A recent study by McKinsey highlighted the ebb and flow of the typical accommodation-purchase journey. In their analysis, a single journey involved an average of 45 touchpoints, and these digital interactions took place back and forth between both desktop and mobile.
Why hotels need to target the entire travel journey
One of the key takeaways from the McKinsey study was that travelers are overwhelmed by choice. Rather than always selling to customers, the recommendation is to also help and inspire them to make great choices. As a hotel, this requires expanding your digital offerings and looking beyond a quick sales pitch.
Using automation for enhanced communication
It’s also important to consider that if someone has done their travel research and they’re getting ready to book, it’s far harder to steer their decision-making. There’s a much smaller window for pre-arrival communication too. But if you engage with guests earlier on, you can have a greater impact on their final booking choice and gain valuable pre-arrival information to transform their stay with you.
Major hotel chains now rely heavily on automation to drive their marketing and communication. By leveraging the latest digital tools, they can stay in touch with guests before, during, and after their stay – sending the right message at just the right moment. This allows them to build brand awareness, increase conversion rates, enhance the on-property experience, and maintain their online reputation.
Far from being the preserve of those with the deepest pockets, smaller and independent properties can now replicate this same process. The automated marketing tools used by chain hotels are now financially accessible to unbranded properties.
The suite of tools tracks each unique guest interaction with your hotel. This allows you to automatically deliver personalized content through your website and marketing. In addition to a more personal form of communication, a daily website lead report helps you identify hot prospects that are ready to convert.
The benefits of this tech-driven approach have other far-reaching benefits.
Benefits to hotels
Automated marketing can be particular advantageous in your email campaigns. Instead of sending the same generic deals to everyone, you can segment your audience and target them with tailored messages based on their individual needs and preferences.
For instance, a guest that visited the spa page on your website can be sent a personalized email with a discount off a luxury spa treatment when they book their stay with you.
David Metze, President at Incite Response said, “email is just the beginning. Marketing automation reaches peak power when you leverage every touchpoint from digital ads, social media and website visits.”
You can also increase the conversion rates for upsell and cross-sell offers by tracking how guests interact with your hotel. Based on their past browsing history, you can then send them the most relevant offers that align with their interests.
Automated emails also let you acquire pre-arrival information to personalize experiences during the stay — from managing dietary requests and room preferences to recommending relevant trips and tours. This in turn leads to happier guests that are more likely to rebook.
And the conversation doesn’t stop after check-out. An automated email can prompt customers for a review, enabling your hotel to consistently build its online reputation.
John Smallwood, CEO at Travel Outlook said, “in addition to building early brand awareness, this approach lets you lay the foundations for more fruitful relationships and guide the decision-making process long before customers are finalizing their choice of accommodation.”
The power of personalized automation
The modern-day travel journey takes place across multiple digital touchpoints. To reach your audience and drive more direct bookings, an automated approach to marketing is essential. Instead of guessing what guests wants, you can leverage a wealth of insights to deliver timely and relevant content throughout the path to purchase.
Benefits to guests
Your guests also benefit when you take this personalized approach to communication. Instead of being bombarded with irrelevant messages, they’ll receive helpful recommendations that enhance their on-stay experience.