As Australia welcomes 2024, our vibrant local hospitality and accommodation continues to take advantage of peak season, and the surge of guests and tourists making the most of their holiday breaks.
An increase in guests brings an increase in revenue; incredibly timely after a year defined by cost-of-living pressures. But it isn’t just short-term revenue that operators should be thinking about this summer.
The real value of having their venue fully booked during peak season means more approved guest data.
As the saying goes, data is the new king. When guests make a reservation or place an order they share – if they consent – approved data with a venue. This peak season operators should take advantage of that data, which presents many opportunities to drive revenue.
Their focus this peak season, therefore, shouldn’t just be ensuring their reservations are full during the last few weeks of peak season, but ensuring they collect approved data and use it to improve decision-making, marketing strategies, guest experience, and loyalty programs all year round.
In fact, SevenRooms research found that almost half (43 percent) of Australians would be willing to proactively share their personal data in exchange for enhanced customer experiences.
So that brings us to the how; how should hospitality and accommodation businesses collect, then maximise, data during the last weeks of the peak season?
Only approved guest data
With weeks left before peak season ends, there is still ample opportunity for hotels, cafes, bars, and restaurants to collect data now and benefit long-term.
Whether through direct reservations made through their websites, or online orders, or payment via QR codes, operators can automatically collect guest-approved data and utilise it accordingly. Through it, venues can understand more about their customers like their allergies, dietary preferences, and special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries. Through this, venues can provide better customer service and personalised experiences, which can, in turn, improve revenue.
However, venues should keep in mind that they can only collect data with explicit consent from guests and should provide options for them to “opt-out” of data collection.
Make the most of your assets
Now more than ever Australians want ‘bang for their buck’. In fact, SevenRooms research found that, due to economic pressures, two in three (68 percent) Australians are focused more on the quality than the quantity of their dining experiences. By making the most of the data at hand, hotels and other hospitality venues can get an understanding of their guests’ unique habits and preferences, which enables them to improve guest experience, entice loyalty, and, of course, boost revenue for their business.
By analysing the data, operators can identify who among their guests is willing to spend big on a special meal or experience, who loves Italian cuisine, or who is allergic to prawns. They can then use this information, which they should be collecting during peak season, to create personalised, automated marketing campaigns. Then, they can send relevant emails to every guest; whether about a special evening with the chef, a new Italian special or leave them off the shellfish list.
Sending the right messages to the right target audience is crucial in every business, especially in the hospitality industry.
It’s not just food preferences that venues can leverage – they can also use special occasions to personalise their approach and entice guests to make reservations. Sending a birthday message or offering an anniversary discount can incentivise guests to book, but can only be done with insights on when special occasions fall for every guest.
By using guest experience platforms, operators in the hospitality and accommodation industry can collect approved data and create unique, tailor-made marketing strategies and memorable experiences, fostering loyalty and boosting revenue.
Enhancing business operations through data
Data isn’t just about improving guest experiences; it can also optimise operational efficiency. By analysing data, operators can optimise seating plans, reduce turn times, and maximise venue capacity. For instance, adjusting reservation slots based on actual data, rather than intuition, can increase capacity and revenue. Case in point, if a restaurant has two-hour reservation slots, but based on their data the average guest stay is only one hour ten minutes, then they can change their reservation slots to 90 minutes. This would lead to more reservation and revenue.
Data also enables operators to identify the most effective booking channels, manage inventory to reduce food waste and optimise staff rosters based on reservations. Through these insights – all of which can be sourced through data – venues can enhance their operations as well as their experience, ultimately boosting incremental revenue all year-round.
While the peak season brings undeniable excitement and opportunities, venues should view it as more than a short-term gain.
By collecting and utilising approved guest data, operators can formulate marketing and guest experience strategies that build lasting relationships, incentivise loyalty, and boost revenue throughout the year ahead.
By Paul Hadida, General Manager, APAC at SevenRooms, a data-driven guest experience and retention platform for the hospitality industry