Customers are at the heart of hospitality.
From travel inspiration and research to booking to post-stay social, understanding the customer journey is paramount to your marketing strategy. You need to know who your guest is, what he/she wants, and deliver what he/she needs, better than competition.
In conversation with SonaliVerma, Senior Associate – Digital Strategy at Templatolio, who tells us how hospitality marketing is gaining steady ground.
What is today’s relevance of cross-media management in marketing communications?
Cross-media management has become more relevant than ever. Marketing has become fast-paced and about ‘now’. We can no longer work in silos – the artificial boundary that brands and agencies created due to legacy structures. Since the consumption of content is across media and the consumer looks for content on all mediums, agencies and brands need to create content across mediums with a synergy between offline and online.
What unique tools does your agency use to reach out to the target demographic?
Templatolio uses multiple tools in order to reach the desired market. Tools are many, but the strategy revolves around three core concepts – segmentation, targeting and personalization. All the tools are configured around these. Personalization and personalization tools are most important. We help clients recognize target audience for each campaign and personalize the campaign. Furthermore, we ensure,each campaign has extensions in communication depending upon demographic of each target audience; however, ensuring that the core concept remains the same. Automation tools are the next wave. These are linked to the segmentation, targeting and personalization tools. These help us scale up campaigns while keeping true to the core strategy. Analytics are critical to any of the tools, which we use. If we can’t measure the outcome, doing a campaign is useless. The idea is that the client should know worth of each penny that he has spent.
How has the hospitality landscape changed over the years?
Hospitality has evolved a lot over the years. With guests knowing each and everything about the hotel even before visiting the hotel for the first time, it becomes very crucial for hoteliers to be ahead of the game. Thanks to TripAdvisor and OTAs like MakeMyTrip, the hospitality sector is going completely digital. With everything being tracked – knowing the behaviour, likes and dislikes of each and every guest and knowing how much each penny generated – the hospitality sector now understands the power of digital medium. Hospitality has started to spend a considerable part of their marketing budgets on digital. In some cases, digital exceeds their offline spends.
What trends do you foresee in hospitality branding and marketing?
There will be a stronger offline and online connect. Hospitality, unlike ecommerce, is still evolving and exploring opportunities of digital. Digital is becoming a keystone of marketing strategy. Going forward, it will be equal to offline and eventually outgrow it. Being on mobile is the key. With consumers going more and more mobile, hotels will start dominating the small screen. Social media will become stronger and will play a crucial role in all strategy. Then, an integrated system on cloud will make possible the idea of a true Internet of things. The power of data will be understood and harnessing so much data will be the next wave. Hotels, I believe, have the maximum details for their customers. They need to understand the power of data and segmentation, and be at the right place, at the right time for the right people.
Amidst competition in this sector, how do you as an agency help your clients stand out?
We offer a synergy between offline and online branding. With focused shift towards digital, we offer a complete integrated approach to clients. Most agencies are forming their digital divisions, however, somehow, they still work in silos. What needs to be understood is that the final objective of the client is the same, i.e., ROI or the effect on the bottom line and the same can only be maximized if an agency ensures a seamless integration of communication on both online and offline mediums. One needs to understand,consumers get information through all mediums and channels equally, therefore, you as a brand need to have consistent information across all mediums. Apart from that, we also offer a unique plug-and-play platform to all clients. Available on the cloud, the same enables big brands, especially chain hotels, to create or recreate their communication at an individual level within brand guidelines. With wire templates enabled on a customized site according to each brand’s guidelines, it’s a self-create marketing brand-implementation platform. Lastly, today it’s all about the data. We help hotels harness their vast repository of data through automation.
What do you feel about the power of new-age content marketing?
Today is all about content marketing. Be it any sector or any mode of communication, content rules. Content defines the brand, creates its identity and personality. It helps in integration of online and offline. From campaigns to acquiring new customer, and to reputation management and service recovery, it is all about content and the perception it creates for a brand in the market. It’s no longer just creation of a tag line for a brand, but about defining an identity and creating a personality for a brand. From quirky content on social media and hoardings, to straightforward content for Search Engine Optimization, content helps create a brand perception. New-age content is not just writing articles; it’s about engaging with your consumers. Even Google’s algorithms have started to judge you on engagement levels on the online sphere. With social media being one of the largest medium of content creation and consumption, it’s about tagging and hash-tagging, personalization and how well you know your target audience to connect with them in their language.