Embracing a New Frontier to Hotel Marketing
By Sapna Mehta Mangal Associate Professor, School of Hospitality Management, Kendall College at National Louis University | June 04, 2017
The 21st century discerning digital native traveler can be clearly characterized as hyper connected, better informed, and technology savvy. In this "Age of I" hotel brands need to gain a competitive edge by taking heed of these guests and making them feel interconnected. The next frontier is undoubtedly clear and real. This write up will focus on three marketing trends that need attention and if executed can be of grave value to any hotel businesses' marketing efforts. Mobile marketing platforms, predictive analytics strategies and contextual marketing tactics are new hotel marketing frontiers. Hoteliers cannot lose sight of these in the next decade.
When it comes to capturing, rendering and viewing on a smaller screen it is important to underscore that today's digital traveler is more and more accepting of the myriad of mobile platforms. This growing trend is real. According, to a 2016 emarketer study, out of the 55.6 million United States adults who will book trips using their mobile devices in 2017, 79.5% will use their smartphone to book at least once in the calendar year. Travel bookings on mobile devices are surging while it is expected that desktop and laptop bookings will decline over time. Hotels, airlines, and online travel sites augment their websites on mobile devices and develop transactional apps for ease of booking.
Lodging businesses pay attention to this mcommerce shift that is transcending across borders and across generational cohorts. Digital users like millennials travel more now and exude a great reliance on mobile technology when it comes to sharing experiences and uploading photos across social media platforms. We are treading in the "Age of I." One of the highly anticipated and untapped mobile app tactic is channeling push notifications via Beacon technology. This technology can be used to promote and persuade in house guests and foot traffickers to patronize outlets.
This is a relatively new revenue stream that has only been embraced by a small percentage of lodging businesses. Also developing mobile apps to push messaging, pull information, check in guests and conduct transactions should be priority for pre, during and post guest experiences. Delivering exceptional customer service is paramount. Each guest is worth more than the value of their one time stay. Even after a guest departs there is looming revenue to be gained, from re-booking to gaining traction from referrals. There is a surge of travel review sites and social media platforms. This means the referral impact is amplified at a greater rate than ever before. To mitigate any referral backlash and maintain a positive share of voice, real time action and intervention throughout a guest's stay is essential.
Pushing guest related queries via mobile devices followed by prompt staff resolution efforts is an effective mitigation tactic. Moreover, with mobile devices, real time surveys can be highly relevant, for example a guest visiting a spa can fold into a marketing windfall by querying guests about the spa cleanliness or their spa experience. Furthermore, if Wi-Fi is available in the bar, then engaging with guests to try out a restaurant special can also be a marketing win.
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