Mobile Geo-Targeting Makes 'Just in Time' a Reality for Hotels

By Jared Simon Chief Operating Officer, HotelTonight | January 28, 2018

In the 1960s and 1970s, Toyota revolutionized supply chain management when it perfected the just-in-time (JIT) model. Now more widely known as "lean manufacturing," the JIT model reduces costs and waste because manufacturers only order supplies as customers place orders. Before JIT, manufacturers would stockpile the goods they needed to make cars at the expense of ordering it in bulk up front and finding places to house it.

JIT proved revolutionary at the time not only because of the savings and efficiencies it generated, but also because its successful execution meant seamless coordination between customers, manufacturers, and suppliers. It took nearly fifteen years to perfect, but once Toyota was able to prove its effectiveness, companies across the globe started to adopt it as the standard.

Because of static supply, hoteliers haven't had the opportunities to generate those same kinds of lean efficiencies. It would be nice to scale rooms up and down to exactly match unpredictable demand, but without bending the laws of physics, that's out of the picture. While hoteliers have explored different pricing and placement models to fill vacancies, the average hotel occupancy rate still hovers near 65%-even with the proliferation of more easily accessible sales through online travel agents (OTAs).

Today, the widespread use of mobile applications and the effectiveness of mobile targeting is giving hoteliers the chance to generate their own lean efficiencies and more effectively pair demand with supply. By layering clever and forward-thinking marketing tactics on top of mobile targeting, enterprising hoteliers can better reach customers to fill last-minute vacancies without cannibalizing their best bookers or cutting into their rate strategy and diminishing overall ADRs.

If it's done right, this just might be the hotel industry's own revolutionary JIT moment.

What is Mobile Geo-Targeting and Why Does it Matter?

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Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.