Right Time Marketing in Hospitality

The hospitality industry recognizes that understanding the guest and reacting to her behaviors at the right time with the right message over the right channel is critical to building customer engagement and loyalty. Serving a multitude of service options to multiple guests every day results in a lot of customer interaction points. Hotels increasingly have large amounts of data about customers, their history, preferences and activities. Being able to react in real time to newly gathered information captured in ongoing dialogues opens up new opportunities about what offers should be extended and how guests are treated.

As we talk with various organizations in the hospitality vertical including traditional hotel chains, casinos and cruise lines, we see that a primary challenge is reacting to this information in a timely manner throughout the lifecycle of a guest. There are usually several reasons for this.

right-time-marketing-in-hospitality.jpgSiloed data

We commonly find that a wealth of useful information is collected at different touch points – website, mobile apps, guest services, reservations, on-property transactions (restaurants, spas, casino floors), partner channels etc. But often these systems are siloed and don’t directly talk to each other or are unable to get these behaviors in real time from a central repository.

The right technology would seamlessly integrate with every user touch point and provide a central repository of accessible data. SessionM provides a variety of robust and easy to use integration methods based on the channel including

  • IOS and Android SDKs
  • S2S/C2S APIs
  • Responsive Web Widgets, web hooks
  • Batch, ETLs, Pub/Sub models

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Slow data

Data from these systems is usually fed into a central CRM system, or an enterprise data warehouse. While this central storage of data is useful for analysis and reporting, it is not operationalized for immediate and meaningful access by all external systems.

Rather than using existing CRM/EDW systems, using SessionM as the system of record or as a fast cache layer over existing data stores helps to immediately operationalize data.

List based data

Most communication with guests is either generic blasts, or segmented by generating lists from data stores. Pulling these lists together sometimes takes days or even weeks with several manual steps involved. By the time these segments are generated and targeted for a communication, the context is lost and the message becomes irrelevant.

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With a fast operational profile and an intuitive interface that allows a marketing user to leverage user attributes dynamically, guest data can be segmented in real time with relevant data. The SessionM platform interface allows for the easy creation of audiences based on guest attributes that are declared or observed, transactional or behavioral.

Gathering customer data and behaviors from disparate systems into a single profile enables marketers to make data actionable to deliver personalized experiences which can enhance or even salvage the customer experience. For example, you send a guest a survey through the app immediately after she checks out, and she provides negative feedback, which triggers an offer of double points on her next stay because she is a platinum tier member with a high LTV. If she had responded with positive feedback, the subsequent engagement would be something different, like a personalized link to refer-a-friend and a special incentive for a certain number of people redeeming her code.

Solving these challenges is key to making accurate and timely decisions that are relevant to a guest’s needs, and maximize the organization’s profitability. As SessionM’s Co-Founder and CEO Scott Weller told HotelBusiness, “The first step a lot of these folks are taking is getting all of the data in one place to give a complete view of the customer in terms of personalization. Once you have that in place, you can move it to the cloud and can engage with lots of new technology where customer experience is involved. To do CRM tactics, you need to have a complete view of customers and what occurred across the lifestyle, so that’s important.”

Guest satisfaction and affinity to the brand relies not only on the richness of the data, but also how and when it is used to make contextually relevant decisions in a reliable and repeatable fashion. With the technological resources in place to enable companies to liberate data, assemble operational profiles, and deliver personalized engagements in real time, hospitality brands will be well on their way to five stars.