Belief in the Power of Data
The foundation of all of our products and services
A Belief in Data from the Beginning
Field research is tough! But, in the end, it’s worth it!
When the decision was made to begin the Knowland Group in the summer of 2004, it became apparent very quickly that running a field research service is very, very difficult. The potential problems are legion. Field researchers can be unreliable, missing or only completing parts of their assigned routes. Many frequently disappear with no warning. Data can be recorded poorly. Folks have challenges uploading information. These are just a fraction of the challenges in running a comprehensive field research team.
But an idea intrigued them. It was the concept that at the end of the day, if they were successful in creating a truly national service, they would possess an asset that no one else had. Something completely unique to the hospitality industry: a database of virtually all of the group meeting activity that occurs in hotels.
The universality and uniqueness of the Knowland database
It took about two years to get there but that is exactly what the Knowland Group now has. Big hotels, small hotels, suburban, city center, resorts, branded, independent, luxury, mid-scale, limited service, the database contains details on tens of thousands of events recorded at every conceivable type of hotel. And it is ever growing. Every month 60,000 to 70,000 new events are added.
In addition to details on the events, the Knowland service combines address, phone number, website, department details and meeting planner names, contact information, phone numbers, job titles and more for the groups holding these events. Corporate, government, association, social, educational, religious, fraternal, any organization who has held in event in a hotel, over 270,000 of them, chances are they are in the Knowland database.
Why it Matters
Data-mining, micro-targeting and marketing for group vs. transient business
The hospitality industry has been a true pioneer in the science of data-mining. In fact, the travel industry, really invented many of the concepts now taken for granted across much of corporate America. Loyalty programs, targeted discounts during non-peak periods, pricing and marketing methodologies designed to increase profits from perishable products; this is something hotels do very well.
But virtually all of the creative thinking in this regard has occurred on the transient (non-group) side of the hospitality industry. The group side, by some estimates accounting for up to 30% of all hotel revenue, is still stuck in very old business practices. Based in many instances on archaic RFP and proposal processes, there are massive inefficiencies. If hotels could perfect their proactive sales efforts, the competitive advantages would be staggering.
In many ways Knowland seeks to address this issue head on. To help hotels target the right groups with the right message. To figure out where it’s appropriate to apply thinking that has become common practice on the transient side to the more complex and more difficult group side. But also Knowland seeks to apply concepts from other industries. Micro-targeting techniques developed for political campaigns, message or sales pitch segmentation practices used in the retail industry, campaign tracking and metrics for call centers, all offer insights into how business development can become a science instead of guesswork and wishes. And it all starts with an awesome database.