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6 Examples Of Hotels Who’ve Embraced Digital

We take a look at 6 examples hotels who have embraced digital marketing and the boom of tech-savvy travelers booking their accommodation online.

The boom of tech-savvy travellers booking their accommodation online is a trend that shows no signs of being a passing fad.

The convenience of booking, in some cases on a smartphone, (as recent studies from Sojern show 20-30% travelers prefer to do), and the popularity of price comparison sites has put pressure on hoteliers looking to make their hotels stand out from the crowd.

In fact, 54% of hotel owners reported that they were investing in new technologies in 2016, with mobile engagement and guest room tech being amongst their top investment priorities.

Here are six examples of hotels who’ve embraced digital.

Virgin Hotels – Mobile Personalisation 

Research from TripAdvisor reveals that 9 out of 10 travellers use their smartphones when on holiday.

As discussed in this previous post, every hotelier needs to be utilising mobile, using things like personalised apps to make their guests’ stays more enjoyable, as well as recommending and upselling additional hospitality services through the platform.

Virgin Hotels offers a mobile app named ‘Lucy’ that boasts powerful features and controls. ‘Lucy’ can adjust a guest’s room temperature through its controls, as well as select shows to stream through the hotel room’s TV, and more.

Virgin Hotel’s ‘The Know’ rewards program also works from mobile and allows customers to choose their minibar contents, as well as cocktails upon arrival.

Fairmont Hotels, Loews Hotels – User Generated Content

Holidaymakers booking their accommodation online want to see as many images of the hotel as they can. If they can catch a glimpse of what a guest’s stay genuinely looks like, they can more easily imagine themselves in one of your rooms and be inspired to book.

User-generated branded hashtags for Instagram and Facebook are a great way for guests to share their hotel experiences. These candid shots give future guests a chance to reassure themselves about their booking decisions.

Travel brands that have used user-generated hashtag campaigns successfully include Fairmont Hotels with #FairmontMoment, and Loews Hotels with  #TravelForReal campaign.

Marriott Hotels – Social Media Feedback

The question every hotelier should ask when a guest checks out, “Is there anything that would have made your stay with us more comfortable?”

Well, Marriott Hotels took this idea to their digital marketing campaign team and came up with a winning competition idea that would benefit their online engagement figures, as well as their customers’ holidays.

The hotel chain put up a social media competition called, #Travel Brilliantly. Here, they asked their customers for feedback on their Marriott stays, and the entry with the best idea for an improvement won a luxury stay at one of their hotels.

The winning entry requested that Marriott hotels stock healthy food choices in their vending machines. After the contest wrapped, Marriott ‘made good’ with the competition winner’s idea; they now sell healthy snacks in their vending machines all over the world.

Holiday Inn (Japan) – A.I Concierge Chat Bots

Hotel guests expect the best service, regardless of their budgets, and for many, being seen to instantly when raising a query with staff is essential for maintaining good customer service standards.

Chatbots can revolutionise the way hotel guests and staff interact, as a live messenger window on a hotel website can help guests check-in, make dinner reservations, find out where the onsite gym, is and more.

Holiday Inn in Japan were the pioneers of using Chatbots for their non-Japanese-speaking guests. They developed ‘Bebot, the A.I concierge’, to help guests check-in, plan their meals, and recommend local places to visit, through a bespoke, programmable mobile platform.

A.I chatbots can be installed through your existing homepage template and should be a consideration for hoteliers looking for an easy way to gather reviews from satisfied customers.

For instance, if a chatbot answers a customer’s query and is then programmed to ask for customer feedback, the customer may be far more likely to:

  1. Give a review
  2. Give a positive feedback score, based on the assistance the chatbot just gave them.

It also goes without saying, if your customers interact and leave a negative review of their stay, the chatbot automatically collects this data, allowing you to improve your services over time.

Ace Hotel London – The Sophisticated Souvenir Shop

When travelling to a far-off clime, many of us love to bring back souvenirs for our loved ones.

Traditionally, many hotel gift shops contain trinkets and postcards of the local area. Small items that can easily slip into cabin luggage, as well as guest comfort essentials like toothpaste and shower gel.

Ace Hotel London, Shoreditch have taken the idea of the hotel gift shop to the next level with their self-titled ‘open-air flea market’ and website. In the hotel’s lobby, guests can find stands of high-end goods for sale including clothing, homewares, and gifts.

Follow in Ace’s footsteps and create your own online retail emporium. By making their own online store and opening up shop (just like Ace did), hoteliers can maximise retail profits, catching the customers who have already checked-out,  and giving them the chance to buy the products they were browsing during their stay.

Hotel de Paris – The Virtual Reality Tour

Virtual reality (VR) is creating huge waves in the digital marketing sphere — thanks to Facebook’s introduction of 360° views, and Google’s cardboard VR viewer, the technology is now accessible to everyday internet users.

By 2020 experts predict that the VR industry will be worth more than $162 billion as the costs for consumers and developers continues to fall.

Hospitality brands can jump on the VR trend to boost their profits by providing guests with unique, 360° views of their hotel rooms like the Hotel de Paris, Monte Carlo.

Typically travellers using hotel comparison sites will look at many booking options before making a choice. By adding a unique ‘twist’ to the conventional hotel gallery, you can offer would-be guests better reassurance, which could, in turn, help you increase your numbers of room bookings.

Hoteliers should be looking to upgrade their digital offerings in the years to come. Costs to implement even simple things like 360° imagery and hashtag campaigns are staggeringly small, and any of these examples listed above can be applied to bring about a surge in your bookings.

Do all you can to improve your customer’s’ time at your hotel and build brand loyalty using developments in mobile and guest feedback to guide you.

Victoria Greene is a branding expert and freelance writer. On her blog,  Victoriaecommerce, she regularly shares advice for brands looking to increase profits with new technologies.