Imagine being able to welcome back a hotel guest by seamlessly sending a personalized message directly to their mobile phone when they arrive on site. Or imagine a local customer driving by and automatically receiving a promotional text offer to your hotel restaurant or spa when they have entered a nearby virtual perimeter.
These are two examples of how location based services are redefining the hotel and guest conversation and deepening the customer relationship. While hotel marketers have realized the importance of including mobile in the larger marketing mix, one must first understand the breadth of mobile marketing options to fully realize how all the pieces of the entire puzzle can work together to put heads in beds and grow per customer spend.
Hotel brands have begun to dip their toe in mobile, which likely includes a mobile app and mobile web offering. While this is a start, this requires the customer to take action. How many times have you had a brand’s loyalty app already downloaded on your phone? And if so, how many times did you remember that you had this app and actually use it? Chances are, not very many.
However using a “push” message which is phone independent and does not require an app, hotel marketers can control the customer conversation, placing brands in front of customers when they are most likely to take action. This dramatically increases campaign effectiveness and intent to purchase. Location based services such as proximity marketing (which uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to broadcast content only within proximity of the specified location) and geofencing (which allows a brand to set up a customizable virtual area that if crossed by opted-in consumers, pushes marketing messages to the consumers’ mobile device), can be effortlessly integrated into a hotel’s current mobile offerings and further capture customer information for existing customer relationship management systems or loyalty programs.
Connecting with customers with the right message at the right time is critical to the profitability of hotels, and any brand for that matter. Messages can range from “Welcome back Mr. Smith. Please stop by the concierge desk to schedule a complimentary 30-minute massage”, to a time based offer at 4 o’clock that reads “Rough day at the office? Enjoy our 2 for 1drink specials at our Lobby Lounge. Tonight only.” With all the overwhelming marketing noise, consumers are willing to provide additional information if it means that they will only receive information they care about.
In fact, a recent study found that 70% of respondents were happy to share location in exchange for giveaways, discounts and improved service. Of all respondents, 84% want organizations to use this data to improve their customer experience. It’s no wonder why, global market revenues from location based services is expected to reach $10B by 2016.
Leveraging customer data and insights gained across all touch points will become increasingly more important, especially as hotels and resorts begin to shift from their differentiation strategy toward competing on Average Daily Rate (ADR) cost. Only location based services can give hotels insight into customer behavior that cannot be tracked by traditional media, such as traffic patterns and dwell times. Armed with this information, hotel marketers are able to enhance the guest experience and have one-to-one meaningful conversations, ultimately creating a loyal customer that resists competitors, no matter the offer.