Going Digital: A Marketing Platform That Makes Sense

By Robert King General Manager, Travel & Hospitality, ClickSquared | February 09, 2010

I've talked in previous articles about technology having a profound impact on the nature of guest relationships, that impact has never been as profound as it is in today's marketplace. Today there are more communications channels and media types than ever before. Social influences are having a greater impact, and there's been a far greater shift in the control of the transactions and relationships. Now guests are calling the shots, dictating the timing and preferences for communications and engagement.

For marketers, this new customer-driven, fast-paced environment mandates a new approach to optimize engagement – the points of contact with the brand – and maximize the guest's lifetime value. Unfortunately, most traditional database-driven marketing solutions fall far short of these goals. They fail to deliver a comprehensive view of all of the guest's transaction history, interactions, preferences, media choices and other metrics. They can't deliver real-time data to drive instant decisions and responses. They lack efficient ways to share information across channels. And, they don't deliver the timeliness and relevance that guests have come to expect and demand.

That's why savvy marketers are increasingly looking to engage the full spectrum of two-way communication – online, offline, telephone, and face-to-face. Marketers need to draw on the power, fluidity and dynamism of online channels, from e-mail to Web 2.0 by adding the rigor and science of structured database marketing disciplines, and backing it with the solid execution of sound, proven online and offline marketing communication competencies. This unifies the capability to drive online and offline marketing - in real-time – with intelligent models and timely performance measures.

But as companies begin implementing these strategies it quickly becomes apparent that there are a variety of requirements to consider - including what type of platform to execute on. A digital marketing platform should support a long-term vision encompassing a complete range of services and facilities in an integrated management and communication system including:

Marketing Intelligence

Marketers need to convert raw guest data into coherent marketing information and analysis that provides insights into outbound communication strategies, targeting and segmentation, and important (perhaps previously unnoticed) trends, allowing organizations to make better investment decisions.

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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.