Motel 6: ‘Analytics Is Our North Star’

More than half of bookings at Motel 6 happen on the same day as arrival.

That means most of the budget hotel chain’s customers are on the road when they make their decision to stay the night, so the booking experience has to be as frictionless as possible, said Jeff Thomas, director of ecommerce and distribution at G6, the hospitality group that operates the Motel 6 franchise.

There was a time when it took five clicks to secure a booking on the Motel 6 mobile site, and that just wasn’t cutting it.

“We want people to get their room quickly and easily through us,” Thomas said. “We don’t want them to end up going to another third-party site which is more expensive for us.”

Motel 6 worked with Adobe to get its mobile site up to snuff and cut down the number of steps it takes to get booked from five to three. The hotelier also added a flexible date option and implemented a geolocation function that displays all Motel 6 locations within a user’s proximity.

Those adjustments helped increase Motel 6’s mobile conversion rate from 3.2% to almost 7%. But the more noteworthy improvement actually came in bookings made over the phone.

As part of the revamp, Motel 6 placed “call to book” buttons more prominently all over its mobile site. Call volume duly increased by 20%.

“For a lot of industries, calls are down as everything goes digital,” Thomas said. “But a lot of people on the road don’t want the hassle of selecting a room or typing in the number of guests – they just want to talk to someone and quickly make a reservation.”

As long as it’s easy for the guest, Motel 6 doesn’t care where a booking comes from, whether that’s online, over the phone or via a mobile device. The chain offers room rate parity across all channels.

Making a reservation on the website “isn’t sacred,” Thomas said.

“We did a lot of work to understand the customer and their behavior and, the fact is, they don’t just book online, they call the property to make reservations,” he said. “So we made that inherently easy.”

Understanding customer expectations and knowing what to tweak to meet those needs comes from diving into the analytics. Prior to implementing Adobe Analytics, Motel 6 was running the free version of Google Analytics. It worked for basic queries, but it didn’t go deep enough, Thomas said.

Motel 6 has no reservations about digging into the data.

“We ultimately needed more than the basic view of how well we were performing,” Thomas said. “We needed to transform the way we looked at the digital landscape, and that means being able to see how we’re performing step by step, page by page and customer by customer and drilling down into segments.”

For example, Motel 6 looked at the conversion rate on its responsive-design website by user based on browser and operating system. In doing so, the brand discovered that some users were being underserved by its revamped site. One legacy version of Internet Explorer didn’t even allow users to visit the site at all.

Knowing that, Motel 6 was able to message those users with interstitials asking them to use a compatible browser, and conversions increased among that population. Website bookings are up overall from 8% to 13%.

“I would never have thought it was possible to see an increase in conversions on desktop, but we were able to do it simply by making site improvements, and the same has been true on mobile,” Thomas said. “Analytics is our North Star. It’s how we make decisions, it’s how we drive our strategy and it’s how we dictate performance.”

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