Analytics for Hospitality: How to Harness Data from Online Orders & Bookings
Marketing analytics is complex enough for ecommerce businesses selling physical products. Add in hospitality’s particular wrinkles — “co-opetition” with third-party providers, perishable inventory, and distinct B2B and B2C audiences — and suddenly you’ve got the puzzle confronting our hotel and restaurant clients.
Fortunately, the answer to the question of how well you’re spending your marketing dollars lies in the data you’ve collected online. If you know how to leverage it, the data from your website and apps can:
- Surface how customers are finding you online
- Identify the different types of customers coming to your site
- Expose the intricacies of the ordering or booking process, as well as the friction points
- Uncover why sales are up or down
- Show you why Location X is performing better than Location Y
Unfortunately, there’s not a switch you can flip to track and synthesize whatever data points you want. Without the right tools and tactics to manage and interpret the online data you’re collecting, it’s meaningless. That’s where a digital measurement consulting firm comes in.
Analytics Solutions for Hotels and Restaurants
Analytics for Hotels
Hotels are old pros at selling online, of course, but not all have figured out how to happily co-exist with Online Travel Agents (OTAs) like Kayak, Priceline and our client Expedia. Just tracking direct online sales can be complicated by the presence of third-party booking engines like Sabre’s SynXis. We customized both Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics to help hotelier digital agency TIG Global account for orders occurring on separate domains for dozens of independent hotel clients using SynXis, revealing ROI on ads for the first time. Campaigns were sending traffic to the brand domain but orders occurred on another domain, requiring cross-domain tracking and shared Google Analytics Properties.
Analytics for Restaurants
Restaurants have also discovered that online ordering is necessary to supplement foot traffic and expand revenue. As outlets like Grubhub and Ubereats have come on the scene, top restaurants are offering online ordering on their own websites, which has led to sales boosts of 30% or more in a recent study. In this space, OLO is a leading player, powering the online ordering of clients like Taco Mac, &Pizza, and Schlotzsky’s. We are OLO’s preferred partner to help their restaurants customize analytics and ad tags via tag management tools like Google Tag Manager and Tealium.
For OLO customer Mellow Mushroom, the data we gleaned from Google Analytics revealed a serious deficiency in their global ordering process. The issue? Customers weren’t shown the option to simply order a pepperoni pizza. Forcing users to go through multiple extra steps, particularly on mobile devices, was enough to make some potential customers abandon the ordering process altogether. Armed with this data, Mellow Mushroom made a few simple adjustments to their online ordering process that ultimately led to a lift in sales.
Empirical Path is an indispensable partner for my creative agency, 3 Owl. Jim and his team are able to provide real ROI data that helps both my agency justify the results of great design and gives our restaurant clients invaluable insights into their customers purchase decisions.
Tracking Group Sales
Both hotels and restaurants often target consumers as well as groups, and while both segments need food and a good night’s rest, the customer types differ tremendously. For tracking group sales audiences there are many parallels with how we do it for our B2B Technology clients like TechSmith, PandaDoc and MailChimp. Typically, we thoroughly instrument the contact form and link each prospective customer’s online session data with the CRM record created when they complete a contact form. For restaurant chain Fado Irish Pubs we connected Google Analytics and Salesforce CRM so that the source and content generating leads passes to CRM, where management can give credit to the correct marketing efforts for private party and event bookings (Google Analytics 360 and Salesforce CRM now have a built-in integration).
And regardless of segment, when tables or beds are full, they can’t be sold. In the hotel field that leads to numerous data points that must be tracked but aren’t what traditional product ecommerce systems are used to. Fields like arrival and departure dates, ADR, occupancy rates and revPar are unique — and useful — to hospitality. For luxury hospitality agency AZDS, we helped to create 15 unique custom dimensions that describe customer reservations, including rate type, room type, upgrade applied, number of guests and more. These data points have helped to shape how various rooms and packages are featured throughout this hotels sites.
What your data should answer for you
So, data is messy and often unique to each business. Aggregating the data from hundreds of locations and across dozens of sites and apps is no simple task.
As a digital analytics consulting firm, we help businesses in the hospitality industry boil down data from multiple online sources — from email campaigns to mobile apps to website form completions — to shed light on brand performance at both a global and local scale. By auditing your analytics data and providing more reliable tracking that is ultimately surfaced as signals from your online orders, we can evaluate the success of your business’ website, app, and marketing plan.
Your data should absolutely answer the high-level questions of what’s working and not working for your restaurant or hotel business. Maybe your data show that global sales are on the upswing, or that catering bookings are on the decline. That’s valuable information, but it’s only part of the story. Knowing how these realities were influenced by your marketing investments is critical to turning these trends in a positive direction. Segmentation (which comes from being able to make certain data like first-time and repeat customers stand out in reporting) takes data that may appear black and white at first and goes deeper to answer who, what, why, and how.
With the right segments and analytics reporting in place, your business should be able to clearly identify a potential hotel customer who’s just kicking the tires versus a high-value customer looking for a $3,000-a-night suite, or see how your restaurant locations in Atlanta are doing in comparison to your Washington D.C. locations. Even five or six years ago, getting to this level of granularity with your online data would have taken thousands of hours. Today, for businesses equipped with the right tools and partners, these details are just a click away.
Why Partner with a Digital Analytics Consulting Firm
With today’s advances in online ordering and web tracking, all the data you need to measure your restaurant or hotel brand’s performance is right at your fingertips; you just have to know how to harness it. The technology exists. Working with the right partner can get that difference-making data in place for you.
Find out how a digital analytics consulting firm like Empirical Path can help your hospitality business transform your data into an actionable, money-making resource.