Pack your bags -- it’s finally time to travel. As countries slowly open back up, and vaccinated wanderlusts begin to book plane tickets and hotel accommodations, the hospitality industry is gearing up for an avalanche of business.
Of course, with a surge in demand comes a surge in competition, as every airline, resort, destination, and travel agent all compete to capture travelers’ attention. The question is, how can hospitality businesses gain the attention of their audience? The answer -- marketing automation technology.
One of the most effective ways brands in the hospitality industry can engage customers is through powerful marketing technology that uses strategic messaging to engage travelers at the right time. This technology is useful not only for gaining new customers, but communicating with them consistently to provide continuous value.
Let’s dive in:
MARKETING AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGY
Marketing automation is an effective way that brands can manage marketing processes and campaigns through a variety of channels automatically. One of the most popular channels used in conjunction with marketing automation, especially in the hospitality industry, is email.
Typical mass emails, often sent through an email service provider, can be a great way to disseminate information, but don’t leave much room for customization and don’t enable organizations to build and scale. Marketing automation technology can take an email list of opted-in recipients, and send a customized, personalized message to recipients at the best time and with the best message that is most likely to resonate with them.
For example, let’s say a hotel is looking to reach out to its customer list to promote a new deal that gives customers a 50 percent discount on their first night at the hotel. Instead of sending a generic mass email to the entire list, marketing automation empowers hotels to send messages in a more targeted way.
First, hotels can leverage behavioral data (e.g., how customers have engaged with their digital properties or emails) to determine the best content of interest and future times to communicate with customers. If someone on the contact list tends to open emails in the afternoon, and ignore emails in the morning, marketing automation can recognize those digital touchpoints and send emails when the contacts are more likely to engage.
Second, the hotel can use this same behavioral data to determine which message best resonates with them. If an email recipient is a loyal customer who frequently stays in the hotel, they would receive a different message than someone who had only stayed in the hotel once.
Beyond simply driving sales, email automation can also be used to send travelers important reminders. An automated email could remind them about their hotel reservation, when to check-in, what time their flight boards, or if there have been any delays.
Email automation is an extremely powerful communication tool and is an effective way to show value to customers. It can drastically improve consumers' overall experience with a company and help to drive brand loyalty - critical in a hyper-competitive market.
MOBILE MARKETING TECHNOLOGY
Like email, marketing automation also taps into other channels that improve the customer experience and capture the attention of travelers. One of the best ways to leverage marketing automation technology in the hospitality industry is to meet consumers where they are: on their phones. People spend hours glued to their mobile devices, and are highly likely to open a message sent to them. Enter SMS.
SMS (text) messages are a powerful way hospitality companies can send messages to their audiences immediately. Text has a plethora of benefits. It allows brands to share information with audiences extremely quickly and also provides value to recipients who want to be notified of specific company news, therefore creating positive experiences.
Brands can use SMS technology to improve traveler’s experiences by sending surveys, travel updates, reminders, and alerts to their phones.
For example, if a hotel room is ready early, guests can receive a real-time alert from the hotel notifying them that their room is available ahead of schedule. Not only is this a powerful way to maintain communications with guests, but it also provides tremendous value and shows a level of thoughtfulness. This technology empowers hospitality brands to create superior guest experiences.
Beyond keeping continuous lines of communication, SMS can also be used to promote special deals and offers. If a hotel wanted to promote a last-minute opening at half the price, they could send a quick SMS text to their audience announcing the offer.
The secret to successful hospitality marketing technology is to drive positive guest experiences. SMS notifications, just like email marketing automation, must be personalized to each individual person, and provide value. Doing so will position brands across the hospitality industry to capitalize on the return to travel and re-engage guests in more meaningful ways.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Greenberg is the Chief Marketing Officer at Act-On Software, a marketing automation company based in the Pacific Northwest. A brand loyalty enthusiast, David brings more than 20 years of marketing leadership experience in high-growth technology organizations to the table. An early adopter of MarTech, he uniquely understands the challenges modern marketers face, making him an advocate, champion, and example to follow for growth-minded marketers everywhere. And, with a firm belief that customers are more than just sales leads, he ensures all aspects of the company’s marketing and growth strategies are rooted in providing a memorable brand experience.