Overrated and abused. But never put in practice.
That’s what I think about the term personalisation in the context of Hospitality.
Because too many operators and hotel professionals have talked and keep talking about it, yet our industry still remains the global master of commoditisation.
And here lies the problem in my opinion: we refer to personalisation only when it comes to deliver a good service to the in-house guests.
In other words, we start personalising when the guest is already with us.
But can personalisation be used as a marketing weapon to turn prospects into guests?
The concept of Dynamic Content has been around for a few years now, yet it’s far from being the one thing hotel operators focus the most on.
And considering that nowadays dynamic-content tools cost little to nothing, it’s likely it’ll become the next buzzword in the context of marketing for hotels.
However at the present day there is still some confusion around dynamic content and how can hotels leverage this tool.
And so, in this article we’re going to see together 5 different ways hotel operators can use dynamic content, in order to provide their audiences with better contextualised information and turn more prospects into effective (direct) bookings.
Let’s dig in.
New vs Repeating Users.
This is the easiest one.
In recent years we talked a lot about how the typical hotel funnel involves multiple user visits to our channels, being them our hotel website (mainly) and the social media channels.
Put another way, visitors likely visit a hotel site more than just once before turning into bookers.
A first time visitor is likely in “discovery” mode, whilst a returning user is probably closer to taking action, aka making a booking.
So why not adapting our messaging, pieces of our website content, to better reflect and offer what a new and a returning visitors are looking for respectively?
It can be some super simple like a Welcome message, as opposed to a Welcome-back message.
In fact, playing with dynamic doesn’t have to be complicated, nor time consuming.
If you think setting up something like this on your site is complicated, just be aware that today you can achieve all this, and a lot more, in a matter of a few minutes and without any technical knowledge.
Depending of course on the tool that you’ll be using, but there are also CMS systems like Hubspot that come with such feature available to their clients.
Discount Code only in Retargeting.
We just talked about returning visitors being likely closer to take action. Thus, let’s create more (compelling) CTAs for returning users only, without bothering new visitors who many not as much relate to special offers, discounts and promotions.
We can wait and hope for new website visitors to organically come back. Or, with a strategy and structure in place, we can intentionally get them back with our retargeting campaigns, being them via Google, via Facebook, via Email.
For example, we can display a CTA with an embedded discount code, which is not available to new users.
This way you avoid exposing discounts to too many clients and, more importantly, to too many OTA Market Managers who may potentially hurt your OTA ranking.
And finally, you’re making your retargeting more effective as you’re offering visitors a valid and tangible reason to come back to your site.
Give people what they are looking for. What does this really mean?
Let’s see an example: say, a luxury hotel with a rooftop pool.
The hotel is bidding on Google Ads towards keywords like “luxury hotel [town]” and “hotel with rooftop pool [town]”.
The hotel doesn’t have dedicated landing pages for these 2 keywords because the content would be pretty much similar, and so both keywords point to the same home page.
Yet, someone searching “hotel with pool” is telling the hotel something very specific: “pool” is more important than “luxury”.
Thus, even by keeping the same page, this hotel decides to dynamically change the main photo, headline and subtitle to reflect what people searched.
You searched “hotel with rooftop pool”? I’ll give you that.
Want a “luxury hotel”? There you go…
By specific keyword, adgroup, or campaign: it’s your choice the level of filter you want to base your dynamic content upon.
Show reviews in the visitor’s language.
“Nowadays everyone speaks English”.
True (to a certain extent). Yet, how much more would one relate to your hotel website if you can speak his or her own language?
And yet, you don’t have to translate anything, by simply leveraging the most obvious UGC (user generated content) you can count on: your customer reviews.
Your past guests have said a word or two about their experience with you, in their own language: collect them, and show them to all future prospects who speak the same native language.
Language is also the reflection of the culture one belongs to: for example, in my eyes (and subconscious mind) an Italian review will have a different weight as opposed to a review in, say, Russian or Chinese, because more similar to me (by language and, therefore, culture) and so I will be more influenced by it.
All you have to do is collect those continuous flow of reviews in different languages, maybe updating them every now and then.
No matter the available languages on your hotel site.
Create promotions in specific countries.
Most hotel operators do already offer geo-targeted promotions through the OTAs. Why not doing that too, through the direct hotel website?
Each user lands on your site with an IP address attached: no matter how explicit or hidden the info about the IP address are, the country where the IP comes from is always available.
Thus, use it to your advantage: you can create country-specific promotions in the form of banners, specific areas on the site and call to actions.
The promotion will likely have to be linked to the booking engine, so that users from those countries targeted by the promotion can book.
So, as long as your booking engine has the capability to show only specific promotions (rates, offers), typically using a deeplink, you don’t need anything else.
If you asked what works best I’d have difficulties at answering because, again, it depends. There is no dynamic-content tool that will do the magic if you don’t contextualise everything into a strategy.
But just to give you an example, I’ve been using the Discount Code in Retargeting as my preferred tactic and generally speaking hotels are able to genere twice as much revenue, for half the cost of acquisition.
Which is no surprise, because as I always say, especially in advertising, the #1 focus of any adverts that we share with the world is relevance.
The more relevant we manage to be, the more revenue we’re going to generate. Easy peasy.