Case Study

Barceló Hotel Group’s Data Transformation Results in Increased Revenue, Decreased Marketing Costs

A lack of data governance was limiting Barceló Hotel Group from being the data-driven, customer-centric company they wanted to be.

Tealium’s Customer Data Hub helped Barceló become the master of their data, enabling better data quality, management, and usage.

With better data governance throughout the organization, Barceló has run more customer-centric marketing campaigns, increasing their revenue by 37% in two years.

To Deliver True Customer-Centric Experiences, Better Data Governance Is Needed

Barceló Hotel Group is a family-owned company founded in Mallorca, Spain in 1931. The company’s portfolio is formed by more than 250 hotels in 22 countries. While the pioneering hotel chain wanted to be data-driven and customer-centric, the reality was that it hadn’t fully achieved this goal.

With a highly-siloed technology stack, a lack of data-driven organizational processes, and limited data governance and data quality, Barceló still had a lot of work to do to transform itself.

“When we started this journey, we realized we didn’t have any structure, we didn’t have a process,” says Johanna Álvarez, Adtech and Attribution Modeling Specialist of Data and Digital Media at Barceló Hotel Group. ”We were working at less than our full potential.”

Another issue they faced was that they didn’t have full access to the company’s data. At the time, they were using a lot of platforms that were owned by the marketing agencies they worked with. There were many intermediaries between Barceló Hotel Group’s team and the platforms where the data was collected and stored. As a result, making decisions based on data was time consuming, and they could not keep up with their rapidly-evolving business needs.

To combat these challenges and move them closer to their final destination of being a data-driven, customer-centric company, Barceló decided it was time to improve their data governance.

Improved Data Governance and Greater Customer Insights

When Barceló added Tealium’s Customer Data Hub to their technology stack, one of the most significant impacts they saw was finally being the owners of their data.

“The most important thing Tealium has given us is being owners of everything we put into our platforms,” says Álvarez. “Before, we were dependent on other teams to have our implementations up and running. That doesn’t happen now, we’ve been given the autonomy to set priorities and to get our hands on the data whenever we need it.”

Tealium has also allowed them to run much more data-driven, customer-centric campaigns. For example, in the past, even though they were segmenting their users, segmentation was often based on outdated information, such as past surveys. In an industry where customers’ travel destination preferences change quite often, not having updated data meant that Barceló’s offerings were many times out of alignment with their customers’ current interests.

Using Tealium iQ™ as their Tag Management System and AudienceStream™ as their Customer Data Platform, alongside their Marketing Cloud and Data Management Platform, Barceló has been able to significantly improve their audience segmentation practices. They have been able to move from event-based segmentation to pattern-based segmentation, which takes into account customers’ interests as shown by their behavioral data on the company’s website.

In a test using the new pattern-based segmentation, Barceló saw a stark difference in results. With pattern-based segmentation, they experienced a 55% open rate, 22% click-through rate, 22% conversion rate, and three times the revenue compared with previous segmentation practices.

However, Barceló didn’t stop with just making improvements to their tech stack. They also focused on further refining their data governance by improving organizational processes. And this started with improving their data quality.

“I have this belief,” says Álvarez, “that being a data-driven company implies that you truly understand the importance of data quality. Because if that’s not the case, you are better off going back to making gut-driven decisions.”

Keeping data quality as an objective, there were internal processes the company needed to improve. One way they have done this is by trying to improve information sharing so teams are better informed.

Barceló used the connector between AudienceStream and Slack to fuel their “#bookings” channel in real time with all the transactions being made on the website. With the whole team working from the same set of real-time data, they could place fun bets every morning on the amount of revenue they thought would be generated that day. By the end of the week, the winners would go out for a team breakfast.

They have created an internal wiki in which they document all the issues and specifications of the projects they’ve worked on over time. They have a group in WhatsApp for sharing news about anything that might affect their data. Finally, they have also created an online dashboard that updates every day and contains information from their main data sources, allowing them to see at a glance if there is something wrong.

“This is key,” says Álvarez. “The more you automate your processes and the more you get people truly involved, the easier it will be to define and identify that there’s an issue. You’ve got to aim for proactivity, not reactivity.”

With real-time data fueling strong data governance practices, Barceló was able to quickly detect the effects of Apple’s ITP 2.0 on their data. The company was among the first to realize that Google Campaign Manager and other ad platforms were losing track of 30% of the transactions made on the website.

“We dedicated over eight months of continuous testing with the support teazm from Google, trying to find and solve the issue. The problem with this type of situation is that not only do you start making decisions based on incomplete data, but having incomplete information also starts confusing your automatic bidding,” says Álvarez. “You end up getting into a vicious circle: you send low-quality data, your automatic bidding gets confused by thinking that your campaigns are not performing correctly and in return, you’re get fewer transactions.”

Data-Driven, Customer-Centric Campaigns Boost Revenue

It’s been a two-year journey to get from where they were to their final destination of being a data-driven, customer-centric company, but the effort has been well worth the investment. Not only has Barceló seen significant improvements in campaign performance, but they’ve also been able to increase their revenue by 37% and decrease their marketing costs by almost 6%.

“The difficult part is being able to increase your revenue by minimizing your marketing costs,” says Álvarez. “The great thing is that we’ve been able to do both in these two years because we invested in a good tech stack.”

In one affinity retargeting campaign, for instance, the campaign saw improved open, click-through, and conversion rates as well as improved revenue and a reduced base rate for the campaign. Similarly, in a social retargeting campaign they tested against a control group, they saw:

While Álvarez acknowledges how important having Tealium’s Customer Data Hub has been to achieving these results, she also highlights how important teamwork has been to the process.

“Getting the best platform is a very important step, but in the end, the most valuable asset and the key piece of the success of the projects are the teams and the synergies that are created once you get everyone involved in your project,” says Álvarez. “We have had the great pleasure of working with a team that believes, trusts and wants to get the maximum out of the stack we’ve been privileged to build.”

  • 240% increase in conversions
  • 67% decrease in cost per acquisition
  • 4% decrease in cost per click

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