Reducing the friction: Technology hotels should invest in to increase profits
TD speaks with Tina Markowitz, VP of Digital Marketing Media & Analytics at Cendyn
Digitalisation has become an increasingly important aspect of the hospitality industry in recent years. With the rise of technology and the increasing use of mobile devices, the way people book, experience, and review their stays at hotels, resorts, and other lodging facilities has changed dramatically.
In the hospitality industry, digitalisation refers to the integration of technology into every aspect of the customer experience, from booking and check-in to in-room services and post-stay feedback. This has resulted in improved efficiency, cost savings, and an enhanced customer experience. As a result, hospitality businesses that adopt digitalisation are more likely to succeed and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving industry.
Travel Daily have spoken with Tina Markowitz, vice president of Digital Marketing Media & Analytics at Cendyn about digitalisation in the hospitality industry. Tina is leading eCommerce strategic planning for Cendyn’s hospitality customers, where her team provides customers with holistic and innovative digital marketing campaigns that deliver business results.
Travel Daily (TD): Why is digitalisation inevitable in the hospitality industry and why is it important for hotels?
Tina Markowitz (TM): COVID has only accelerated the use of technology in our daily lives, with our phones replacing everything from menus to key cards. Hotels need to embrace digital because that is what guests are expecting, and people will look for hotels/hotel brands that reduce friction and provide seamless experiences from desktop to mobile. For hotels, the rapid adoption of technology has also expanded the capabilities of automated personalization. Hotels can and should personalize every touchpoint of the guest journey on to 1:1 basis, which can significantly boost guest engagement and drive more direct bookings. The goal, however, is not to sacrifice guest individuality along the way.
“Your hotel website is how potential guests experience your brand prior to coming through the doors.”
TD: What type of technology should hotels adopt to potentially drive bookings and increase profit margins?
TM: A great website – which includes everything from vibrant images and compelling content to integrated booking features. Your hotel website is how potential guests experience your brand prior to coming through the doors, and it needs to both impress and accurately convey your story. Imagery, layout, personalization, ease of navigation – every detail should be thoughtfully designed to reduce friction for the consumer. It’s also vital to invest in a great booking engine to make sure that once a guest decides to book, they can do it quickly, with confidence and securely. Employing a rate match tool that gives the customer the confidence that they are booking the best rate is also a great way to capture more direct bookings.
To increase profit margins, look to invest in tech that broadens the customer lifecycle post-reservation. Engage with guests pre-stay to encourage the purchase of ancillary services, dining reservations, and even local experiences recommended by the hotel. You can also include special rates or offers for extending their stay for an extra night.
TD: Why is it important for hotels to have a solid and holistic digital marketing strategy?
TM: The most profitable channel for hotels is their direct booking channel – i.e. their brand.com, and effective digital marketing is a very powerful element in driving prospective guests to their website. The market is extremely competitive and getting more competitive each year. This means hotels need to learn about and invest in marketing tactics that attract new guests and retain existing guests. It’s not enough to just run some ads or have a basic brand search strategy – hotels need to have consistent messaging and engagement across various touchpoints.
TD: How can hotels improve their digital marketing strategy? Is there a foolproof way or what type of content should hotels produce to drive bookings?
TM: I wish there was a foolproof way! That said, there are tried and true ways to drive direct bookings, such as investing in a targeted, multi-channel media approach. Integrating your hotel website and booking engine is also critical for creating the personalized and seamless booking experience that today’s travellers are looking for. Creating audience-segmented email marketing campaigns is another successful strategy. Overall, it’s important to approach marketing as an ongoing experiment. Don’t be afraid to test new things, change up imagery, try to engage a new type of guest, and so on.
Your hotel website needs to provide current and future guests with a robust online hub that includes an intuitive interface, seamless booking technology, compelling content, and a beautiful design that ultimately delights and surprises your visitors. Websites that successfully deliver these features give guests the confidence to book direct, while also providing organic entry points for potential guests to discover your hotel. By integrating the right CMS into a modern tech stack and comprehensive digital marketing strategy, your website will become a lead generation engine. It just takes some time, dedication, and creativity!
“Cendyn is well-positioned to help you enhance your hotel’s online presence and create more profitable guest relationships.”
TD: How can Cendyn help hotel owners master digital transformation for their businesses?
TM: Cendyn provides hoteliers around the globe with innovative technology solutions and world-class digital marketing services. Our team of experts are uniquely positioned to manage, monitor, and optimize your online performance. With data at the heart of what we do, our team leverages your guest data, so that you can reach the right customers with the right message to drive direct bookings and provide the optimal tailored experience for every guest. From CRM and loyalty to the website and digital marketing services, Cendyn is well-positioned to help you enhance your hotel’s online presence and create more profitable guest relationships.
Click here to learn more on how to leverage your data to drive demand, raise brand awareness and expand your reach to drive conversions across all your channels.
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