It’s time to get up close and personal in the hospitality industry
Obtaining email addresses and other data from potential customers in the hospitality and tourism sector can sometimes be a challenge. Hotel guests and users of other hospitality services are often wary of giving away personal data or they might lie with a third party.
How many of us haven’t booked holidays through sites like Booking.com, Trivago or Momondo? More often than not, customer data does not get passed from these services on to the end service provider. So it can prevent the hotel where you are staying from sending you personalised communications.
A digital transformation in the hospitality, tourism and leisure sector is creating new and exciting ways to offer customers a personal experience and build brand loyalty. So what could you do to capture and then use data in surprising ways, making your company stand out?
Quality data allows you to create ‘in the moment’ marketing opportunities
Naturally, the use of data is key to building a 360-degree view of each customer so you can pinpoint exactly where they on their customer journey. The more personalised the message, the more likely you are to be successful in requesting more data and the more effective your campaigns are likely to be. But how does this work in practical terms? Here are a few examples combining of quality data and creativity:
- Selfie Stations: Leading hotel chains are creating ‘selfie stations’ in and around their hotels and resorts to encourage visitors to post social media pictures on Instagram and other social media platforms. This includes branded hashtags. Why not insert this user-generated content in your emails as a form of ‘visual reviews’?
- Dynamic content emails: Getting personal with your email marketing can lift conversion rates by around 12% (Choi, 2015). Go beyond first names. Data on purchasing history, booking preference, geofencing around resort hotspots and targeted on-location offers can help you stand out in the inbox by offering value.
- Booking retargeting: According to hotel booking experts, NetAffinity, e-commerce checkout abandonment rates are around 81%. A study carried out by Milward Brown for Expedia found that in the 45 days leading up to a booking, a consumer would visit the same travel website up to 38 times. Retargeting email campaigns combined with on-screen prompts and paid marketing campaigns can yield conversion rates of around 30%.
- Loyalty schemes: These been around for a while, but with the rise of more travel price comparison sites, it’s a good way to capture data. However, in order for loyalty schemes to work, you need to be focused on providing the right incentives and value. Analyse purchase patterns and customer behavior to identify key conversion opportunities, treat VIP customers differently from all others, and use gamification to move customers through different loyalty levels.
- Mobile campaigns: You’ve heard this a lot, but did you know that on average, 21% of hotel bookings take place on mobile devices? Retailing Today recently reported that smartphones accounted for 94% of the increase in e-commerce traffic during 2015. This shows no sign of slowing down.
Connect all your marketing channels with clear, consistent messages
The digital transformation in hospitality, tourism and leisure still has a long way to go. It’s no longer just about email and social media marketing. Digital technology has to be embraced across the organization’s entire operation to make it easy to roll out new ideas and bring new features to market. Winners in the sector understand the big picture and ensure clear, consistent messages at every touch point. Clarity and consistency working alongside smart data analysis is a winning combination.