onPeak + Looker: increasing hotel bookings with automated workflows
Aug 19, 2019
At onPeak, we manage hotel negotiation and reservation processes for clients that organize meetings, trade shows, and large conferences. We are focused on providing excellent hotel booking experiences for our attendees.
To do this, we needed a solution that gave everyone in the company access to accurate data. We implemented Looker as our company-wide data solution in 2017.
As we implemented Looker, we realized it was so much more than a BI tool. Once we got the foundation in place, we could automate entire workflows and fully capitalize on our data. Here are some examples of how we did just that.
The pre-Looker manual workflow
One of our top priorities is ensuring that our room blocks are full and that both our clients (and the hotels) are happy. Naturally, we wanted to reach people who have registered for an event but hadn’t booked their room yet. Identifying these people was difficult because our registration and booking data lived in separate databases.
To create our email lists, we needed to tie these two sources together. Unfortunately, this required one of my analysts to manually pull data from both systems, stitch the CSVs together, dedupe the bad data, and rationalize this in Excel.
We would then email the Excel file to the marketing department, who would manually upload it to their system and add it to a campaign.
Automating the flow with Looker
Step 1: Make the list
Because Looker transforms data at query time, we were able to dump our somewhat raw data into Amazon Aurora. We then joined our two data sets together to see which email addresses existed in the registration table but not in the hotel bookings table.
Step 2: Send the data to marketing
We knew the data that came out of Looker, rather than our manual process, was going to be up-to-date and accurate. That gave us (and our marketing team) the confidence to automate the next few steps.
We scheduled the data to be sent to an S3 bucket every night. From there, we set up a trigger in Salesforce Marketing Cloud to fetch new results every morning.
Step 3: Send emails
The marketing team was then able to automate their process and set up campaigns with parameterized emails that ran off the automated data. Once the list came in, we sent registrants a tokenized email with promotional information about the hotels available for their event.
I am thrilled with this new automated workflow because it gives back hours of analyst time to our teams every week. But the real winners were our customers (and by extension, our business). By automating this workflow, we were able to increase the percentage of email recipients that booked a hotel room by 50%, resulting in increased revenue for us — and our customers.
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