Hotel Marketing Automation

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1 Hotel Marketing Automation By Shayne Paddock June 2013

2 Introduction Hotel Marketing Automation is technology that helps hoteliers reduce costs and optimize their limited resources by introducing automated workflow processes which take care of the routine tasks throughout the day, freeing up time so the marketing staff can be more efficient. Hotel Marketing Automation takes regular marketing to the next level. It doesn t eliminate traditional marketing, it enhances it. Using Electronic Communication to Help Guests through the Booking Process Although we d like to think they do, hotel guests don t always book their stay with your hotel right away. They shop around checking prices, they compare prices on different dates, they ask their friends where they have stayed, they check out online reviews and they ask for advice on Facebook and Twitter. It s Complex. If it s a leisure trip, first they have to decide on their destination. If it s a business trip distance to the meeting or conference is usually the first consideration. Then they have to decide what amenities and activities are important to them for that particular stay. They ll do a lot of research to find that perfect stay. Reasons booking a stay can be complex: 1. For a lot of people a vacation is a significant annual expenditure and time off is limited so guests need to choose wisely. 2. Many people do a lot of research before making the reservation. 3. It s not always easy to change a booking, flights may have been booked, meetings set, time off approved, etc. 4. It s not always just one person making the decision. Will my spouse like this hotel, are there things to do for the kids. Because the booking cycle can be complicated you need to engage your guests at the right time. Your job is to help them through this cycle by providing the right information at the right time with the right medium. With limited resources at the hotel, this is where hotel marketing automation comes in.

3 Examples of Hotel Marketing Automation Here are a few examples of very simple automated campaigns that hoteliers can setup in just minutes: Example 1 Step 1: You setup a contact us form for customers who are interested in weddings Step 2: You setup an instant alert to the sales and catering department about this new lead Step 3: The prospect gets automatically enrolled in your weddings drip marketing campaign that will the prospect every week for 4 weeks about wedding specials and amenities you currently offer Example 2 Step 1: Two days after checkout a guest satisfaction survey is automatically sent. Step 2: If after 7 days the guest hasn t filled out the survey a reminder is automatically sent Step 3: The guest fills out the survey with a score of 9.8 out of 10 so a triggered message is sent to the guest asking them to post their review on TripAdvisor or Google+. Example 3 Step 1: The day of check out a guest satisfaction survey is automatically sent to a VIP. Step 2: The VIP fills out the survey on their mobile device giving you a score of 2.7 out of 10. Step 3: An immediate alert goes to the General Manager about this poor stay and an is automatically sent to the guest apologizing for their bad experience and offering them 10% off their next stay. Step 4: The General Manager personally calls the guest and manages to talk to her in person and remediates the bad experience. Step 5: The guest is so impressed by this personal touch that she books her next reservation at the property for her business trip next week. Example 4 Step 1: Send out an marketing campaign to all your leisure guests who booked last summer but haven t booked a reservation for this summer Step 2: Target those past guests who clicked through to your website booking engine but didn t complete a booking by sending them a triggered booking abandonment 3 hours after they started the process

4 A more complicated example could be Example 5 Three possible outcomes from using one workflow Step 1: The guest receives a pre-arrival with a call to action to fill out a pre-stay survey. Step 2: The guest fills out the survey and responds that they prefer red wine upon arrival. Step 3: That choice is automatically written back to the PMS as a reservation preference for the operations staff to fulfill. Step 4: The guest arrives at the hotel and is so pleasantly surprised that their welcome drink selection was there in the room waiting for them that they tweet a picture of the wine glass to all their followers. Step 1: The guest receives a pre-arrival with a call to action to fill out a pre-stay survey. Step 2: After a couple of days the guest did not complete the survey so a reminder is sent Step 3: The guest fills out the survey and indicates that they are celebrating their anniversary. Step 4: That data is automatically written back to the PMS as a reservation comment for the operations staff to fulfill. Step 5: The guest arrives at the hotel after a long delayed flight and is delighted to find a bottle of champagne and a box of chocolates was in the room waiting for them. Step 1: The guest receives a pre-arrival with a call to action to fill out a pre-stay survey. Step 2: After a couple of days the guest did not complete the survey so a reminder is sent Step 3: After a couple of days the guest again did not complete the survey so a default choice is written back to the PMS as a reservation preference based on their gold loyalty status. Step 4: The guest arrives at the hotel after a long meeting and is so surprised by the free drink vouchers in the room waiting for him that he shares it with all his friends on Facebook.

5 Features that Go Beyond Marketing The features of hotel marketing automation that go well beyond traditional marketing are as follows: Integrated Marketing. Hotel Marketing Automation integrates your property management system, your website, your loyalty system, and any other hotel system all into one ecrm database. This is the foundation for all of your efforts. All this data flows into the ecrm database automatically eliminating the need for time consuming extracts and uploads. Event Driven s. Because of the deep integration with all your hotel systems you can automatically send out dynamic confirmation, pre-stay, on-property, and post-stay s. Each message can be highly tailored to each guest based on their profile and amenity preferences. Surveys. Hotel marketing automation allows you to quickly build attractive guest facing surveys to capture all of your guest s preferences and post stay comments. This allows you to prepare for the guest pre-stay, maximize the guest experience while on property, and learn from the guest post-stay. All of this valuable information also gets added to the guest profile for quick access by front desk staff and can be used for future marketing campaigns. You can truly gauge the satisfaction of your guests. Landing Pages. Hotel marketing automation allows you to quickly create beautiful multilingual landing pages for your marketing campaigns without needing any help from your IT department. Upgrade Engine. Hotel marketing automation allows you to offer room upgrades based on the real time room availability at your hotel. The upgrade can be processed immediately and the property management system gets updated. In addition, the guest receives an immediate notification that they were successfully upgraded instead of having to wait until check-in to learn if they get the room upgrade that they requested or not. Booking Abandonment Engine. Recover lost reservations from guests who started the online booking process but didn t complete the reservation. Semantic Analysis Engine. Hotel marketing automation helps you make sense of the massive amount of guest feedback and data that is available on the Internet today. Utilizing data mining and text analytics techniques it brings the trending issues in your hotel to the surface so you can take immediate action. ROI Metrics. marketing focuses on opens and clicks. Hotel Marketing Automation focuses on revenue. By having the foundation of the ecrm database as well as being hooked into the website it allows you to track your guests through the entire booking cycle.

6 ESP / Marketing Automation Feature Comparison Service Provider ZDirect Hotel Marketing Automation Send Campaigns YES YES Tracks Opens and Clicks YES YES A/B Splits SOME YES Social Media Integration SOME YES PMS Integration - YES Event Driven s - YES Surveys and Forms - YES Room Upgrade Engine - YES Booking Abandonment Engine - YES Landing Pages - YES Semantic Analysis Engine - YES Drip Marketing - YES Workflow Engine - YES Profile Deduplication Engine - YES Loyalty Tier Promotion - YES ROI Dashboard - YES Birthday s - YES SMS Messaging - YES QR Code Coupons - YES Integrated Events Calendar - YES

7 Who Benefits from Hotel Marketing Automation The Marketing Team. With Hotel Marketing Automation the marketing team is able to get campaigns out faster, automate manual tasks, and measure the ROI for their efforts. The Revenue Management Team. Revenue managers are maximizing guest revenue through room upgrades, package upsells, and recovered website bookings. The Front Desk Team. Front Desk clerks can check guests in with ease knowing they have the complete guest profile at their fingertips to serve the arriving guests at the highest possible level. The Concierge. Requests can be electronically routed to the concierge for fulfillment. With the full guest profile available she can make strong recommendations for things to do in the area based on what she already knows about the guest from their past stays. The General Manager. The General Manager can monitor the guest dashboard to keep an eye on the overall happiness of his guests. He has the reassurance that guests are being taken care of in every digital channel possible. Lastly he can be satisfied that he has given his staff the very best tools for success. The Guest. The guest has the best experience possible and isn t that what true hospitality is all about!

8 Is Hotel Marketing Automation Right for Your Hotel? For most hotels taking marketing to the next level with Hotel Marketing Automation can have a huge impact on revenue. For others, perhaps simple marketing is good enough. You should definitely consider hotel marketing automation if: Your guest booking process lasts longer than a week Your mass marketing campaigns doesn t drive enough bookings You want the turnaround of forms, surveys, and landing pages to be a lot quicker You want to send different messaging to different guest segments You want dynamic content in your campaigns You want to tag guest behaviour for future marketing endeavours Your General Manager is complaining that you need to increase occupancy You want to be able to measure your marketing campaigns more effectively You want to increase overall guest satisfaction You want to reduce the stress and fatigue of your staff Conclusion Hotel Marketing Automation is a new technology but the work it automates is not. It enables smaller hotels with limited staff to compete with the larger brands and chains. It allows luxury brands to really know their guests every desire, and it enables the larger brands to offer the same streamlined guest experience across the entire chain. If your hotel is looking to increase revenue while not adding to your already high workload then hotel marketing automation is for you. Make marketing fun again! About the Author Shayne Paddock is the CIO at ZDirect. He is responsible for the overall data architecture and product management of ZDirect s suite of tools. Shayne has over 18 years of experience in the areas of marketing, database programming, data modelling, data warehousing, large scale reporting platforms, and hospitality systems integration. Prior to working in hospitality he worked with the search engine Excite.com as well as several other dot com startups all revolving around database marketing. About ZDirect. Based in Hallandale Beach, Florida, ZDirect, is pioneering Hotel Marketing Automation for the Hospitality Industry building upon its Enterprise Service Provider (ESP), ZMail emarketing system, and ecrm database. The maintenance of a single guest profile is essential for an effective ecrm strategy. With the Dynamic Content Engine and PMS integration, ZMail automatically sends intelligent and personalized confirmations, pre-arrival s and post-departure s with guest satisfaction surveys via , mobile communication, SMS, social networks and more. Learn about the real people behind every reservation. Let ZDirect help you convert your prospects to customers and your customers to loyal customers. Real People. Real Profiles. Real Results.

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