Personalization has been a marketing buzzword for years now, but there’s a reason it’s lingered and remains top of mind for today’s marketers: when used correctly, it’s a substantial difference-maker in creating a memorable digital experience that makes a lasting impression on customers.

Read this article to learn:

✔ Why personalization matters
✔ How to use personalization to have a conversation with your customers
✔ How to keep them engaged throughout the conversation

According to data from Business2Community, 96% of marketers say that personalization helps them improve their relationships with their customers, and another 88% say that customers and prospects expect a personalized experience.

Yet more than half of marketers say that the industry isn’t using personalization effectively.

Hoteliers have even more opportunity to get it right. After all, who captures more data about their customers than a hotel? You know where your guests are from, how big their family is, what kind of vacations they like, where they like to eat, and more.

Why not use that data to improve your relationship with your guests; to enhance the digital experience, to provide extra value throughout their journey—from consideration to booking, through their stay and beyond—and in return, build loyalty and retention?

Have a conversation, not a shouting match

Today’s consumers, including hotel customers, are bombarded with information constantly. Even things that users sign up for and genuinely want quickly get forgotten and lost in the endless stream of emails, newsletters, promoted Tweets and targeted ads.

Personalization helps you improve engagement, ensure relevance, and stand out and rise above the noise.

Think of your personalization efforts like a conversation at a party. You’re talking with two other people whom you’ve just met. As they’re speaking, you’re listening to what they’re saying, and formulating a response that isn’t just a random thought, but a thoughtfully considered response to the topic at hand. One that will keep them engaged and wanting to talk with you more, rather than wandering off to chat with someone else.

Your personalized marketing efforts are the same. When a potential guest indicates interest or books a stay on your property, don’t just deliver some generic brochure-speak; follow-up with information that is relevant to them and their needs.

Creating a truly personalized experience requires digital tailoring focused on a feature which is based on data from a number of different sources. There are four main sources of data a hotel marketer can use to create tailored digital experiences:

  • Trigger-based: User activity on your website or digital channels triggers specific content to be served.
  • Behavior-based: User activity allows that user to be segmented into a specific persona, and content based on that persona is served.
  • User set: Users establish their own preferences via mechanisms on your website.
  • Profile-based: A user profile is established and built open over time, usually in your CRM, and content is served based on what you know about the user.

Data from all of these sources is needed to build a truly personalized and contextualized digital experience for your customers. When considering how to move your personalization efforts forward, be sure to use technology that allows this to happen.

When you use that data to deliver relevant information as part of a memorable digital experience that surprises and delights your prospects and guests, you increase the likelihood of them engaging and purchasing from you: Data shows that almost 80% of consumers will only engage with personalized offers.

Be sure to follow through

Let’s go back to that dinner party. Things are winding down, and that engrossing conversation is wrapping up. You turn to one of your new acquaintances and say, I read a great book on the subject, I can’t remember the name of it but give me your card and I’ll email it to you. He or she is touched, appreciates the gesture, gives you the card and says, “thanks, I’m really looking forward to reading it.”

But then you never follow up. Pretty disappointing engagement for your new friend, isn’t it?

Once again, your personalized marketing efforts are similar. Creating a great digital experience isn’t just a sales or booking tool; it’s process that continues pre-stay, carries through the guest’s stay with you, and continues through to checkout and beyond. It’s that ongoing effort that turns your visitors into a long-term customers, fans and advocates.

That means:

  • Personalizing confirmation emails before they arrive, including stay details, itineraries, weather, events and amenities
  • Using text and chat apps to deliver offers and activities
  • Leveraging data to provide personalized in-person interactions, where your staff know about your guests’ behaviors and preferences and make recommendations throughout their stay
  • Personalized checkout emails, follow-up surveys and offers
  • Loyalty programs to develop long-term relationships

Surprising and delighting your guests isn’t something that A) just happens or B) ends when the guest has booked, or checked in, or even checked out and paid their bill. Using personalization to create a memorable digital experience is an ongoing effort. And finding the right tools to make those efforts efficient and worthwhile are key. Marketing automation, CRM, and content management systems can help.

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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