Delivering personalized and relevant digital experiences has been a hot topic for hotel digital marketers over the past couple of years. And 2018 was not an exception. Leading hospitality technology gurus all wrote or talked about the importance of delivering personalized experiences throughout the guest journey. Hospitality- and travel media companies were publishing articles and research on how modern always-on guests now expects the digital experience to be a part of the overall experience. 2018 made one thing clear for hotel digital marketers: The online experience has become inseparable from the customer journey.

This article will address the role of APIs in allowing hotel brands to deliver personalized experiences and why it is necessary for hotel digital marketers to use a CMS with extensive API functionality.

Read this article to learn:

✔ The role of APIs in allowing hotel brands to deliver personalized experiences
✔ Why hotel digital marketers must use a CMS with extensive API functionality
✔ How CMSs are evolving to Digital Experience Management (DEM) platforms

Having customer data is vital

Hotel digital marketers cannot deliver relevant and contextual experiences to their customers without knowing them. It is important to have customer data as it helps build an understanding by highlighting the connections and interactions between customers and the hotel brand.

Data, however, is abundant and comes in many formats, from many sources and is stored in many different tools. It is not uncommon for hotel digital marketers to have a MarTech stack with the following core tools:

  • Marketing automation
  • Web tracking
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Content Management System (CMS)

All this data means nothing if it can’t be unified, analyzed, and acted upon.

APIs are the gateway between hotel brands and their customer data

When travelers are searching for hotels on travel websites, they can see up to thousands of hotels being searched for and the results appear on their screen in seconds. These results are delivered thanks to APIs: the travel website interacts with several different independent hotels to find the results you’re looking for and reports back.

Below is an example of a search results page from World Hotels:

World Hotels Search Result Page

Not only can APIs assist with showing room availability, they can also show room rates in real time. Below is an example from TheList Rewards in which APIs are delivering data from various ‘sources’ such as Central Reservation Systems:

TheList Rewards

From Content Management to Digital Experience Management

Consumers don’t think in channel terms. They search, shop, buy and experience through various channels and mediums. They expect to a seamless and omnichannel experience. In this type of environment boundaries between channels vanish. Hotel digital marketers are unfortunately still using legacy CMS systems to publish content on websites, however, in an omnichannel environment, a website is just one among many channels. A modern CMS, also called a Digital Experience Management platform (DEM) can deliver content to different channels irrespective of presentation layer or device.  Using APIs, and de-coupling front-end applications from the content manager a DEM can adapt content to different channels such as an online kiosk, digital signage, mobile apps, call centers etc.

The modern hotel guest is no longer visiting your hotel website from one source. Thanks to modern technology, the digital savvy guest is jumping between websites, digital communication channels, social media sites and apps. The travel journey is no longer linear and predictable. It is fragmented with several micro-moments and marketers need to orchestrate the digital experience that the guest is now exposed to.

What’s the solution?

Until now, managing consistent and personalized digital experiences across an omnichannel environment has been a significant challenge for hotel marketers. Using legacy systems, hotel marketers were and are still only building websites. This restricts hotel marketers ability to curate and deliver great digital experiences across all of the brand’s owned digital channels.

A content-centric Digital Experience Management (DEM) system, built specifically for hotels and designed for omnichannel marketing with extensive API functionality is the only solution we recommend.

Want to learn more? Download The Hotel Marketer’s Guide to Digital Experience Management and learn how to choose the right technology to deliver great digital experiences throughout the guest journey.