What is guest data?
The tourism and travel industry is a dynamic one. We all agree to this. It is not only the number of people who have more access to travel services, it is the variety of people (old people, young university students, retirees, single parents, large families etc). One customer is different from another.
The sheer volume of customer profiles scares most vacation rental owners, and they base their business strategy (such as prices, rates) purely on guess work. This is as good as throwing darts in the dark, and hoping that the darts stick to the center of the board.
This is exactly why guest data is important. If we know who our customer is, we can be better prepared to serve them, and mostly we would know what to serve them with. This is power of guest data. The silly thing about guest data is, there’s so much data available for free, only if you look for it. Let’s look at a few forms of guest data you can mine using the internet.
Google search: nearly 70% of web traffic comes from Google. We can’t change that, but we can use it to our advantage. Consider doing a keyword or key phrase search for vacation rentals in your locality. If you scroll all the way down on the Google search page, you get to see similar search terms.
Social media: if we just search for certain keywords on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, we will see the top trending content created and shared by properties and most importantly, by guests. People love to post photos and videos, and they always use hashtags to define their experience.
Phone calls: got a booking from a guest. Call to thank them on the phone, make them feel special. And while your service executive is on the call, ask a few questions about what services they would like. If we ask guests what they want, they will always tell us.
Booking info: Received a booking for a family of four with two children? Verify the ages of the children, dig deeper to see if they are visiting for an occasion (birthday, picnic, local event etc).
Past reviews and ratings: dig into your own reviews and ratings. This tells you what you have delivered and where you need to improve.
How guest data can influence your service delivery?
Customer profiling and grouping: the more information we collect about guests, the sooner we can define the guest. The service requirements for business travelers are very different to the ones demanded by a couple. Guest data collection helps you with creating a ton of customer profiles. This learnings can then be applied in your marketing emails, social media posts, and most importantly in your property descriptions and on the website.
Takes out guess-work: Any decision led by data is immediately better than plain old guess work. Either you do the data mining and assessment yourself or hire an agency to do it, data always puts you a step ahead than your competitors.
Learn what services to include: Google trends, social media analysis are sitting gold mines, waiting to be tapped. Make a list of all the relevant keywords and phrases, reviews and ratings and use them in your property descriptions and on your website. Give Google and social media sites a chance to find your property content or site easily, that way you sell more rooms.
Learn to price better: finally, the truth about guests is that not all of them have the same paying power. So, it’s only fair to charge what the guest is willing to pay. Guest profiling allows you to assess who your customer is, and accordingly you should experiment with dynamic prices and see if they are willing to pay a little more. Let me give you an example; if there is a massive local event and your town or city is expecting a lot of travelers, you should be able to charge a premium price.
Today there are many big data and artificial intelligence solutions catered to vacation rental businesses. The services are designed to crunch data and give you, the owner a precise perspective about who you are serving. If you have questions about how to optimize your property and achieve higher revenue, please let us know in the comments section.