Luxury And Ultra-Luxury Hotels - Omnichannel Excellence
In searching for 5 things that luxury and ultra-luxury hotels are doing in omnichannel, your research team found that hotels are using online customer service channels, using audience segmentation, using indigenous content to appeal to the senses, using all-in-one CMS solutions, and creating user-generated VR content. Information on omnichannel was found for the Four Seasons and four other luxury hotels. These practices and the research strategy in finding them is discussed in greater detail below.
USING ONLINE CUSTOMER SERVICE CHANNELS (BAHIA PRINCIPE)
- Bahia Principe needed to use their digital channels to generate higher online sales, especially since customers were having a hard time knowing if the experiences promised by them is real or would fit their taste.
- Using conversational commerce, customers were able to see videos on-demand, co-browse offers and fill out order forms. What made the difference is that customers were speaking directly with another human being instead of a robot, which generated increased trust and personality. Conversations happened over the phone, video calls, and chat.
- This resulted in a 35% of online sales conversion rate from May 2016 to May 2017. Customers were also willing to spend more on packages. The average ticket value rose to $1597.
USING AUDIENCE SEGMENTATION (DON CESAR)
- Don Cesar is an independent luxury hotel in Florida. They needed to revamp their site and implement an omnichannel digital marketing strategy, so they hired a firm to help them.
- With the help of this firm, they implemented audience segmentation, which was a technique in doing different kinds of marketing for different demographics. In this step, they found that 33% of click volume came from a female audience, and 12% of click-throughs were driven by an audience between 35 and 44 years old.
- With the help of TripAdvisor and other sites, they identified the top keywords to target this group. They also focused on keeping the message of the campaign consistent across all channels. This resulted in a 20:1 return on ad spend, social channels visits were up by 66%, website views increased by 175%, and keywords ranked on pages 1 to 3 by 42%.
USING INDIGENOUS CONTENT TO APPEAL TO THE SENSES (FOUR SEASONS)
- Four Seasons tried to find ways to generate content people saw as authentic and that they wanted to share.
- They released a new site that was responsive to screen size, but their most important feature of all was creating custom content for each hotel and resort that touches the senses of sight, hearing, and taste. Each hotel site had content that was indigenous to the region it was in and used as much information to be relevant to the location it was in.
- The website also had a social media module with comments and reviews from TripAdvisor, Facebook, and Twitter. The information was always regionally relevant, multi-lingual, and culturally sensitive.
- After the revamp was launched, there was a 20% increase in digital revenue. Since there was more image-based content, the website sprung to the top of search engine results. The company also saw a 200% increase in bookings completed on tablets, and brand engagement increased on social media channels such as Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter.
USING ALL-IN-ONE CMS SOLUTIONS (THE SET HOTELS)
- The Set Hotels is a young, ultra-luxury hotel group established in 2011 and based in the United Kingdom. Because they were so young, people, especially in the United States, didn't know who they were. On top of that, each location for The Set had its own website, which made for a very disjointed experience.
- The Set changed their digital platform to a single and unified experience which was mobile-friendly, easy to use and access, and had more than 45 languages. It was also extensible, meaning websites and add-ons could connect to it. The new Content Management System (CMS) also provided new revenue generation opportunities as they could charge visitors for services directly from the website.
- Since implementing this change, their mobile bookings have increased from 5% to 30%, and the number of time visitors spend on the site increased by 20%. Because of the multiple languages on the platform, brand awareness has also increased.
CREATING USER-GENERATED VIRTUAL REALITY CONTENT (ST GILES HOTELS)
- St Giles has hotels that are located in London, New York, Manila, Sydney, Penang, and Kuala Lumpur. Their aim was to create content that everyone could have fun with and engage with. So, they gave selected guests Samsung 360 cameras where they would record any city activity that they would partake in.
- St Giles' goal was to show that any guest could take full advantage of the hotel's centrality to explore any part of the city. They would then use these videos and place them as ads on YouTube and other platforms. These banners attracted more than 750,000 impressions in one month.
- On social media, this campaign reached 4.4 million Facebook users, 1.9 million Twitter users, and 1.8 million Instagram users. There was also an increase in app downloads.
We were unable to find content specifically as it related to the hotels given to us, except for Four Seasons. Our first strategy began by looking for pre-compiled information regarding omnichannel in the luxury hotels industry. We did this with the hope of finding information about a trend or a common omnichannel practice done in the industry, and to look for any mention of the hotels from the list given to us. We were finding that many of these sources spoke at length of luxury brands, and when they spoke of hotels, it's about companies such as LVMH whose retail brands excel in omnichannel. Sites such as Lodging Magazine, Fortune, and Forbes were looked at, and when they did mention omnichannel marketing in luxury hotels, the information was not enough and neither did they mention examples that we could use. Because of this, we changed strategy.
Our next strategy was to look for the companies first and their omnichannel practices, instead of our first strategy of looking for omnichannel practices first. We looked through reputable websites and blogs related to business and marketing such as AdWeek, Forbes, etc. Through our searches, we realized that a lot of the information was too minimal to use right away. Information was found about social media efforts by Rosewood, but when we dove deeper to see how it affected their bottom line or to see how social media tied in with other channels, information was lacking. We ended up finding information on Four Seasons alone. We tried searching for channels individually such as SMS, social media, VR, etc. but the information we found were of other hotels and not the hotels that we needed. Because of this, we changed strategy.
Our third search strategy began by looking through marketing databases like WARC and elsewhere online for case studies related to the luxury hotels that were provided to us. This search didn't bring up any case studies we could use relating to omnichannel marketing. When we did find some information related to omnichannel, such as in the case with Banyan Tree, it was very limited and only mentioned in passing. One source mentioned Banyan Tree selling toiletries as an omnichannel tactic, but when we did further searches, we were unable to find anything more. This search did, however, bring up interesting case studies, such as the case with Bahia Principe. We even repeated the step we took above by searching for channels individually such as SMS and social media, but it failed. Since we didn't find anything on the list, we tried another strategy.
Our next strategy was to look through news sources and reports on sites such as Reuters, which usually write summaries of reports from research companies like Forrester. We were able to find some interesting reports from the likes of PwC and Skift, but when they mentioned either of these hotels, such as Banyan Tree and Mandarin Oriental, it was in passing and not enough information to be used could be used. There were more robust mentions of other hotels like Standard Hotels, but searches showed these hotels were more boutique than luxury. When we saw we weren't finding anything in our searches, we decided to use the information of the other hotels that we found. Information on their omnichannel techniques was robust and these techniques correlated with what most of the industry is saying about omnichannel in the luxury hotel industry.