When to Book? Looking at Guest Patterns
By Juston Parker President & CEO, Parker Hospitality Group, Inc. | June 15, 2010
The basics of Revenue Management begin far before the guest comes. As Warren Buffett stated, "Forecasting rain doesn't count, building arks does?"
When does a guest book? The answer most give is, "when they want to stay". The truth of the matter is they book when the time is right for them. Traditional marketing gets all the information in front of the guest and hopes that when the gust books they choose you! This shotgun approach leaves many properties unable to track true conversion on their efforts and wasting money on trying to get guests that never stay. By looking at true patterns, one can put the value product in front of the ideal guest at they time they are interested in booking, thereby creating an easy environment for the guest to book. In addition, since this guest is getting what they want, not only is conversion higher, but the ADR is as well.
So, how do you know when is the right time to get before your guest? The key is micro-segmentation of the guest profiles and searching out what they value.
Segmentation of the Guest
Traditional thought dictates that a guest segment falls under the same line items of the P&L. Corporate, leisure, group, SMERF, etc, are what the industry continues to see as segments. You really need to ask yourself a few questions about your guest to find out that their segment really is. What does my guest look like? What does my guest value? What do I have that is a value to a specific guest? These are all questions you need to answer in segmentation. Remember, "price is what you pay, value is what you get". The guest wants value, and value is not always about the price.
An example in segmentation is pet friendly hotels. There is an estimated $250 Million dollars spent yearly on pet related travel. If your property does not allow pets, are you going to advertise in "Dog Fancy" magazine? No! You don't have something that the pet bringer values. You want to target your best fit guest. Find out what you have of value and then market to the guest that values it. This is much easier and more cost effective than just looking for any guests!