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 January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.