The Taiwanese online travel market is highly competitive, with travel agencies and hotel chains fighting fiercely for customers. Success or failure depends on a company’s ability to be heard by customers above the market noise.
Hotels.com introduced innovative, data-driven personalisation in Taiwan to connect with its customers in new ways, leading to exceptional growth in conversion, sales and profit.
Each day Hotels.com has substantial customer traffic coming in to look for accommodation. Of course, not all customers complete their booking on the first visit. Yet it’s IMPERATIVE to reach these customers when they’re in the right frame of mind, i.e. after committing to air travel but before deciding on a hotel.
It goes without saying that when every player wants to reach the same audience at the same time, media buying costs go up. But how can a company remain efficient? If you get too aggressive with your real-time bidding auction program, you’ll lose money. Conversely, if you’re too conservative, a competitor will steal your customer.
Hotels.com realized the answer was to identify engaged customers (customer who had recently visited the site, but left without booking), then remarket using highly personalised content driven by their unique browsing behaviour.
In 2014, we identified two keys campaign areas that could be optimised to enhance remarketing efforts:
Destination Products: Selected hotel products were inserted into dynamic banner ads. E.g. popular Phuket hotels if someone had been researching Thailand accommodation.
Targeted Audiences: Audiences were targeted not only on typical data sets such as page clicks and visits, but also site navigation flow, which enabled more relevant ads.
Given the complexity of implementation, we staged each change separately over time:
1 | Increasing hotel product segments (i.e. more granularity)
2 | Increasing understanding of user behaviour on site
For each stage, we monitored several data points and the results speak for themselves…
In July, we saw a 54% month-on-month increase in profit volume, despite it being the start of the summer holidays. In September, there was another month-on-month increase of 60% in profit volume. The profit volume was sustained through November. In December, traditionally a month with the lowest volume, the conversion rate increased month-on-month by 30%, allowing us to drawing additional profit volume from the tight audience space we were remarketing to.