"Data, data, data!"

It’s starting to feel a little 'Marcia Brady' around here, isn’t it?

 

 

We all remember that iconic Brady Bunch moment, right? Well, if Jan Brady worked in marketing in 2017, she’d be saying something else: “Well all I hear all day long at work is how great data is at this or how wonderful data did that. Data, data, data!”

We all get the point: data is one of the most valuable currencies in today’s economy. But why? Because, as a vacation rental manager, your guest data is what gives you the information you need to send marketing messages that speak to your guests’ expectations, desires, and values. This sort of targeted, seemingly personalized messaging is one thing that gets guests to click the “Book Now” button.

Do you collect and keep any information about your guests? Diving into your data could yield a lot of critical information you could incorporate into marketing and ultimately grow your bookings. Here are 9 ways the data can give you a competitive edge:

“Best Customer” Profile

Do returning guests make up a good portion of your business? Knowing exactly why your properties are a perfect match for them can help you attract more travelers just like them. You may want to start by looking at basic demographic information like family size and distance traveled.

The Magic Price 

Certain customers have a distinct price point that they just won’t go past. Identifying the exact sweet spot of what travelers are willing to pay in the area could help you adjust pricing to attract specific guests at certain times of the year.

How Customers Really Find You

Understanding where customer traffic comes from can clarify what marketing gives you the greatest return on your investment and narrow your focus. For example: if a larger portion of your guests discovered your properties through a specific OTA and word of mouth, redirect your marketing efforts to those sources. Increase your pay-per-click ad spend or develop a compelling referral program.

Location, Location, Location

No, not your location–the location from which your customers are traveling. If you or your destination receive a substantial amount of guests from Lansing, Michigan, it could be advantageous to push more marketing resources into targeting those who live in Lansing, Michigan.

Employee Insights 

What can your employees tell you about your guests, especially ones on the front line? You may forget to question the very people who are most likely to notice traits about both new and returning guests from their daily interactions–traits that may well need to be added to the customer database.

Why People Like You (or Don’t)

If you keep up with and track customer reviews and add them to your database, they could let you know exactly why customers return to you or rated you a certain way. This is critical feedback you can incorporate into your marketing and operations.

Job Title

Some marketers feel that knowing a person’s job title is critical to how they approach them as potential customers. Do your guests have fancy, formal titles or not? Does your local economy attract people from certain industries on business trips who then extend their trip for fun? Tracking job titles could give you an extra edge in how you market by guiding the tone and style of the marketing messages you send.

Customer Interests

Does your database give you any insight into your customers’ personalities and interests? Do you book rooms for daredevils or family fun in the sun? Are your returning guests into exciting, adrenaline-filled activities or do they value privacy and relaxation? These distinctions can help you tweak your messages for groups of like-minded guests.

Seasonal Visitors

It’s a no-brainer that people like to go the beach in the summer and ski in the winter for vacation. Are there other pockets in the year where spikes in business occur? Are guests coming to local recurring events and gatherings? Increase your marketing efforts to earn bookings during non-seasonal strategic points of the year.

 

Jan Brady (and the rest of us) are tired of hearing about data, but it’s not going anywhere. Customer data is one of your most powerful tools, so make sure you’re collecting and recording specific, relevant information about your guests on a regular basis. If you already have data, dive in for some bedtime reading that could transform your marketing game!