market and competition. And the best part? It’s free for hoteliers, forever. Request your free account today to join the 12,000+ hotels worldwide who are already benchdirecting...
Julia PedrolMore from Julia Pedrol
About The Hotels Network
Working with over 12,000 hotels around the globe, The Hotels Network offers clients a full-stack growth platform to power their direct channel. By leveraging a series of integrated tools and analytics, hotel brands can attract, engage and convert guests throughout the user journey.
In addition to price comparison, reviews summary and a full suite of personalization options, THN's Oraculo product harnesses machine learning techniques to predict user behavior and then automatically personalizes both the message and the offer for each user. The company's latest innovation, BenchDirect, is the first benchmarking product for the direct channel, providing hotels with never-before-seen competitive data that completely changes the rules of the game.
THN's mission is to improve the online booking experience, grow direct bookings and strengthen the relationship between hotel brands and their guests.