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?

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.