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Never underestimate the value of your data

We live in a competitive world. Advertising is powerful, but data is ‘gold’ in providing opportunities to market and sell our business direct to our target audience.

If nothing else, 2020 has taught us not to take anything for granted, and to seize every opportunity we can to make the most of the business we can secure. 

The travel industry has clearly been hit hard with restrictions, limiting both international and domestic travel. As Domestic opportunities now begin to open up, your data provides a qualified target to market your business.

The value of data is not underestimated by the power players.

Take for example the current advertising campaign being driven by Flight Centre in conjunction with Australian Tourism. You may have already seen their “wake up” advertising campaign that specifically pairs Australian travellers and Australian destinations.  

In addition to the media campaign, they are also directly targeting their extensive customer database to pitch local. 

As an online agent, this database is made up of hundreds of thousands of bookings, some of which may have been at YOUR property.

Accommodation properties can amass a huge database of guests themselves, and this is ideal when looking to target future business. With the value of data a given, clearly your best option is to hold and own your own database.

There is a tendency for providers to capture data on your behalf, and hence have control over its future use. Be cautious of this.

For starters, no-one would willingly hand over gold.

Don’t give ownership of your valuable data to anyone. Don’t allow them to collect it on a shared marketing database, such as a shared Mailchimp account, where you don’t know how it is used. If your marketing company needs access to your Mailchimp account, you can provide it, of course.  Set the right parameters of use, and make sure it remains your property.

Secondly, be aware that Privacy Laws regulate data usage strictly. The onus is on you to get the correct permissions to share data with other companies. If you do use a marketing database provided by a 3rd party, you run the risk of them misusing it, but retain the liability for this misuse yourself.

Holding your data in your own PMS is of course a huge benefit, safely under ‘lock and key’, on the proviso that your PMS has the capability to run its own marketing campaigns.

Remember that multiple years of booking data and guest contacts is a very valuable resource for your business. It provides you with a qualified target audience for future campaigns. Don’t do anything that will cause you to lose it, and most importantly, don’t give it away!

Sylvia Johnston

Sylvia is a Senior Executive at HiRUM Software Solutions, which has become one of the global leaders in hotel software, helping hotel and accommodation managers with a complete hotel software solution.

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