How do you personalize marketing for millions? In today’s digital world consumers expect relevant experiences tailored to their personal needs and desires. Today’s technology and its ability to collect and connect vast amounts of data provide the opportunity for hotel marketers to cater to and predict what consumers want and provide it to them in a compelling and experiential manner. Powerful data driven personalization could be a hotel marketer’s dream come true if consolidated in a way that is actionable and privacy law compliant.

Below is a partial transcript of a panel discussion titled The Hotel Marketer’s Guide to Personalization at Scale held at HITEC Houston 2018. Achiga’s President, John McAuliffe was one of three panelists and Michael Bennett, Cendyn SVP of Global Marketing + Business Development moderated the discussion.

Read this article to learn:

✔ How to enable automated, predictive and relevant guest engagement across the entire traveler life-cycle
✔ Hands-on advice from experts in hospitality and digital marketing facing this challenge in the era of AI and GDPR

John McAuliffeJohn McAuliffe | LinkedIn
President
Achiga

Michael Bennett: Personalization can have a lot of meanings, from your seat in digital CX/CMS, where are we today and what’s coming?

John: You are right Michael, personalization is a term that is getting buzzword status and risks ending up as an empty phrase. Personalization should be about more than “Hi John, welcome to our site…”. Personalization is about delivering contextual, relevant experiences to the consumer on every one of your customers engagement channels. For this reason, I think more in terms of contextualization than personalization.

To be good at contextual marketing it is incumbent upon the digital marketer to personalize the experiences they offer consumers whether on your website, in an email push, at the front desk, in-room, a social media campaign, etc. It is about delivering content that considers the context of the customer’s current and previous interactions with your brand.

John McAuliffe at HITEC

Michael Bennett: How do you ensure a personalized experience carries from the web to an app to on-property (the entire journey)?

John: Most marketing departments have a love-hate relationship with personalization. They appreciate its value for engaging customers, but they’re intimidated by what they believe would be a substantial effort.

It’s not hard—but it requires knowing all your customer’s current “in-the-moment” and previous interactions, so you can predict what they want at the very moment they connect with your digital channel.

Personalization starts with and relies upon data. This data is typically in four types – traffic acquisition data, anonymous visitor data, profile data and visitor’s real time interactions. You have to first collect and connect the relevant data, so you can tailor content to what the customers actually care about.

The harder part, if you don’t have the proper technology, is providing the content that mirrors the mapped customer journey across multiple channels. Too many brands have content sitting in different platforms and applications and so even if they have connected the data and even if they have mapped a data-driven customer journey they can’t deliver contextual content because they have a mismatch of that content in their multiple systems.

A central digital experience management system that provides the ability to deliver content independent of channel or presentation layer is the best way to deliver a personalized experience across any channel in real time – such that what the user starts on one channel can be completed on another. That’s contextual marketing, and it requires contextual data, robust content management and omnichannel automation so content can be distributed to any channel.

Michael Bennett: How do you measure the success (KPIs) for personalization?

John: I read an eConsultancy article that stated organizations that use personalization enjoy a 19% increase in key conversion rates on average.

The KPIs you will set for the measurement of your program should be aligned with your strategic goals, so they could be room night conversions, or they could be registered loyalty members or any other type of value that is a measurable reflection of optimized engagement among customers and potential customers.

Michael Bennett: What is the one thing I should be thinking about today if I am wanting to go down the personalization path?

John: You should identify where you are in the process. Personalization is a Crawl, Walk, Run initiative.

And… you do not have to personalize every interaction for every customer all the time.

You should identify where you are in the process. Personalization is a Crawl, Walk, Run initiative.

John McAuliffePresident, Achiga

If you are new to this let’s crawl – a really simple first initiative is to give first time visitors to your website a special welcome. This should be easily configurable in your CMS by creating a rule based “first visit” trigger and content that explicitly or implicitly welcomes first time visitors to the site and offers a “how can we help you” message or path so you can begin to understand their “in-the-moment” intent.

Conversely you should be welcoming existing customers like existing customers. And if you don’t have persistent login to with your website one simple way of doing this is by sending existing customer segments by tagging email campaigns and directing them to landing pages personalized to them based on their interaction and profile data.

Again, this should be easily configurable in your CMS… if either of these quick wins are not doable in your CMS come and see me after the talk.

To learn more about unlocking the power of personalization, and the types of technologies and solutions that can help, download our e-book, The Hotel Marketer’s Guide to Personalization, now.

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