How to Target the Right Consumers with the Right Deals, At the Right Time

By Mark Simpson President & Founder, Maxymiser | February 03, 2013

Customer demands have changed. Customer experience is more important than ever. And more than any other industry, the travel industry is primed to provide the best online, personalized experience out there. But what does "personalization" really mean? As trendy catchwords go, "personalization" has become a go-to term for websites and online marketers, laden with all the possibilities of connecting with individual consumers and a departure from the limitations of one-size-fits-all.

Personalization is no longer a trend-it's a must have, an expectation. With multiple devices, channels and on-the-go messages, consumers don't just want tailored offers and experiences-they need them.

The first step to getting here is to ask yourself: what are my business goals? Which kind of personalization program will be most effective in helping me achieve these? Only when you know what you want to accomplish will you be able to identify the right combination of technology, tools and strategy for your website. But getting visitors to book more trips, extend their trips, book more expensive trips, add items to enhance or expand their trip-insurance, tickets, car rental, etc. requires a few steps to provide the right offers at the right time.

1. Harness the power of Big Data

The phenomenon of Big Data comes with both opportunity and sacrifice. On one hand, travel brands that make sense of Big Data will be able drive more effective customer decisions based on evidence, rather than guesswork-giving them a distinct advantage over the competition in a fiercely competitive marketplace. On the other, Big Data can also be problematic largely in part because bringing together large amounts of information, from a variety of sources, is no small feat.

The good news is that online travel executives can be masters of their own destiny and avoid drowning in the sea of opportunity that Big Data offers. But getting started with Big Data, organizing your teams, and knowing which capabilities to acquire and what Big Data success looks like are crucial to meeting this goal.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.