At this year’s Hotel Technology Next Generation Conference, Michael McCartan, Duetto Research and Maarten Plesman from Revinate delivered a presentation on using targeted marketing campaigns for tomorrow’s revenue management.
Beginning the session, Plesman discussed how hotels can use guest knowledge to attract the most profitable customers and how to convert them into direct bookings at the lowest cost possible, he said: “Loyalty is being replaced by communities. Hotels must create guest profiles and set direct targets, individual letters should be sent to GCC travellers with relevant content, then a seperate note should be sent to business and leisure travellers.”
Discussing why hoteliers must now use targeted marketing campaigns in order to secure tomorrow’s revenue, Plesman said: “In order to secure business there is a set process hoteliers must follow, firstly the engaging phase – here you need to be able to engage feedback, then based on that feedback you have to create demand. Next you have to position your brand and confirm bookings.”
Using the internet as leverage for securing new loyal customers, Plesman noted that, “Gen-X travellers like to earn travel points through credit cards, whilst consumers prefer hotel points and 49% of millennials stopped using a loyalty program after receiving irrelevant communications.”
The session also noted that the internet has driven a wedge between the guests and the hotel as hotels have now lost touch of personalised pricing schemes. “It is now difficult for hotels to reclaim the power of personalised pricing scemes having handed over all pricing power to the OTAs. People go to more than 38 websites and use four devices to research a hotel before booking, often bouncing between the OTA site and the hotels direct site.”
Explaning how hotels can engage the bounce through traffic, Plesman said: “Throughout the search process, consumers move on to check up to 10 hotel’s direct websites, so at some stage during this journey the hotel has the opportunity to upsell to the guest directly and this is a missed opportunity as hotels are not capatalising on this traffic and are missing out on direct bookings, essentially the traveller goes back to the OTA because they trust in the search engines.”
Debating whether loyalty programmes are worth the hassle, Plesman noted that personalised pricing schemes are actually more beneficial to hotels, he said: “One thing that is clear, is that loyalty programmes don’t work – consumers don’t like to be offered the same discount as everyone else and generally what should happen is that a blanket 20% off the room rate, no matter the price should be given to loyalty customers.”
Leading him to discuss Renivate’s integrated software that enables the hotelier to offer personalised profiles and pricing schemes for its loyal guests. “Purpose built for the hotel industry, our easy-to-use marketing automation solution for independents or multiple properties in a group is paired with guest profiles so you can segment your guests, create, and send targeted emails in under an hour. Hoteliers can access demographics, stay history, preferences, surveys, and social media data in one single and easy-to-access view, leading to personalised pricing schemes.”