Utilizing PMS technology to bolster your hotel’s marketing strategies
by PATTY JEFFERSON
The post-COVID holiday season is soon approaching. After the pandemic’s brutal effects on the hospitality industry, hoteliers may be eagerly awaiting the arrival of the holidays, but with the busiest weekend of travel since the pandemic began now behind us, the pressure for a hotelier to stand out only grows.
Marketing has certainly evolved in recent years, with the past year demonstrating a key jump in developing new strategies. Guest journeys have evolved, and online research, booking, and communication are now a normal process in choosing a hotel. With more hotels going digital, and more guests preferring it, it’s essential for hoteliers to bolster their digital marketing presence to grow revenue this holiday season. To understand increasingly complex digital marketing tactics, a hotel can look to its PMS provider for competitive marketing insights, whose revenue management, business intelligence, and guest communication features may bolster their ability to attract greater numbers of guests.
SHOW ME THE MONEY
Now more than ever, revenue management is critical to recover revenue lost during COVID. Some advanced PMS solutions can offer built-in revenue management, which can aid in developing marketing strategies. Marketing and revenue management go hand in hand. When choosing the best marketing strategy, hoteliers need to identify strategies tailored to their property(ies), and utilizing revenue management-based data can provide excellent insights, including average guest demographics, group size, length of stay, and purpose of booking. When utilizing this data, hoteliers can bolster their digital marketing strategy to tailor to their most profitable audience.
Hotels with a winning marketing strategy have a unique selling point, which often stems from competitive analysis. A key feature of revenue management solutions includes the ability to review reports on current, historical, and projected occupancy, and the ability to monitor competitor activity, including their own pricing and occupancy rates. If a hotelier’s pricing is more expensive than their competitors’, their marketing messaging can focus on quality, service, and luxury. If a hotelier’s rates are cheaper, they can push price and value as a core message.
MAKE AN ‘INTELLIGENCE’ DECISION
While revenue management gives hoteliers a full understanding of the current hospitality market, hoteliers must also understand their own property’s performance to make informed marketing decisions. Many property-management system (PMS) providers offer business-intelligence- reporting features, which work in tandem with revenue-management solutions to help hoteliers strengthen their marketing strategies.
By analyzing a hotel’s data, business intelligence features offer numerous status, summary, and forecasting reports. These tools help hoteliers identify trends, strengths, and hidden opportunities within a hotel by providing statistical recaps, which can serve as an alternative method of identifying a unique selling point for marketing strategies. This includes learning which room type is most popular and which features are most highly utilized as many new technological amenities are introduced.
An additional feature of business intelligence includes the ability to segment guest data for targeted marketing campaigns. A robust PMS provider can create smart profiles of guests, thus allowing hoteliers to develop marketing campaigns sorted by demographics, sources of business, frequency of stays, and more.
SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE
Marketing and branding often fall together, and when improving a hotelier’s marketing strategy, branding also must be considered. COVID-19 ushered in a new world of technological amenities. Guest messaging is one key feature whose popularity grew during COVID, equipping hoteliers with the ability to provide a seamless guest experience in a world with limited physical interactions. Hotel guests increasingly prefer these amenities, and many hoteliers have chosen to embrace guest messaging to promote a digital-forward branding strategy. Simple and tailored communications along the guest journey can positively impact the perception guests have of a hotel, and the right PMS provider will offer solutions to bolster a hotelier’s digital branding goals.
More advanced PMS solutions also can include automatic email and text communication abilities with guests. This includes the opportunity to welcome future guests prior to their stay, automatically sending an updated bill upon checkout, following up with a thank-you email with the opportunity to provide feedback, and sending special offers to previous guests.
Executing a successful digital marketing strategy, particularly now, is not easy. However, by utilizing a hotel’s PMS to coordinate revenue management, business intelligence, and guest communications, a hotelier can make informed digital marketing decisions and stand out from competitors in time for the holiday season.
Patty Jefferson serves as VP of Alliances and International Accounts for Visual Matrix, a PMS provider for hoteliers. With 13-plus years of experience managing national accounts, including service in the Louisiana Guard overseeing the planning, scheduling, and installation of IT networking capabilities, Patty has experience in leading technical, operational, and marketing teams.