It’s no surprise that video has become the preferred mode of communication between brands and consumers. But as a platform, it is static, non-interactive and impersonal. For consumers that are used to personalized marketing campaigns, this can be a real turn-off. However, the technology now exists to launch videos that are highly personalized to millions of individual users in real time, interactive and even shoppable. As expected, this approach produces much higher conversion and engagement rates that traditional marketing experiences. Some travel brands that have begun implementing Personalized Video as a Service include Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Delta Airlines and Volaris. To learn more about this technology and how hospitality brands could benefit from it, we spoke with Yotam Benami, CMO, Idomoo.
How do hotels use videos currently to engage with potential guests and loyalty members?
Hotels mostly use video for branding and awareness campaigns. Think of a TV spot or YouTube ad. It’s a generic brand video targeting prospective customers. The goal is generally customer acquisition, sometimes brand awareness. Video is used much less frequently to build loyalty and engage current members.
Why is this not the best use of video?
Because video can do so much more. Most importantly, it should be used throughout the customer lifecycle — especially when it comes to your top customers. A dollar spent on retention goes 6x as far as a dollar spent on customer acquisition. Your loyal customers are worth more, and they’re easier to retain - the key is keeping them engaged , and what’s more engaging than video?
Travelers expect personal, thoughtful communications rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Let’s face it: that loyalty club email isn’t knocking their socks off. Video, done right, can be immersive, interactive and personalized for every customer, resulting in a rich and engaging experience that lets your most loyal customers feel valued.
How does your technology change the way hotels can use video to interact with guests?
With our platform, hotels can connect 1:1 with every single guest. It’s true guest-centric communications that offer the next-level CX customers expect from hospitality brands. Whether you have thousands or even millions of customers around the world, you can instantly share a video personalized for every single viewer.
This is huge for hotel loyalty programs. Many programs aren’t driving consumer behavior anymore due to low engagement, limited awareness and complexity. Personalized video changes that. Imagine you’re the customer. Your video can explain not only how many points you’ve earned, your status and benefits — it can help you celebrate past milestones and envision future possibilities. Maybe that’s you at a five-star hotel, having dinner overlooking the ocean … and earning rewards while you do it. Personalized video doesn’t just paint a picture. It tells a story, and your guest is the star.
What kind of benefits have some of your hotel clients seen?
Our hospitality clients that have used personalized video have seen an immediate lift in engagement. For customer communications, CTR has jumped by as much as 8x compared with the client’s benchmark. And this has a real impact on the bottom line. One client shared that 20% of viewers of their personalized video purchased the upgrade offer. Another resort reported a 5x uplift in revenue per email simply by switching to personalized video.
Personalized videos are irresistibly shareable, too. One campaign from Delta saw a 19x amplification rate on social media. Remember that your top customers are your brand ambassadors. Why not give them an easy way to brag about you — and how much fun they have with you? That’s what a personalized video does.
Where is this technology headed in the near future? What do you envision for it/hope it will soon accomplish?
We have big dreams for the future of video in the hospitality industry. Imagine you walk into your hotel room and instead of a personal note on your TV screen, you see a cinematic quality video welcoming you to your room. It includes recommendations on attractions you could visit, based on your past preferences, and updates you on your loyalty points balance. It’s a short movie, made just for you.
Oh, and you can make a reservation for on-site amenities like a spa or restaurant, right from the video. It’s interactive, immersive, seamless — wowing guests right from the start. Then at the end of your trip, you get a personalized showreel of your adventure, which you can customize by adding your own photos or other media and then share on social media.
This technology is already here. Personalized videos are interactive, so viewers can click to book and so forth. They’re customizable, so customers can create a UGC version with their own style. And they can auto-update in real time, reflecting the latest room inventory, rates, restaurant seating availability, seasonal menu items and more. Now, it’s just seeing where the industry will take this exciting new technology.
What's one piece of advice you would share with hotel executives?
As more and more customer interactions migrate online, from research and booking to check-in and loyalty, ask yourself how you can build relationships with your best customers in that faceless digital world. How will you stay top of mind? How will you make your guests so excited about your hotel or loyalty program, that they'll want to shout about it to their friends or, better still, post about it online?
Find a way to add a human touch to those digital interactions. Surprise and delight your guests — personally yet at scale. And you’ll have a customer experience that keeps people coming back again and again.