How Prepared Is Revenue Management for the Emergence of the Connected Customer?

By Ally Northfield Managing Director, Revenue by Design | September 30, 2018

Today's biggest consumer segments are those that have been constantly connected since birth – this is not just the millennial generation but those that succeed them and these are defined as the connected customers. They live in a digital age that is always on, with digital blended into every element of their world. Within this world, expectations of any digital interaction with a supplier or online platform is driven by the need for a seamless experience, about an experience that is meaningful, on point and interpretive of their needs, at that point in time. Which may not be the same need the next time they interact.

What Is The Connected Customer?

The connected customer lives in a world of instantaneous response, seeks instant gratification, thrives on communication that is personalised and relevant to their situation, and demands the ability to choose the product they want from the channel that they choose. How prepared is the revenue management community to read consumer intent and respond with an element of personalisation? Do existing technology solutions support delivering on these requirements?

How Does The Revenue Manager Role Evolve In The Face Of Changes In Customer Expectations?

The revenue role is becoming more dynamic, decisions need to be made with higher frequency, and a high level of engagement, or risk a customer moving on to a competitor product. In the recent "State of the Connected Customer" research published by Salesforce, 76% of 6,700 consumers surveyed expect businesses to understand their needs and expectations, and over 84% of customers expect to treated like an individual not a number. Customers expect the right value to be presented to them in the right way at the right time.  A straight discount off a room rate no longer hits the spot, something that is offered to everyone no longer has the same appeal. When considering what needs to be in place to deliver this, there are four key areas to consider to future proof the revenue role; data, technology, distribution, and loyalty


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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.