Introduction

A few weeks ago, I attended the Technology for Marketing show at London’s Olympia. Over the 2 days I attended 8 seminars and I left the show with a renewed excitement about how the hotel industry can really capitalise on the latest innovations, as well as appreciating the importance of some things that have  been around a long time!

Main Takeaways

  1. Voice is the future.
  2. Personalisation needs to be fully embraced, as it is both what consumers want, and what works from a marketing perspective.
  3. Emails are still loved by consumers!

Voice Devices and Voice Marketing

The technology already exists to implant voice-activated chips into almost anything. Giving voice commands is commonplace in modern cars and ownership of devices such as Echo is booming. However very few people currently search for products via a voice device. The most common uses are to ask a question, stream music and check the weather. Amazon, not surprisingly, currently has the largest market share of ‘voice’, and an impressive 54% of product searches are already transactional, with success levels similar to the early days of the internet.

Voice devices will inevitably evolve to accept multi-step commands, at which point they will become an essential part of any marketers toolkit, especially the hotel marketer. They will also soon inevitably have in-built security, which is currently a major weakness and would deter most people from even thinking about conducting a monetary transaction via Alexa! I can envisage hotel marketers eventually using ‘voice’ to augment their other marketing activities. Imagine you ask Alexa what the weather forecast is for the Cotswolds at the weekend and are then promoted with suggestions of hotels to stay in & restaurants to eat in, with a possibility of then booking these?

Personalisation

Research into the Customer Mindset by pure 360  showed how much customers value personalisation at every step of communication from a brand, or when making a purchase. 88% of people prefer shopping with retailers who offer personalised cross-channel experiences, and retailers confirmed that they see higher conversion rates when they use personalisation.

Hotels have so much data about customers, especially in the Guest History, and so long as GDPR laws are complied with, there are so many marketing opportunities to take advantage of.

What makes personalisation great, according to this research?

  • It’s contextual
  • It’s seamless (because of people constantly swapping devices)
  • It’s dynamic and blended into the content
  • There is transparency about the data you hold

It is a fine line between brilliant personalisation and being creepy!

I feel that hotels could do so much more to personalise the web experience, especially when customers reach the booking process.

Email Marketing

Surprisingly, the research by pure 360 showed that more millennials find out about products from emails than any of the social media channels. It came out as the most relevant channel. Email is probably the marketing tool that is easiest to personalise, which may account for its ongoing success, when many marketers thought its days were numbered with the growth of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Email may have taken a slight backseat in the eyes of marketers, but customers feel otherwise.

The above article was written by Pamela Carvell as a result of attending seminars at the Technology For Marketing Show 2018. Much of the above information came from presentations by Vodafone and pure 360.

A longer version of the article may be found at hotelmarketing4u.wordpress.com


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