Solution Essence: TargetingHub

Vizergy launches TargetingHub™ to improve access to data assets at hotels and turn prospects into new guests through digital marketing.

Solution Introduction

Vizergy, located in Jacksonville, Florida launched TargetingHub earlier this year. This new hotel analytics and planning solution complements the Vizergy Marketing System, enabling it to extract property level data from core property systems and support the planning and advertising initiatives of the hotel. This need is common to most marketers, and hoteliers are no exception given their data often resides within multiple systems, such as: hotel management systems (HMS or PMS), point of sale (POS) and guest relationship management (GRM or CRM) systems, to name a few. TargetingHub now makes it possible to extract, load and cleanse this data and ready it for use in marketing programs all within a cloud-based, desktop and browser environment.

TargetingHub facilitates simplified analysis, planning and launching of advertising campaigns across multiple marketing solutions. A hotel’s website, search, social, email and direct mail are the primary channels where these campaigns may be run. As a result, hotels are able to increase brand awareness, place their hotel into the search stream of the online user and generate direct bookings in support of the marketing objectives within their annual marketing plan.

Role Within a Hotel’s MarTech Infrastructure

TargetingHub is a flexible system in that it is able to retrieve data assets from most software systems with either basic data exports or more sophisticated data interfaces. Further to this, it is able to work within the context of the numerous flavors of marketing technology infrastructures that may exist at the property level. Whether a property is influenced by the marketing capabilities of a brand, its own marketing and technology decisions, or a combination thereof, TargetingHub is designed to connect to hotel data assets, generate consumer insights and then guide the design of campaigns in selected advertising channels. These channels enable the hotel to reach more guests based either on the characteristics of their previous guests or the demographic and geographic characteristics of similar, prospective guests.

TargetingHub’s data management functionality is useful for many purposes, but the solution is laser focused on generating new customers through the aforementioned advertising channels. As a result, TargetingHub sits in a crucial position for hotels in that it builds upon the value of the existing hotel system data and both simplifies and increases the effectiveness of campaign analysis, design and deployment. Further to this point, its position within the surrounding ecosystem of hotel technology allows it to work well with low, mid or high maturity marketing technology infrastructures. Part of the reason for this is that it contains some highly sophisticated software technologies as part of its own architecture, including Vizergy’s proprietary solutions along with multiple, well-known systems with expansive capability sets.

Core Capabilities

The key facets of TargetingHub provide the capability to extract and manage data assets for the purpose of planning digital marketing campaigns. However, the system goes beyond basic data reporting by generating demographically based consumer insights about the guests that have previously stayed at the property. It is this information that improves the hotel marketer’s ability to design and plan advertising campaigns, which the system facilitates. Briefly stated, the system enhances the inputs for the advertising solutions, but then goes a step further. It aggregates data from across the advertising platforms where campaigns were implemented and tracks performance, allowing the marketing function to continuously improve its advertising targeting and results.

A more comprehensive discussion about TargetingHub’s capabilities may be found in Vizergy’s whitepaper, “Easily Find New Hotel Guests with Existing Data Assets”. This whitepaper was written by Accubase on behalf of Vizergy.

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Capabilities List

Customer Data Importing Customer Data Management
Customer Insights Reporting Customer Demographics Reporting
View Advertising Channels View Advertising Sites
Campaign Planning Manage Ad Targeting Parameters
Marketing Calendar Collaboration
Workflow Campaign Measurement
Analytics Campaign Reporting

Standard Configurations

TargetingHub requires some configuration, for instance with its need to connect to data sources. While this does require setup, it is able to read data in standard formats, eliminating any reliance on a particular hotel’s choices for interface standards or systems. The frequency of the data updates may also be throttled based on the needs of the business.

Properties may contain numerous systems or combinations of systems, creating complexity in the location of all viable data assets. TargetingHub is able to connect to these software systems, providing the marketer access to guest information and their respective reservation activity from any interfaced data source. This allows a hotel to start fast and add new data sources based on business value and return on investment. When considering multiple properties, TargetingHub is able to be implemented across a portfolio of hotel assets and the resulting solution becomes accessible for further analysis related to both operations and performance measurement of marketing programs at each individual location.

The underpinnings that are less apparent to the hotel deploying this solution stem from software partnerships with IBM, Adobe, Google, Facebook and Sojern. The solutions from each of these companies enable a sophisticated set of capabilities that are usually only affordable at the brand level with a significant investment in data science tools and resources. The sheer power of this combination of technologies is impressive.

Budgets & Resources

Regarding money, people, time and technology (MPTT), TargetingHub requires the first three and is the fourth. The monthly cost is low, a few hundred dollars per month, especially when considering the power of the solution and the measurable results it should be able to achieve for most properties. It does require qualified resources to manage it and provide guidance regarding planning and designing advertising campaigns. The solution speeds the design process as does the experience of the person or team responsible for it. Intelligently designed campaigns are the key to success, but the solution comes with many templates to guide the marketer. Joe Hyman, CEO of Vizergy, summed it up nicely when he said, “TargetingHub simplifies omni-channel hotel marketing by leveraging hotel data assets and bringing high return direct channels within reach as a viable consumer business throttle.”

When reviewing the overall opportunity, return on investment and total cost of ownership of this solution, Accubase has a number of tools to assist you as you build and manage your budget, marketing plan and resources. Contact Accubase or Vizergy to learn more and determine if TargetingHub is a worthwhile investment for your property or portfolio of hotels.

 

Vizergy Contact Information

Website: www.Vizergy.com
Product Website: www.TargetingHub.com
Phone: 1-800-201-1949 or 904-389-1130
Email: results@vizergy.com

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The Balance of Power for Selling Hotel Rooms

Traditionally, Marriott is a business driven by franchise and management company contracts. It is known for its branding, service and operational expertise. Starwood in recent years is placing additional emphasis on a similar path and shedding owned hotels as part of its “asset light” strategy. The resulting combined company sells franchise and management contracts while providing numerous services that effectively provide marketing and management capabilities to its hoteliers. Therefore, these specific brands and their parent companies are less driven by the real estate markets and more driven by consumer and business demand for their branded hotels. Multiple industry participants view the recent spurt of hotel consolidation as a trend that fuels a rivalry against the major OTAs. While there are other overarching factors, this is certainly a facet to consider.

While each chain and brand has defined a specific set of tactics for distributing rooms within the OTAs, Marriott and Starwood continue to aggressively steer consumers toward their brand sites even to the extent of foregoing top search placement within the OTAs. It appears these two brands view the major OTAs as expensive alternatives and want to control terms of distribution while providing lower cost distribution solutions to their branded properties. However, from a property perspective, owners and management companies may have different interests. If they are able to generate reservations at a reasonable cost, all things considered, then they may not have as much preference as to where the booking originates. That said, distribution costs do vary across channels and sites and consolidating two major hotel players could deepen the competitive divide between these particular Brands and the OTAs.

This consolidation will also continue to affect other segments of hotel distribution, such as managed travel and group bookings. Most major hotel companies are responsible for a significant portion of a branded property’s marketing. Corporate negotiated rates play a role in this since the chain will have more control over inventory and pricing for any market where they have a significant share of inventory. It is likely that this will enable the combined company to tactically respond to RFPs and more confidently set pricing levels for their existing and potential contracts. However, this doesn’t change demand levels within a market unless they apply these tactics to shift business from certain destinations to other locations more than occurs today. CWT’s Whitepaper recently summarized markets where the combined Marriott and Starwood brands represent a significant portion of their corporate negotiated business.

Although we only covered a few reasons above, there are many areas of influence for properties to consider when it comes time for marketing and distribution. Each of these has technology underpinnings. As a result, technology that supports marketing and operational business processes will play a meaningful role as hotels continue to balance the value offered by a major marketing partner, such as a Brand or an OTA, against the ability to pursue their own marketing initiatives while minimizing any contractual limitations placed upon them. What’s important for properties to maintain is the ability to react to changing customer demands and market dynamics by quickly launching relevant marketing initiatives for any segment of business. This is crucial to achieving sustainable success and requires a pliable marketing and technology infrastructure.

Marriott and Starwood’s paid media spend was estimated at $96 and $55 million for 2014 by Kantar Media. This equates to spending $23k per property or $134 per room for Marriott and $45k per property or $155 per room for Starwood on an annual basis. Expedia and Priceline on the other hand spent approximately $2.8 billion and $2.6 billion in 2015, respectively. Most of these marketing budgets are directed at core marketing capabilities, such as branding, destination marketing and the marketing technologies required to attract and convert travelers from across the globe.

The following table shows the estimated number of solutions that are part of the marketing technology infrastructure for each of the aforementioned companies as it relates to their digital presence. These encompass software capabilities across multiple categories such as: Website Development & Management, Search & Social Marketing, Data Management, Advertising Infrastructure & Networks and Analytics solutions. However, these numbers represent only a sample of the full list of technologies each has in place to manage their digital and offline marketing presence as a whole.

Company

Solutions

Marriott 70
Starwood 88
Expedia 94
Priceline 85

* Data provided by Accubase & Datanyze.

Therefore, when a hotel purchases services from a Brand or OTA, part of the result arrives in the form of reservations. The investment made to generate those reservations is significant even when only considering the marketing spend and the underlying marketing technologies. It is also important to note the similarities and differences in how these dollars are being allocated in their efforts to reach a preferred customer audience. When combined with the marketing that happens for an individual hotel, it is evident how complex the marketing world is for a given property.

Evaluating a slightly broadened hotel marketing landscape for a moment shows the strengths of the companies in each segment as compared to a hotel’s own website. Hotels have numerous decisions to make when considering how to market their property online and deciding what resources are needed to achieve their goals. When concentrating on the Search and OTA segment, given the significant amount of overlap across them, this table shows the general value of each.

Value Search Engine Meta-
search
OTA Brand Website Agency/
Hotel Marketing

Hotel Website

Hotel/Brand Awareness
Destination & Property Search
Advertising
Benchmarking
Customer Loyalty Rewards
Shared Customer Information
Distribution to Multiple Sites
Reservations

There are many negotiating levers that may be material for any given OTA agreement, whether the agreement is with the Property, Brand or a combination thereof. It will be interesting to see how the OTAs continue to innovate their products and services to provide sales and marketing solutions to hotels and other travel service providers.

Consolidation at the hotel level, whether it occurs from deals like Marriott and Starwood, Accor or aggregations at the owner or management company level, may continue to change the allocation of leverage amongst the hotels, brands and OTAs involved. Ultimately, the parties have to find a reasonable solution based upon their knowledge of the market and control of these levers. Many levers exist, such as Pricing, Commissions and Placement within the OTA search results that will define the marketing agreements between the hotel and OTA.

In summary, the mega hotel mergers that are happening today, will continue to change the marketing and distribution landscape and the technologies intertwined within it. The combined company of Marriott and Starwood will cause changes in both the industry and its own resources. However, it will have to make many decisions regarding how the uniqueness of each brand will survive and how this will influence the next generation of marketing initiatives and supporting technologies at the chain, brand and property level.

Buying Marketing Technology & Services

There are numerous possible categories with regard to analyzing and evaluating marketing services and technologies as it pertains to your business. While only a subset of these may be a priority for any specific need within your marketing team, the coverage is important. It allows solutions to be identified that meet your objectives and requirements.

As a result there are two primary considerations. First, is understanding the core needs for you, including your unique set of business requirements and combining this with a thorough understanding of what’s possible from available solutions in the marketplace. Second, is evaluating technologies against your unique needs and accelerating your time from the identification of a marketing need to implementation, while improving the probability of success.

When embarking on a project, it is always important to review possibilities with respect to building and buying the set of solutions that enable you to get from point A to point B. This may entail complementing your internal resources with any of a number of potential resources or simply getting a better understanding of your options.

What are the benefits of hiring a company for their marketing services or marketing technology? There are many potential benefits, but here are a few:

  • You are hiring passion and people who excel at what they do
  • They may make your employees better by exposing them to new perspectives
  • Depending upon the maturity of the solution, you may get more capability than performing the same work or building the same technology yourself

In addition to general and detailed capabilities and the standard considerations associated with buying this type of service or technology, a few of the categories a buyer could consider are:

  • Total Cost of Ownership
  • Specific Integrations
  • Migration Considerations
  • Privacy Implications
  • Supportability
  • Sustainability

These and many other categories enable you to easily evaluate the technologies and services most suitable to your company’s needs while taking into account those potential marketing and technology capabilities best aligned to your strategic objectives.

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