Transforming Online Customer Insights Into Action

By Jerry Tarasofsky CEO, iPerceptions Inc. | January 27, 2012

You need to have a mechanism in place that can capture the true feelings of your visitors. It makes perfect common sense to hear and listen to what people have to say. The more you listen, the sooner you can take action to create an experience that really connects with your guests. Feedback is particularly important for the marketing team working on your site. To be effective, your marketing team needs to get inside the hearts and minds of your customers to discover the issues that matter most to them - in real-time and with exact details. They need to know what if any changes to the site might enhance the customer's level of satisfaction. They need to be able to listen to what customers have to say and paint a picture of the strengths and weaknesses of your visitor's experience. Once you understand who, when, and why visitors are coming to your site, if you have the right analytics, you can start to predict the key criteria of user satisfaction. As well, listening helps you track trends and create benchmarks to assess how your site stacks up against the competition and aggregated industry norms.

If you aren't listening to your customers then how on earth do you know what to say to them?

The key objective of most web sites in the hospitality sector is to increase revenues via online reservations. Secondary objectives are focused on supporting and enhancing your marketing and advertising efforts as well as strengthening your property's relationship with its customers. And because relationships are dynamic, what you need today to build a strong relationship with your customer may be very different from that of tomorrow so you not only have to listen to your customers, you need to do it on a continuous basis - something we call "continuous listening".

By continuously listening to and responding to what users like and don't like about your property and/or its e-commerce media, you create a strong bond with your customer that turns visitors into repeat customers and repeat customers into loyal advocates - in effect, your users become "in the trenches" visionaries for your hotel as well as advance scouts and pro bono consultants so to speak.

The key to building such loyalty is not only discovering these previously invisible connectors, but also knowing how to use them to increase the relationship with your site visitor. The deeper the bond, the greater the value each brings to the relationship, and the stronger the bond.

When organizations regard site visitors as long-term assets, they maximize this exchange of value. By listening to site visitors, responding to them and collaborating on what the relationship means from their point of view, you not only increases your web site's ROI, you gain other valuable benefits such as user advocacy, brand loyalty and trust.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.