Drive Revenue and Enhance Customer Experience with Digital Marketing

scottBy Scott Kaufmann – Vice President of Lucid Agency

In the last post, I discussed three trends that we’re likely to see starting to take off in 2015, all enabled by technology:

1. Convenience & Speed
2. Security
3. Data Acquisition & Customer Loyalty

In this post, let’s look at how marketers can use this information to drive additional revenue and enhance the customer experience and relationships, at growing restaurants and hotels. To keep with the “three trends” theme, here are three advances in digital marketing that enable better 1-to-1 personalized relationships and experiences with your customers.
1. Personalized Communications – If we use some of the data acquisition methods to capture not only email addresses, but also purchase, stay and preference history, we can design smart marketing programs that perform in a very personalized manner. In this example, we’re a rapidly growing hotel operator with a few locations. Let’s say we captured some data about our guest, Mary, the last time she was at a particular location. We tracked when she arrived, whether she parked her car, what she got at one of the restaurants, what was ordered on TV, and what was ordered for room service. Now we’re starting to have a profile, or a customized persona of Mary.

Consumers are starting to expect, and reward (when properly delivered) personalization. In fact, according to recent study by Econsultancy, 78% of respondents in their email marketing industry census believe that within 5 years, all email communications will be personalized. Personalized communications not only get a better open and read rate, but response rates are usually significantly improved. And why not… we all want to feel appreciated and understood; it’s just basic psychology. So instead of the normal email, where we blast out to everyone on the list and offer whatever seasonal promotion… what if we completely personalized the experience? What if we offered Mary a VIP 3 Night Stay (because we know she usually stays 2 nights), but we include free parking (because we know she brings a car), an upgraded dinner experience (because she didn’t spend a lot at dinner, but always eats at the restaurant), and couple that with a box of popcorn and 2 glasses of wine delivered to her room at any time (because we know she likes to order movies in her room and relax)? The likely result is that Mary would feel that we value her, pay attention to her likes, and offer an experience that best reflects what she does.

Maybe she books with this offer. Maybe she doesn’t. If she doesn’t, she at least knows that we’re taking pride in getting to know our customers and caring about them. This builds brand loyalty. If she does, then we’ve gained an extra night stay, revenue from dining, revenue from a movie, a likely room service additional order, tipping for parking staff and room wait staff, and other opportunities to increase incremental revenue during her extra day on site. Our costs are all minimal and incremental. Mary comes and has a wonderful experience, knowing that everything is personalized for her, and tells her friends how much we care and have gone above and beyond. This is a win-win-win. We gain revenue, and a happy loyal customer. Win-Win.

2. Filling Down Time – If we know the patterns of frequency from our customers, and their buying habits, we can use this information to help better manage down time and mitigate revenue fluctuations during down times. If we know that Mary usually comes out to our restaurant on Thursday nights, for example, but always orders specialty wines, then perhaps we announce that we’re having a specialty wine night on Monday or Tuesday night (our down nights) and that Mary, as one of our valued specialty wine fans, can experience exclusive wines not available on the menu on these nights. Oh, and we’re throwing in the wine tasting for free to accompany her meal. We’ve now gained all around. Mary is happy because she’s treated exclusively and we’ve personalized her experience, and provided value with the free wine tasting. And heck, we got her out of the house on a Tuesday night – she just needed a reason, after all. As the operator, we gain additional data from her (of note, many customers actually love to give opinions on our products and services – but even more so when framed with some level of exclusivity), we also fill down time which garners incremental revenue and keeps food ordering and wait staff scheduling more stable. Win-Win-Win.

3. Feedback & Participation – To extend on the situation above, we can actually use this experience to gain additional feedback and participation from our customer Mary. At this event we’ve asked Mary to help us craft our future selections by giving us feedback on these exclusive wines and food pairings. Mary not only gives us this feedback, but she enjoys the experience. Afterwards, we follow up with a personalized email to thank her, confirm her feedback, and offer her the chance to opt-in to future VIP events. We’re now building long-term loyalty, a feeling of exclusivity and a customer that feels both appreciated and that we’re providing exceptional value to her experience. We’re not cutting prices or getting into a discount war. No. We’re providing value and personalization. That’s the win that helps us and our customer, and we’re building a relationship. And an actual relationship, that is mutually beneficial, is what we should all strive for with our marketing.

Did this strike your fancy? Leave a comment or shoot us a message. If you would like to see how we can help your emerging restaurant or hotel brand move the needle toward the next generation of effective, personalized digital marketing, simply give us a call – it’s what we do, and we would love to help you realize your vision!

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