Data in the tourism sector

Chances are your business is already collecting an array of data. Whether offline or through your online presence, if you have a website or social media presence, you can collect data on customers, their behaviour, preferences, experiences and so on.

Here is a list by Openkey (2019) of specific guest data an accommodation provider may collect on a regular basis:

  1. Contact Information: e.g. phone numbers, email addresses, postal codes

    Contact details allow you to share information with your guests, be it on check-in/check-out procedures, amenities or dining options prior to their stay. Marketing and promotional messages can be disseminated through these channels pre, during and post-stay to create long-term relationships.

  2. Demographics: e.g. age, gender, country of origin, marital status

    Demographic information can facilitate more tailored marketing and direct recommendations at front desk. The leisure activities sought after by different demographic groups may vary greatly, consider a person in their 20s, a family with young children, or a retired couple. Demographics also give you a good indication of who your core customers are, which in turn should inform your overall branding.

  3. Reason for the Stay: e.g. business, holiday, celebration

    This information can help you customise service offerings to improve the guest experience. Rooms may be decorated with flowers etc for a birthday stay. Personalised service can have an immense impact on long-term loyalty building. Again, tailored special offers may be sent out to guests in advance to increase the conversion rate.

  4. Social Profiles: e.g. social media likes

    Nowadays it is crucial that you monitor social media channels and record if your guests ‘like’ or ‘follow’ your hotel’s Facebook page or left any feedback on TripAdvisor. Social media insights can yield valuable demographic and behavioural guest information, which you can use to tailor marketing messages to past and future guests on their preferred channels.

  5. Booking Preferences: e.g. booking channel, method of payment for example travel agent, direct booking, online travel agency (OTA)

    Insights into how and where your guests booked their stay should inform your marketing strategy. E.g. if guests who book through a particular OTA are very profitable to you as they tend to stay longer and at a higher average daily rate (ADR), you might want to build stronger relationships with them, offer loyalty schemes and improve your ranking on that particular OTAs site.

  6. Past Booking History: e.g. booking frequency and pattern.

    Repeat customers are immensely valuable. Therefore, it is important to understand their booking behaviour. If a business guest stays for a few nights every month, you probably don’t need to offer discounted rates but rather focus on delivering service excellence such as complimentary drinks or personal notes to ensure they keep returning to your hotel.

  7. Ancillary Services: e.g. use of spa, gym, retail

    Data on which services or amenities your guests use during their stay can inform your marketing strategy. Guests that have used the spa in the past might be sent a spa offer to incentivise another stay.

  8. Service Preferences: e.g. extra towels, pillows etc.

    Noting special requests is a guaranteed way to impress your guests during their next stay. Attentiveness to their personal preferences can drive guest satisfaction, recommendations and return visits.

  9. Loyalty Program Status: e.g. hotel groups, airlines

    Loyalty programs offer an immense amount of continuous data which can help you understand how your guests spend their money.

All these data are ‘data points’ - a discrete piece of information or single fact, that can be quantified and viewed.

You might collect information in a database or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system - these systems will contain many different data points which need to be recorded regularly and organised effectively.

Guests will expect you to be transparent about the data you collect on them and how you intend to use it - make sure they know how to opt out of any data collection.

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This article is from the free online course:

Understanding Data in the Tourism Industry

Edinburgh Napier University