The key trends shaping travel and hospitality marketing are around tech and how it can enhance the consumer experience.
So says John Seaton — managing director of EMEA and APAC at Cendyn — in his opinion piece published on Thursday in HospitalityNet.org.
“The Key Trends Shaping the Hospitality Industry in 2018” handles four topics that Target Marketing rounds out with related coverage.
Travel and Hospitality Marketing That Wows Customers Online and Offline, in Every Channel
Unite data. Experiential marketing needs data-backed insights into what will surprise and delight vacationers and business travelers.
“For a hotel, managing the customer relationship is one of the most critical elements of gaining and increasing loyalty, and yet can be the most difficult for hotels to master, as customers interact with them via a burgeoning number of contact points: email, mobile, social media, at the front desk and throughout the hotel property.”
His advice, not surprisingly for a vendor, is to unite the data via CRM. That seems to show some travel and hospitality marketers are behind the times and 2018 may be their catch-up year.
For instance, Target Marketing covered how marketers could unite data via CRM with a customer-centric aim back in 2009. And, according to the magazine’s cover story in 2010, that’s the year the InterContinental Hotels Group created a single view of its customers, regardless of channel.
And in 2017, experiential marketing is now the name of the game for travel and hospitality marketers who are gathering, organizing and pushing the data back out to customers in the form of bespoke cruises and more. Travel may be its own experience, but now marketing must be, too.
In August, Fashionista showed how travel and fashion brands merged so calls to action took customers to boutiques within luxury hotels, among other options.
Travel and Hospitality Marketing That Understands AI
Seaton says AI is a must in 2018.
Cruise lines are all over this.
For instance, Target Marketing reported in November:
Royal Caribbean is also letting data do the driving of customer experience with an app allowing travelers to plan shore trips with virtual reality tours and enter their rooms without keys.
Travel and Hospitality Marketing That Uses Personalization
Seaton outlines how customer data, managed into a profile, can show potential guests trip pricing that matches their previous choices.
He says that’s an example of pulling in data from the revenue management system. He adds:
“Customer relationship management (CRM) is no longer just a tool for the sales and marketing departments, CRM is a tool that benefits the operations, revenue management and distribution departments, as well. Because of this, hotels are looking to integrate CRM with their other technology vendors, as well; bringing the various data sources into one central place to create a single version of truth about that guest. This enables greater personalized communication between the hotel and the guest.”
Travel and Hospitality Marketing That Melds Customer Data With Europe’s Laws
Seaton says with GDPR coming into effect in May 2018, travel and hospitality marketers with business there have to pay attention to their data practices.
Target Marketing blogger Chet Dalzell outlines on Dec. 4:
European policymakers are transfixed with setting personal information controls on the private sector, and — beginning May 2018 — will give its citizens “default” power to shut down all such data usage for advertising purposes unless consumers provide affirmative consent. It’s called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and its companion ePrivacy Regulation.
In the U.S., much digital information about consumer devices and browsers — such as their browsing history and app usage — is painstakingly “anonymized” by companies according to industry-wide self-regulatory codes. [Disclosure: One of my clients is the Digital Advertising Alliance.] Sweat equity through independent accountability programs safeguard such data from being used without proper consumer notice (transparency) and opportunity to exercise control through an easy-to-find, easy-to-use “opt-out.” However, in Europe, any digital information that “could” be used to re-identify an individual — even if anonymized from a U.S. perspective, such as an IP address — is considered personal by definition. Affirmative consent — most likely an “opt-in” though “consent” details are yet to be articulated — will hold sway. Common U.S. notice-and-opt-out regimens won’t suffice.
What do you think, marketers?
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