Think Like a Concierge, Master Omnichannel Marketing
The hotel concierge is a true artist in managing the guest experience. A good concierge can recommend a restaurant, give directions and suggest other on-site services the guest might enjoy. Exceptional concierges can tailor recommendations based on what they know about the guest’s preferences, history and their experience based on similar guests. This level of service can do a lot to enhance a guest’s overall experience in whatever city they happen to be in, and it goes a long way toward linking those positive experiences with the hotel brand itself.
Marketers can learn a lot from this white-glove approach when it comes to managing the customer experience. In fact, substitute the word “customer” for “guest” in the concierge’s to-do list, and you will find that you have a great template for achieving marketing success in an omnichannel world. Here are some suggestions on how to use a concierge’s mindset to master omnichannel marketing.
Keep It Personal(ized)
Concierges know that the service they provide needs to be tailored to the guest’s unique needs, preferences and history with a hotel. As in any industry, hotel guests are more likely to notice and respond to relevant interactions. They want content and offers tailored to their preferences. The takeaway for marketers: True personalization requires more than including the customer’s name on a generic email campaign. It requires a comprehensive data-driven approach that takes into account all of the historical, demographic and contextual information the brand has, from every channel the customer may use.
Don’t Just Respond — Anticipate
A good concierge always has the answer to your questions. A great one knows what you are looking for before you do. Marketers need the same predictive capabilities to analyze the nuances in the customer data to determine the optimal cross-selling opportunities that a customer might find intriguing — without alienating them with irrelevant offers or overwhelming them with too many messages.
Draw a Map
Even in this era of ubiquitous GPS, a skilled concierge is always ready to help a guest get from Point A to Point B with a map and directions. It is also a good skill for marketers to have. Mapping out the customer journey can help marketers isolate what matters most at every point of engagement, for the customer and for the brand itself. A customer journey map can be a dynamic resource for gaining the insights that help brands minimize surprises and remove friction from the customer experience — helping a business engage, nurture, and convert prospects and browsers into actual paying customers.
Stay Engaged and Informed
Would a concierge who knows you have a seafood allergy recommend a great lobster place? Would such concierges upgrade you to a penthouse suite if you had casually mentioned once that you’re afraid of heights? Of course not. They take the information they learn about you in one instance and put it to work in other contexts. They know that your experience in one area of the hotel (like check-in) affects your entire experience.
That is a valuable lesson for marketers. The data collected in one channel must be visible across all others. Likewise, an offer promoted in one channel must be available in the others. Consistency in content and messaging are critical to a smooth customer experience. After all, customers navigate multiple channels in their own journey, and they expect a brand to do the same in a seamless and continuous way.
Use Impeccable Timing
Have you ever noticed how concierges always seem to be right there, right when you need them? Effective guest engagement is an always-on, real-time effort. Marketers need the same capacity to capture a customer’s attention and make a good impression at each point of contact as the interaction progresses. This includes closely tracking the customer’s responses without being intrusive and continually adapting offers to improve the effectiveness of each contact.
Never Stop Learning About the Guest
For a concierge, each interaction with a guest is a learning opportunity. It is a chance to add something new to the knowledge they have that might help make a future stay more comfortable. Marketers need that same combination of curiosity and flexibility. The offer a customer responded to on a previous visit may not elicit the same response in the future. Preferences and needs change. Brands need to keep adjusting their picture of the customer and adjust offers on all subsequent interactions to improve the likelihood of success.
Achieving a high level of personalization and relevancy with a single guest is hard enough. The challenge for concierges is do it every day for every guest they serve. For marketers, the challenge is even bigger. They must do it across hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of potential customers. They also have to deliver the high-impact offers that will trigger responses but that still ensure the business is meeting its own goals for profitability, occupancy and other KPIs. After all, a great offer for the customer still must make sense for the company’s bottom line.
Related story: Breaking Out of the Campaign Mindset