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Tips for Cashing in on Geofencing

This year, the number of Americans with smartphones passed the halfway mark. Before the invention of mobile technology, companies marketed to consumers based on two important categories: a shopper’s history and demographic. Now, with the advent of mobile and a population that is always connected with a device in-hand, brands have the opportunity to market directly to potential guests based on where they are and in real time. 
With the adoption of mobile technology skyrocketing, companies are trying a variety of methods to leverage that in order to communicate with consumers in more effective ways. Some companies have invested in targeted, local mobile ads. 

Others focus on improving the shopper’s mobile application experiences by engaging with guests through information, services, and entertainment. These techniques have seen some success, but the true potential lies in a partnership — a branded, rich application that promotes a personalized and interactive experience.
The question therefore becomes, how can hospitality companies find innovative ways to personalize communication with customers? The answer is location. 
Geofences, or virtual perimeters placed around physical locations, unlock the knowledge to consumers’ physical whereabouts. Upon geofence entry or exit, hotels can send promotional, informational push notifications to app-holding customers. By offering personalized, contextually sensitive content, brands will increase buyer motivation and encourage customer loyalty.
Thinking outside the marketing box
Creativity is essential when implementing geofences and brands should consider installing geofences in public locations, event centers and commerce locations. Since geofences can be placed around everything from a park to a city, public centers are ideal locations for hospitality companies to send push notifications as they allow companies to leverage unique relationships with potential customers. For example, hotels should set geofences around airports in order to send push notifications offering guests early check-in, and giving them access to room upgrades as valued, app-holding customers. Another idea is for hotel chains to set geofences around golf courses that will encourage customers to book future golf-centered vacations.
Event centers are another useful location of which to take advantage. A concert featuring a British band is an ideal place to offer a discount on a hotel in London, and a business conference is a perfect spot for hotels to offer discounts to executives who consistently use the property’s services.
By nature, the hospitality industry is based upon the concept of service – providing customers with memorable experiences that keep them returning. The scope of a well executed, personalized app with location-sensitive push notifications and offers can have far-reaching, profitable results.
Tips for successful location-based services:
·         When a loyal customer arrives in a new city, send a notification offering early check-in and room upgrade. One example is Digby Localpoint Venue, which influences consumers with triggered promotional offers and messages on entry, exit, and during their visit. Brand campaigns can be sent upon using the app when locating a store, checking in to a location, scanning a UPC/QR code, searching for a product, rating a product, and even watching a product video.
·         After the customer makes a selection, he/she is directed to the hotel shuttle.
·         Once checked in, a notification is sent about happy hour in the lobby offering a free drink.
·         When guests head out for a meal, the app can be accessed to find recommended restaurants.
·         Set up the app with an “offer wallet” that will have discounts and coupons for area attractions.
·         At check-out, a notification is sent asking the guest to fill out a quick survey.
By amplifying customer service through the hotel’s branded app, the hotel has greatly improved guests’ visits to a new city.  For the first time, brands are able to harness location, time, and past and present behavior when marketing to their customers in real-time. By implementing location-based marketing, commerce and analytics into a hotel’s branded mobile app, companies are truly able to understand and engage with customers on a deeper, more meaningful and effective level.

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