Hoteliers know that guests value a great experience. Guests want to be surprised and delighted by their stay with you. The challenge today’s hotel marketers often face is ensuring that a great brand experience is delivered across every instance of consumer interaction, both online and offline, so that your brand itself—not any one specific channel or outlet—is the experience.
How are hotels delivering these experiences today—and how will they evolve going forward?
Read this article to learn:
What omnichannel marketing means
How to acquire and use data to surprise and delight guests (with examples)
The best way to future-proof your approach to Digital Experience Management efforts
A great experience is an omnichannel experience
For the last few years, marketers have focused on making sure their brand and message is consistently displayed across their marketing channels; whether it be website, social media, advertising or in-person, the experience had to feel familiar at each touchpoint.
That consistent multi-channel experience is no longer enough to make a brand or hotel property stand out.
Today’s experiences need to be relevant, contextual and personalized to the consumer at each of those touchpoints. That’s what makes those experiences memorable—they’re tailored to the consumer’s needs and interests, at each stage of their buying journey, making their experience with your brand unique. The individual channels, whether online or offline, fade into the background, and a personal experience with your brand—a true omnichannel experience—becomes the foreground.
That sounds like a tall order for marketers. The good news is that there’s technology and data available to help you bring these experiences to life for your guests from first point of contact through return.
Great experiences rely on capturing and leveraging the right data
As soon as someone interacts with you online, you can start collecting data from them. Each visit a guest makes to your website, each page they visit, each ad they click or Facebook post they like, the more data is available for you to capture.
That data in turn is used to deliver more personalized, contextual experiences, and the more data you have, the more targeted and relevant those experiences become. You can go from presenting the same content on your website that everyone sees, to presenting content that’s tailored to that specific guest; from your doorman saying hello to every customer to greeting every customer by name and knowing whether they’re at your property for a business trip, spa getaway or family vacation.
The data needed to deliver these experiences can be segmented into four types:
- IP and geo-location data – where your visitors are coming from
- Browser data – the types of devices being used, as well as referral data (the last site the visitors used)
- Behavior data – what the visitor actually does while visiting your site
- Guest profile data – personal information about individual guests, gathered and stored over time in your CRM and automation platform.
Again, moving from knowing what data to capture, to capturing it, and then using it to deliver those experiences sounds like an overwhelming task for marketers. It’s important to remember that no one gets there overnight. As with any new innovation or initiative, it’s best to build a solid foundation of technology solutions, and then take a crawl-walk-run approach to delivering the end-user experiences.
Start small with relevant, data-driven experiences
A great starting point for a personalized experience is to use a visitors’ geo-location to present your hotel website in the right language and your rates in the right currency, and if they’re on their phone, you render the site for mobile. A visitor on their phone in Paris should see your mobile-optimized site in French, with rates presented in Euros, while a visitor on their desktop in Los Angeles should see the desktop site in English and American dollars.
Another foundation-building effort is using cookies to know when a visitor is arriving at your website for the first time, or if they’re a return visitor. The Set Hotels makes a great first impression using a “first visit trigger” tool that displays a visually stunning photo story to first-time visitors that reinforces the Set Hotels’ unique brand and vision – to re-invent what people think of grand hotels and establish themselves as the grand hotels of our time. The Set Hotels doesn’t want first-time visitors to just jump in to the website; they want to tell their story and experience their brand first.
However, a second-time visitor doesn’t need to experience that journey again. That visitor is presented with a more transactional approach to the website, and can move straight to learning about individual properties and booking rooms.
The Set Hotels using a ‘first visit trigger’.
You can’t create a great experience without great data
Today’s hotel websites need to do more than just show off your property and let people book online; they need to deliver relevant, memorable experiences with your brand based on data. If your hotel website isn’t able to offer these experiences, it’s time to upgrade to a hotel-specific Digital Experience Management solution that offers personalization and content control, with an efficient, user-friendly back-end.
That will ensure you’re ready to compete today. But what about tomorrow? To future-proof your investment, look ahead to emerging trends such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. What if your CMS could serve up content and learn, from the way users interact with that content, what content to serve next, or serve to similar users? How do you use that knowledge to extend your messaging across all customer engagement channels? What if you could deliver even more targeted, personalized experiences, on social media, in email, on your website and at the hotels?
Achiga’s Live Enterprise is a unique solution that offers plug-and-play deployment and with flexible modules that allow it scale as you grow. Developed for the specific demands of the hospitality industry, Live Enterprise gives hotel chains the ability to deliver engaging omnichannel digital marketing experiences to guests through an easy to learn and use experience management platform.