“This is a hot topic and one that drives us to understand more about what metrics really matter. Driving the direct channel is a top priority for our hotels so how a guest interacts with the website, the social channels and our paid media is something we look closely at.
Rates and rate disparity for a hotel and the immediate competitor set gives us a good base to plan what metrics we should be benchmarking. To drive the direct channel and achieve the expected results, pricing is a key consideration. Finding out how a guest finds you, what influences their behaviour, whether they are price or experience-led will help us set metrics that are suitable for each individual hotel and then we benchmark how the KPI’s perform month-on-month.
Website traffic is an obvious metric. When website traffic fluctuates, is sales conversion affected and by how much? So we look at website traffic, booking engine traffic, the volume of bookings and the pick-up needed to hit the commercial KPI’s set, which hotels share with us. We compare quarter by quarter and look at the trend lines for the class and region of hotel. We use anonymised data to look at trend lines. We also look at search dates and where the searches are conducted. This will flag up whether there is an emerging market for a hotel and whether that should be explored.
STR and Hotstats are our go-to for understanding our hotels’ competitor sets. These industry-led benchmarking reports give us context. We do benchmark our hotel’s competitors, but we always consider the hotel brand position and the audience profile. A hotel next door is not a competitor if you operate in entirely different markets. One hotel may be getting a high volume of traffic versus another – so yes, it’s something to consider, but do you benchmark the quality of traffic? The proof is in the commercial pudding. Performance is what matters.
The guest experience is the top priority, i.e., the guests’ online journey. We regularly benchmark our sites, speed, images, rendering, changes to the user experience, etc. But most importantly, we try to identify what strategy is driving guests into the booking engine and what is driving conversion (whether it’s the price, a keyword, etc.), tracking the impact of a PR campaign or simply benchmarking the splits between direct business and all other channels.”