Targeting Hotel Guests Using Website Personalization
- Posted by Tom Dibble
- On April 28, 2015
What if every time that you traveled, the hotel concierge greeted you by name and provided you with a list of restaurants in the area that they knew you would love? What if you could open the door to your room only to be greeted by a handwritten note and bottle of your favorite wine? What if the hotel knew whether or not your were traveling with your kids, your pet, or your briefcase and altered your experience to suit your needs? That sounds like a pretty smart hotel to me, and likely one that I would visit again in the future.
Most hoteliers get into the business because of special touches like those. They aren’t just hotel owners and employees, but experience craftsmen who recognize that a hotel stay is never just a hotel stay, but an escape. Hotels that are already embracing personalization on the property level see an increase in guest loyalty and return bookings. Basically, travelers get a tailored experience and hotels get an increase in revenue. Sounds like a win for all parties.
So we’ve established that great and even good hotels are capitalizing on personalization while guests are on property, but what about before they have even arrived? Hotels have a largely untapped resource for driving revenue and bookings that most of don’t utilize or recognize as as a tool: their own website.
One of the newest developments in hotel marketing is the idea of “Dynamic Content Personalization” which allows for websites to take on a mind of their own in a sense. Personalization gives your website the ability to recognize a past visitor, tag them, and learn about their habits each time they visit. The data is even more rich when you can link information about past guests on property with visitors to your website.
The wealth of data that hotels already have on frequent visitors and loyalty members like average nights, spend, or amenities used give every property a unique opportunity to directly market to specific audiences. Keep in mind that this is data that metasearch engines and OTAs could only dream of having. With all of this information begging to be utilized, what are some of the ways that a “smart” website might respond to a visitor it recognizes?
When your website recognizes that a visitor’s IP address is registered in a foreign country, it can respond by translating to that visitor’s foreign language, instantaneously making your site more user-friendly. Additionally, the website can choose to feature certain deals or promotions that are more suited for an international traveler who might be planning a longer stay than a domestic guest.
Hotel websites receiving visits from guests who are identified as leisure travelers can adapt by displaying content and visuals that might appeal to someone who is all about relaxation and pleasure. The homepage might showcase photos of the spa or of a delicious meal prepared by the on-property chef. A beach hotel might feature a deal that includes free beach equipment rentals or a special dinner served oceanside.
In this example, the words “fun & leisure” are prominently featured alongside deals for free breakfast, a romance package, and a golf “playcation”. If you are leisure traveler, this is exactly what you would want to be greeted with. If you are business traveler, however, this copy and photography might not convince you that this is the hotel for you.
If a website recognizes a visitor as a business traveler, then it can immediately reflect how business-friendly a property is by calling attention to their high speed wifi, luxurious business center, and spacious meeting facilities. The site could offer deals to that specific traveler for week night stays or a free shuttle to and from the airport.
What most hotels call attention to on a typical “Groups and Meetings” tab is exactly the kind of content that should display for a business traveler. The page distinctly shows images related to meeting facilities, reviews from a recent conference, and even includes special offers for someone who might be planning a business event.
It is important for hotels to first figure out which types of customers represent their biggest chunk of revenue and then develop a personalization plan for those audiences. Website personalization is not always inexpensive, but the investment in both time and money is well worth it. A number of hotels are reporting an uplift in revenue of almost 40% which, pardon my french, is ridiculous! In a good way of course.
When you really think about it, the possibilities for website personalization are about as vast as the different reasons that guests visit your property. You could potentially personalize for a million things from focusing on “dog-friendliness” to in-state travelers who are on a staycation. Use your imagination (and your data, of course) to come up with the best plan of action for your property.
Screen Pilot offers its own dynamic content personalization platform called Screen Pilot Site Intellect or SPSI. If you have any questions about implementing personalization on your own hotel’s website, let us know. We are always happy to point you in the right direction. If you are simply curious about what SPSI can do for you, please subscribe to our newsletter. This is only part one in a series as we explore how personalization can help hoteliers drive revenue, provide a more customized guest experience, and steal share back from the OTAs.