4 recommendations from hospitality experts on building your perfect tech stack
In our 2021 Trends and Challenge webinar series, we focused on how the right technology stack and an agile approach to marketing can help you meet your guests’ evolving needs. We were joined by thought leaders from Impact Data, Avvio and Book Me Bob, who shared insights and advice on using tech and marketing to nurture guest relationships and deliver unrivalled experiences.
We’ve gathered some of the key learnings from this webinar to help you cultivate the perfect hospitality ecosystem for your business.
1. Look at technology from your guest’s perspective
Understanding how, where and when your guest encounters your tech stack is crucial to driving a better customer experience. Their journey doesn’t start at check-in; it starts at the research phase, through to booking, during their stay and continues after they’ve left. Make sure your tech is fully connected, and you are leveraging every touchpoint.
“All your places that your customer touches you need to be consistent; an experience like when you greet them at the front desk,” says Sarah Franklyn, Director of Sales and Marketing from Impact Data. “Make your technology do it because it can.”
While the world of distribution remains domestic-driven and staycation-heavy, it’s the perfect opportunity to harness the power of your website from a digital market perspective. Examine how guests interact with your website and identify any roadblocks that are preventing them from booking directly.
Technology touchpoints to consider:
Mobile-accessible portal that puts guests in full control of their booking
Triggered personalised messages at key stages of the guest journey to increase engagement
Integrated chat-bot that can answer your guest’s questions instantly and accurately
A marketing platform that connects to your business systems and extracts customer and transaction data
2. Build an effective engagement strategy
Traditional conversion rates are no longer linear; in a typical research journey, consumers will start on a search engine and move through different intermediary sites (such as online travel agents - OTAs or price comparison websites) before ultimately landing on your website. In many cases, the user will then go back to their booking channel of choice, and this is where properties are missing out on crucial direct booking opportunities.
Guest journey moments [Source: Google]
In a COVID environment, people are extending their pre-booking journey by researching longer, over different devices. According to Michael de Jongh, Chief Commercial Officer of Avvio, first-time visitors to your website generally won’t book direct on that first visit, which is why it’s important that your website messages reflect your audience. Focusing more on consistently providing the information they’re looking for based on their searches, selections and page interactions increases the booking intent by double when they re-visit your website, as they can simply pick up where they left off.
Booking intent: returning vs first-timers
Engagement tools to leverage:
Segmented email campaigns to keep your brand front of mind
Two-way SMS to spark meaningful conversations
- Digital marketing to help generate direct revenue
3. Transition from flat marketing to conversational
Historically, conversational marketing has been limited to phone calls, emails and face-to-face communications. But since the increased adoption of digital technology, consumers are used to getting immediate answers to their questions and have come to expect this instantaneity. Adopting smart AI chatbots not only provides these on-the-spot answers but also assist in collecting vast amounts of data in the background, which can be repurposed to enhance your guest’s ongoing journey.
Conversational marketing statistics
Top tip: utilise conversational marketing to elevate your website or Facebook page. By layering flat contextual content with a real-time engagement tool, you have a much higher chance of driving customers through your booking process.
4. Use aggregated data to its maximum potential
When a guest makes a reservation, their data is automatically stored in the PMS, which you can then extract to enrich their on-site experience. But what about other visitors to your property who haven’t necessarily shared their details during the booking process? It could be a guest’s partner, restaurant diners, event attendees, spa visitors; this is where assets such as free WiFi create immense value. When visitors sign into your WiFi, you automatically capture their data, giving you the opportunity to start building a lasting relationship with that customer.
Tap into this aggregated data to:
Encourage guests to book directly next time they visit
Send personalised emails with curated upsell options based on their preferences (identified through their data)
Boost occupancy in low season by tailoring offers to your previous (and valued) visitors
Customising your tech stack to harness guest intent works two-fold by also supporting the evolution of your business strategy. Identify your gaps and work with your PMS provider to find the perfect integration partners that will enhance your business success.
Catch up on the webinar below or via our YouTube channel:
Download your free copy of our 2021 Trends and Challenges report.