Finding the perfect vacation rental
Wyndham Vacation Rentals helps families find the vacation spot of their dreams. Vacationers visiting the site can choose from more than 9,000 professionally managed rental properties in 19 different North American locations. With a dizzying number of properties and destination options, Wyndham faces many challenges when trying to perfect the customer experience.
First, given the seasonal nature of the travel industry, it was essential for customers to see all available and relevant properties in their search results. And yet, faced with so many options, some customers were having difficulty finding the property that best met their needs. Wyndham recognized that the site’s user experience needed improvement, fast.
Meanwhile, the company wanted to better understand how seasonality affected the lead time on vacation searches. This insight would help the marketing team better align their programs and budget with peaks in consumer demand.
To make these improvements, Wyndham needed customer insights. To understand who its customers were, what influenced their purchasing decisions, and when they planned their vacations, the company turned to Google Analytics 360 and Google Tag Manager 360.
Meeting customer expectations
Wyndham needs its properties to be occupied as often as possible to increase profits. This means all available and relevant properties need to appear in customers’ search results. Naturally, the company wanted properties’ length-of-stay restrictions to align with a customer’s needs. However, its back-end system was set up so that the length-of-stay restrictions didn’t align with the number of nights a customer wanted to spend in a vacation rental. This misalignment was decreasing bookings.
To solve the problem, Wyndham used Tag Manager 360 to implement Analytics 360 custom dimensions, which are non-standard dimensions specific to its business. Wyndham created these in order to identify the date ranges customers were searching for, and further learn the typical desired length of stay for each rental property. With Tag Manager 360, Wyndham easily integrated this information without even having to change the code on its site.
As an example, in the state of Delaware the back-end system was set so properties only appeared in search results for seven-night stays. Customers interested in visiting Delaware often searched for three-night stays, but the seven-night stay restriction prevented available inventory from appearing. As a result, Wyndham was showing fewer rental options and booking fewer rental properties.
Once Wyndham learned this key insight, the team acted quickly to adjust back-end rules. Satisfying demand improved both customer satisfaction and the Wyndham's bottom line.
Analytics 360 gives us the flexibility to customize digital information in a manner that makes it easy to answer our business questions.
, Director of eCommerce Analytics, Wyndham Vacation Rentals
Making search more profitable
Wyndham also wanted to make sure that the site’s property search tool was turning searchers into renters. To do this, the team needed to better align search parameters to display properties most likely to lead to bookings. With a wide array of property attributes and amenities, Wyndham had to determine which attributes customers searched for the most and what combinations produced the best conversion rates.
The team implemented custom dimensions for each attribute and amenity, allowing them to integrate the information in Analytics 360, and then analyze the data for insights. Wyndham found that while a “scenic view” was one of the top attributes customers included in their searches, it had a lower conversion rate compared to other features.
Wyndham redesigned the search results page so properties with the most profitable mix of attributes appeared on the first page. The information was also shared with the business development team to help them look for the right attributes when researching new properties to add to the Wyndham family.
Budgeting with confidence
Finally, Wyndham wanted to make the best possible use of marketing budgets. The company needed to understand how vacationers’ lead time varied by property to better match demand with marketing campaign timelines and spend.
Once again, the team turned to custom dimensions in Analytics 360. To determine the lead time, Wyndham gathered estimated check-in dates from customer searches, then calculated the difference between actual check-in dates and the dates on which customers searched. Analytics 360 allowed the team to then align those insights with rental locations.
The company found that some properties’ lead times were 36 to 42 days, while others’ were only 8 to 14 days. Monitoring trends on a regular basis helped Wyndham distinguish patterns, predict customer demand, and forecast how marketing budgets should be allocated throughout the year. For example, the team can use lead time information to identify search trends for holiday getaways, such as Labor Day weekend excursions, and adjust marketing plans as a result.
Boosting engagement and bookings
With the Google Marketing Platform, Wyndham Vacation Rentals was able to see a broader picture of behavior and preferences. The company achieved measurable improvements in the booking path by streamlining the online experience and optimizing search results pages. These improvements helped customers maintain interest, and Wyndham saw a 30% surge in property search clickthrough rates.