Measuring success through data points

As digital channels continue to proliferate, hotel marketers are increasingly looking at ways to measure attribution in order to determine the success of a campaign. 

Increasingly, marketers are moving away from last-click attribution modeling, saidCindy Estis Green, CEO and co-founder, Kalibri Labs. 

“A lot of hotels just think that wherever the consumer last clicked before they come to the hotel website, that’s who they should credit and put their funds,” Green said. “But in more sophisticated modeling, it shows last-click attribution is not really that influential at all.”

Tim Peter, president of digital marketing firm Tim Peter and Associates, said, “For example, one company I worked with was buying the search term ‘luxury hotels,’ and the term did not convert at all. So they stopped buying the term and immediately saw a decline in reservations across the board. What was happening was people were searching luxury hotels, seeing the website and then coming back and buying later. So the term luxury hotels was contributing from a business perspective but our attribution as it existed at the time did not look very carefully.”

Typically, travelers visit many sites before making a final booking, and they all influence the purchase decision to varying degrees. 

“Some of the studies, including analysis that I did personally, show that there are upwards of eight to 10 points along the path that the hotel shopper takes along the way to booking,” said Green. “It’s a matter of weighting it and finding the patterns in what consumers end up booking. Doing it accurately would take the statistical modeling that some of the brands are doing, Hyatt and Marriott in particular.”

For hotels without access to large-scale statistical models, Peter suggests Google Analytics as another possible option. 

“The downside is if your goal is to have people pick up the phone or walk into your property and you’re not measuring there,” Peter said. “You have to make sure your attribution ties into your specific objectives. You can always go and measure the downstream impacts of what you’re doing so you want to make sure that what you’re measuring reflects what is happening in reality.”