Simply put, forward-looking search data describes top-of-funnel information that helps you better anticipate future market behaviour in your destination. This is essentially search data that is gathered during the earliest phase of the guest sales journey, when potential guests are still in the ‘dreaming’ or research phase.
By combining this top-of-funnel information, forward-looking data reveals booking intent and provides an accurate overview of unconstrained demand for future dates. A few examples of these higher-funnel data sets are hotel and flight search patterns.
Traditionally, local events, seasonality and even the day of the week have driven demand. As we are all too well aware, the hospitality industry has faced unforeseen events over the past two years, and previous assumptions are not always as certain as they may have been in the past.
Instead of using realised on-the-books (OTB) data and past data for forecasting and pricing strategies, hoteliers can now utilise these new future-facing data sets to make better commercial decisions.
Forward-looking search data can help you to forecast the hotel demand level of your market, even with a vast amount of variables. While all these searches don’t always convert into bookings, when aggregated on a large scale they can help you understand traveller intent.
Forward looking search data can reveal the length of stays that guests may be interested in, as well as the intended travel dates, and the geographical location where the searches originate from to indicate which source markets possess the highest demand.
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Forward-looking search data is a new weapon in a hotelier’s arsenal, and holds significant value when used correctly. It enables commercial teams to predict hotel demand more effectively (and further in advance), so hoteliers can plan efficiently and price more profitably.
You can perform above the market by quickly and easily grasping demand shifts, hotel availability and pricing in your market.
Imagine this scenario: while other hoteliers are spending valuable time trying to make sense of (outdated) historical data sets, you have already reacted to changes in hotel demand by targeting the right traveller, at the right time, with the right price.
Armed with insights on the stay pattern and demand origin means, you can also create marketing campaigns that target precise dates, LOS and source country, when guests are still in the inspiration phase of the customer journey.
Ultimately, forward looking data enables you to identify and seize more revenue opportunities with hotel and flight search data, than your competitors.
But how do you know the forward-looking data you are using to try and capture more revenue is accurate and reliable? Let's dive into the details.
Exclusive new research by OTA Insight indicates that there is a positive correlation between flight and hotel search data, and hotel level occupancy.
By evaluating daily, weekly and monthly hotel performance against flight and hotel search data, we observed that high flight and hotel search volumes translate into high levels of market demand. This then results in increased hotel occupancy in the specified market.
The chart below displays a high demand stay date of 15/06/22, in New York City, where the final occupancy hit 94%.
As you can see from the graph above, market occupancy clearly follows the same pattern as flight searches (red) and hotel searches (yellow).
Searches for 15th June 2022 in New York started to be recorded as early as 365 days prior to arrival date. 170 days prior to arrival date, flight and hotel searches started to surge, whereas market actual occupancy was still pacing at 4%.
The lead time between a flight or hotel search and a completed booking varies by destination and season. Flight and hotel searches occur days, weeks, or even months before hotels begin to see any pick-up in reservations.
Access to forward-looking search data provides hoteliers an extended window to revise their commercial strategy early on in the traveller’s booking journey, unlocking previously unseen revenue opportunities and booking more room nights.
For example, research conducted by OTA Insight for stays in London in August 2022, Market Insight recorded:
Hotels in London that saw bookings being made for the month of August 2022, in the same month, could see the original signs of demand for these bookings 70 days prior in the flight search data, and 60 days prior in the hotel search data in Market Insight.
From this data, you can also see that flight searches frequently occur before hotel searches, which enhances the visibility you have over consumer behaviour much earlier in the booking process with this type of data to hand.
These new data points are easy to understand, but nearly impossible for a hotelier to manually find, collate and analyse. This is why a predictive market intelligence solution, like Market Insight, is needed to do the heavy lifting for you, turning forward-looking search data into actionable insights.
Market Insight is the industry's first predictive market intelligence tool that captures hotel booking intent in real time, to uncover new revenue opportunities with forward looking data.
If you would like to see a predictive market intelligence solution in action, try our FREE interactive demand heatmap, Global Market Insight, which is powered by Market Insight.
Through the aggregation of pre-booking and top-of-funnel data points recovery trends, Global Market Insight combines recovery trends from the past months and a demand outlook for the next 90 days.
How exactly does a predictive market intelligence solution work?
Market Insight features a combination of forward-looking data sources that aggregate the most frequently updated and accurate search data from: OTAs, meta searches, global distribution system (GDS) searches, online reviews, ranking, flight search data, events, holidays and alternative lodging inventory data.
The solution is powered by unique AI demand segmentation technology, which turns billions of these forward-looking data points per destination into real-time demand levels, all broken down by sub-location, stay pattern, and hotel types.
Lighting fast, real-time streaming data sources generate immediate alerts on demand changes before anyone else can pick it up.
This speeds up the forecasting process and enables hoteliers to quickly grasp pre-booking market demand at their hotel and take advantage of potential revenue opportunities as demand shifts, with the right pricing and marketing strategies.
What is the value of using a predictive market intelligence solution?
Travel demand has now returned to some semblance of normality for the vast majority of destinations around the world. But competition for bookings has also returned, and in many regions intensified.
Being able to forecast hotel demand effectively in this environment is essential. Having future market demand signals available to you with the click of a button can give you the edge over your compset.
Some hoteliers continue to rely solely on historical data sets to guide their forecasting models, but traditional high and low seasons simply may not be what they used to be. Booking windows have shifted, domestic travel has risen, corporate travel has changed, and the short-term rental market has grown.
This is of particular significance when looking at events. From festivals and conferences, to city marathons and the FIFA World Cup, events are once again flourishing. Capitalising on events is a key revenue driver for hoteliers but you are up against fierce competition when bookings start rolling in.
All of your compset are looking to maximise revenue on these dates. Market Insight improves your forecasting accuracy and keeps your finger on the pulse with early demand signals up to 365 days in advance.
By identifying demand patterns across flights and hotel searches on certain dates, before their competitors, they have time to implement a commercial strategy that maximises hotel revenue, lifts occupancy rates, and sells their hotel rooms at the best possible price. In fact, we carried out an ROI study for Market Insight and found out exactly how much you stand to gain by implementing the solution. Take a look below.
Predictive market intelligence solutions identify forward-looking demand indicators for future dates with real-time, market sensitive data points that better inform hotelier decision making while eliminating risk and ultimately revealing new revenue opportunities.
Let's face it: forecasting demand at your hotel has become increasingly complex. This is why predictive market intelligence is becoming an essential part of hotel commercial strategies.
When it comes to deciding whether your hotel needs predictive demand intelligence software, ask yourself this question: are you able to achieve the outcomes below at your hotel, all in just a few clicks?
Hotel forecasting strategy during high demand periods
By recognising high demand periods ahead of time, you can proactively focus on demand-generating activities that boost their market position and their RevPar.
Only by spotting high demand days early on in the booking cycle can hotels yield favourable rates. In the graph below, produced using Market Insight data, we can see that in the buildup to Valentine’s Day in 2022, Dubai began to see elevated demand a year in advance.
The graph shows how far in advance demand evolved in Dubai, before any pick up in bookings. A full 287 days prior to the date of travel, Market Insight adjusted its prediction to very high demand, but it was only 146 days prior to travel that the market occupancy began to pick up.
Here is how you can optimise your revenue using Market Insight on days with high demand:
Hotel forecasting strategy during normal or low demand periods
By recognizing low demand days far in advance, you and your commercial team can proactively capture market share, using a range of tactics that aim to drive bookings during periods of soft demand.
Here is how you can optimise your revenue using Market Insight on days with low demand:
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If you are thinking about investing in a predictive demand intelligence solution for your hotel, here is a list of some important considerations you'll likely want to confirm.
Is there a 365 day future demand heat map?
The market demand heat map provides an instant overview of booking intent in your market where demand signals collected from multiple data sources will help you to predict more precisely demand at your hotel.
Segmenting demand by sub-location, geo-search, stay pattern, and accommodation types provides an even more granular view on shifting demand, up to 365 days in advance. The heat map also shows areas of demand and market prices with demand evolution.
Can you see flight searches?
Flight searches enable you to target the right traveller, at the right time by identifying early demand spikes during the travellers’ buying journey.
You can instantly see demand sources, including from GDS searches, for any given day and begin to recognise travellers’ stay patterns, before adjusting your offer.
Can you see traveller stay patterns and trends?
By identifying demand peaks on hotel searches, stemming from GDS and Meta/OTA, you will be able to see significant shifts in lead times or length of stays in real-time, and adjust your strategies to optimise your revenue.
Are alternative accommodations included?
The competitive landscape has changed, meaning it has become even more important to know who you are competing with.
By understanding what percentage of hotel-like listings you are competing with for 1,2,3,4+ LOS on any given day, and what price point your hotel is up against, you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
Is there a smart compset?
In the eyes of your prospective customers, who is your competition? A smart compset ensures you’re always positioned against the most relevant compset - a dynamic, industry-first competitor set that changes with market shifts.
It identifies "hotels similar to yours" (e.g. location, review score, star rating and pricing patterns) to provide comparisons on every demand condition so that you can strategically position yourself against your smart compset, compare pricing strategies against your entire competition and never miss out on revenue opportunities.
Do you get real-time alerts?
Real-time alerts allow you to focus on the days that present your biggest revenue opportunities, giving you a competitive advantage to adjust your pricing strategy through an opportunity feed that delivers constant demand indicators, paired with instant alerts.
Is there an OTB integration to give insights into your market performance?
If you can see how your demand and occupancy on-the-books have evolved vs yesterday, 3, 7 or 14 days ago you can proactively take action before the rate becomes too high or too low; open or close promotions; negotiated rates; or adjust other strategies that affect your forecast.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but its is a great place to start when considering how a predictive market intelligence solution can add value at your hotel.
Why not take a free trial of Market Insight to see if it’s right for your hotel?