How Marketing Automation Can Harm Your Guest Experience

By Sherry Heyl Founder & Consultant, Amplified Concepts | June 03, 2018

You have a question, a request, a complaint so you pick up the phone to call the hotel. Instead of being greeted with a friendly person ready to help you, you are greeted with a recording of a friendly voice providing you limited options to choose from to get to the next recording with limited options. After navigating through this tree of limited options you get to a real person.

The relief you feel at the opportunity to communicate with an actual human swiftly fades when you realize that the person on the other end is following an if/then script. If you tell them you're frustrated then they apologize, if you tell them problem "A" then they respond with option "3". Nothing about this person-to-person interaction is authentically human. You resign yourself to the fact that this is the way business interactions happen and you switch yourself into robot mode to go through the motions to get the result you are seeking.

We have all been through this experience. More often than not we do not enjoy it. Although the automated service and scripted responses may be efficient, they do not help a brand to stand out. Automation removes the "relationship" from customer relationship management making the process more customer management. But on a spreadsheet, the numbers can convincingly show more customers "served" with a "satisfying" result at a "lower" cost.

Based on the positive bottom line results of automating customer service it is not surprising that many brands are now investing in automated sales and marketing software. Recent studies show that brands using automation software have seen 80% growth in lead generation and 77% increase in conversion.

The numbers suggest that automation software is great for the bottom line, but is it a great experience for your guests?

Set it and Forget it

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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.