As leisure and even group travel begins to rebound en masse, from shifting markets to changes in consumer privacy, there’s simply no denying the extent to which the pandemic has transformed the hospitality industry. Major shifts in guest expectations and the role of digitization are unmissable when it comes to preparing for future success.
To understand who your guests are and what they want, it’s important to unify your first-party data and build on those insights. However, when that data is trapped in disjointed tech stacks that don’t speak to each other, those insights remain hidden from the teams they can help the most: marketing, ecommerce, and revenue. That’s because each of these teams typically operates in its own silo, with marketing handling top-of-funnel acquisition activities like targeted advertising campaigns, e-commerce focused on your website experience and direct channel messaging, and pricing and Accounting engine experience of revenue.
When you align marketing, ecommerce, and revenue systems and goals, these teams can work together to develop a compelling strategy across all channels and guest touchpoints. If these functions remain fragmented, each stage of the booking journey will be handled by a separate team with incomplete information, resulting in reduced revenue and a subpar guest experience.
Aligning goals and processes is difficult, but worth it
Strategically, data and process silos expand different departments within the funnel—each group optimizing their own part without understanding how those decisions impact other departments and their goals.
For example, marketers are generally encouraged to drive a high volume of traffic to the website, so they spend their time finding new ways to get more visits. Ecommerce leaders are encouraged to increase on-site conversion rate, so they work with technology to sell more dynamically and drive discounts. And revenue professionals are encouraged to protect ADR, manage inventory, and protect channel parity, so their booking engine tools are built around these capabilities.
Without proper alignment between teams, marketing could boost traffic from low-quality visitors and decrease conversion rate (CVR), which then causes e-commerce to respond with aggressive discounts to help CVR recover . As a result, Revenue increases rates to protect ADR, thereby negating the viability of any discounts offered. In this all too common example, each department protects its own interests and in turn works against the overall efforts of the organization. The lesson here is that incentivizing different teams with different metrics leads to inefficiencies and missed opportunities. The only way to prevent this is for all teams to work within a unified, centralized strategy with aligned goals. As a consultant told me long ago, “Be careful what you incite, because you will get it!”
The integration of systems is more exciting than it sounds
One of the main sources of the problem is the problem of data discrepancies. While it is very common for different departments to have their own technical products, reporting requirements and data conventions, it is also very common that these products are not integrated with each other. Even problems that may seem trivial at first glance, such as B. Formatting differences in CSV exports can lead to recurring errors, delays and blind spots in data.
Digging deeper into the issue, discrepancies in the way two vendors calculate conversion rates, define their AB test parameters, or even associate a site listing can lead to a lot of confusion and teams within the organization inadvertently competing against each other work.
Simply put, the more vendors and programs you use in the booking funnel, the more records you need to go through to determine the best course of action for the business. Vendors have a very real incentive to shape data in a way that makes their respective products appear successful. When these vendors set their own metrics, you can see how different conclusions can lead to inefficiencies that result in extra work and missed goals. The ideal situation is to ensure full integration of all systems within the booking funnel, updated with real-time data and viewable by all concerned departments within the hotel organization.
Unifying your data provides a common frame of reference
When you have diverse stakeholders owning segmented parts of the booking funnel, and numerous vendors skew the data by driving the metrics they care about, it creates significant gaps that lead to duplication, ineffective campaigns, and an incomplete picture. This lack of coherent and actionable data interferes with the information you need to make good decisions and makes it difficult to impossible to set and measure overall goals.
The only way to achieve true automation and streamline processes is to take control of your digital ecosystem by unifying your data and aligning your goals. This includes a centralized strategy that involves members from each department who are not motivated by their unique part of the funnel but by the success of the entire direct channel.
As you align your goals, set up regular cross-functional meetings where marketing, e-commerce, and sales actively collaborate and coordinate. Look at factors like volume and traffic on a monthly basis, which can shed light on how rooms are being marketed on your site versus other channels, and which tactics make the most sense across the funnel and are being coordinated by all stakeholders rather than separate teams.
Effectively managing your data requires internal standards for key metrics such as conversion rates and costs of acquisitions, conversions, etc. By creating these standards within your own team and asking your vendors to align themselves with the appropriate mapping, you are well on your way to Get consistent and usable data that enables your teams to make good decisions based on consistent data.
Build your data ecosystem and choose the right partner
Hospitality tech has come a long way in the past few years, but with so many different platforms, vendors, and metrics to consider, it’s important to do your homework before investing, as not all solutions are hospitality-centric are useful. This is why it is so important to partner with technology providers who understand the industry and create holistic, fully integrated digital ecosystems that support the health of all your channels. Once this level of data unification and transparency is achieved, you can further align goals across your business while providing your guests with the most seamless brand experience possible.
Cendyn is a catalyst for digital transformation in the hospitality industry. We help hotels around the world increase profitability and guest retention through an integrated technology platform that aligns revenue, e-commerce, sales, marketing and sales teams with centralized data, applications and analytics to capture more demand and can accelerate growth. With offices around the world in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Singapore, Bangkok and India, Cendyn serves tens of thousands of customers in 143 countries. To learn more, visit www.cendyn.com