How Choice Hotels turned data into dollars

Stephen Whiteside

Identifying the right hotel for a vacation or business trip has become incredibly complex, as potential guests try to balance the information provided by search engines, user reviews and price-comparison sites with the benefits highlighted by TV spots, online ads and official brand websites.

For companies like Choice Hotels – the parent of ten separate brands, including Comfort Inn, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn – that multifaceted blend of media and messages poses a challenge when it comes to establishing precisely which ads shaped the choices made by consumers. And solving this problem has already been worth $11 million in extra revenue.

Around a year ago, Neena Graham – the organisation's senior director/marketing strategy analytics – told the Advertising Research Foundation's Audience Measurement 9.0 conference that its attempts to assess campaigns were extremely confused. The data covering the return on investment (ROI) from TV, for example, came from media-mix modelling, whereas the payback generated by paid search and online display advertising were both drawn from completely different sources.