Getting Personal: HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy Conference Takeaways
While personalization is not a new topic, the level of emphasis it has received at the HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy Conference this year signifies how important it is to fine-tune the customization of hotel marketing and service. Personalization is necessary at every step along the guest journey from the hundreds of micro-moments guests have across the booking path to their actual stay to the way you handle their information after that.
What it all boils down to is determining how to personalize the experience before the guest ever crosses the threshold. Ultimately, asking how you can be more hospitable, and, therefore, more effective and more profitable? Asked in a crowded room, this question will elicit a variety of responses, but chief among them is, as Beth Harvey notes, “integrating the most successful and powerful solutions with one another to create a customer-centric platform that gives an experience in a way no one else can” (HotelNewsNow).
Some will use this idea as further justification for investing three-quarter of their marketing budgets in digital efforts, despite the fact that only 30-40% of revenue is booked via website. Digital marketing is certainly useful for personalization; however, to Harvey’s point above, integration is the key. This means integration from all points of the guest path—voice channel, brand channel, GDS, OTA, and so forth. This requires a hospitality-centric CRM, which is ideally integrated with a marketing platform and with a well-trained call center.
An appropriate consideration of the role of digital in personalization then invests some of that digital budget in supporting the hefty percentage of guests that are calling in while or after visiting the website. It also includes investments in the CRM platform that will be used to support the lifetime value of the guest. For instance, when the CRM is integrated with reservations technology, agents are instantaneously offered access to guest’s previous stay details. Room preferences, activities, previous packages booked, and more are readily available to personalize the conversation to a level that digital technology has not yet achieved.
Simply put, digital technology offers the tools to gather information, however to truly personalize, hotels must be prepared to integrate this valuable data on the human plane—through reservations agents, the front desk, the spa desk, the restaurant.
About Michelle Marquis
Michelle Marquis is Vice President, Sales and Marketing at NAVIS. Michelle joined NAVIS in 2006 after serving as Director of Sales and Marketing at Mount Bachelor Village Resort in Bend, Oregon. As a previous NAVIS “power user”, she successfully utilized The NAVIS Way to help her resort increase their conversion rates and bring in incremental revenue from their existing call volume. Michelle draws on her 20+ years of hospitality sales experience heading up the NAVIS Sales Consultant team. As NAVIS continues to grow at a rapid pace, Michelle also focuses on the company’s strategic expansion and exciting path to international markets. She is a frequent speaker at numerous hospitality events around the U.S., including the Google Travel Conference, HSMAI and Preferred Hotel Group. Michelle has a deep understanding of what it takes to drive revenue in the hospitality industry and is driven to help hotels, resorts and vacation rental companies be more successful.