How Combining Social, CRM and Behavioral Data Can Impact Your Digital Marketing

By Tim Sullivan Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Cendyn | February 01, 2015

We are living in a world of exponential data growth. Recent research from IBM claims that 90% of all data created since the dawn of humanity have been created in the past few years. Think about that for a minute… In the digital space, the volume and speed of data generation is so great it has created a multitude of challenges for businesses around the globe. How can your marketing efforts keep up?

The challenges begin with the huge volumes of data that are being generated, only some of which are being captured. And, the data being captured are often stored in disparate silos that don’t talk to each other. In a recent survey of senior level marketers 87% said that they rely on data to do their job well but only 45% believe they have sufficient access to data, and 60% said that there are neither processes implemented, organizational structures in place, nor the deep analytical skills needed to execute a comprehensive data strategy. The Big Data revolution has left a majority of marketers under-resourced and unprepared to handle the rising tide of data, unable to take meaningful action and generate any measurable results.

Think of the tremendous amount of data that is generated by your customers as they move through the Guest Lifecycle. While making their travel plans they may visit twenty different websites and interact with your brand dozens of times across multiple digital channels before they actually book a room: search, social, mobile, web, video, email, etc. And once they book, there are multiple touch-points across a myriad of hotel technology systems: CRS, PMS, CRM, Call Center, and Loyalty. Then they arrive on property and engage in a range of services and activities that are supported by more technology and systems: POS, Spa, Golf, In-room, Mobile App, etc. And finally, when they check out, we send them a satisfaction survey, encourage them to write a review, and to share their experience across social media. At every step along the way there are opportunities to create successful interactions with your brand or property through the use of data, or lose the guest and the revenue they represent to a competitor.

Many hospitality companies are not yet fully realizing the power of data-driven digital marketing because they have failed to implement a comprehensive solution capable of acquiring, managing, and effectively taking action on their data. This is why we all still receive email campaigns that begin with “Dear Guest,” immediately conveying that the exact same message was blasted to thousands of others, with no thought given as to who we are or why we travel. This is also why a loyal repeat guest and social media brand advocate when checking into their favorite hotel or brand for the umpteenth time, are often still asked, “Have you stayed with us before?” Hotels and brands have the data somewhere, but they don’t, or can’t, do anything with it. In its current state, it’s dumb data just waiting for someone to unlock the tremendous value it represents. This is one of the hospitality industries biggest opportunities.

Implementing a comprehensive data-driven marketing strategy can turn dumb data to smart data, allowing you to take action and generate impactful results. There are four key components to implementing a data-driven marketing strategy:

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Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.