Does your hotel have a digital transformation plan in place? And do you understand why your hotel would need one today?
Digital transformation is more than disruption or technology. It’s about value innovation, a growth mindset, people, optimization, understanding every touchpoint in the customer experience, and the capability to rapidly adapt when such is needed through intelligent and cost-effective use of technologies and information.
In this article, we will lay out the ultimate digital transformation plan that will rescue any hotel, whether you have an exciting plan in place or not.
Are you ready to start a new unique digital transformation for your hotel? If yes then keep on reading.
Where do hotels stand with digitization today?
Here in the United States, we are now experiencing that businesses are starting to bounce back again. And people, in general, is eager to travel again.
Both business and leisure travel is picking up tractions again.
On the surface, this sounds like good news for the hotel or for that matter the hospitality industry. But the hotel industry now faces a new challenge in a labor shortage.
And several hotels tried both known and new tactics to attract employees back to the industry. People that previously worked in the hotel industry and either were laid off or furloughed don’t appear to be sympathetic enough to the industry’s current need. And other people have picked up on this sentiment, and rather prefer other industries.
You might ask what does this have to do with digitization?
Well, the short answer is everything.
The missing digital link
Digitization is built on several principles, but hotels have missed out on simple human-to-human principles.
And it is on the most basic principles where hotels are behind compared to brands that experience a smoother recovery from the pandemic. It will do you no good investing in tech and digital tools if your hotel just doesn’t get the most basic principles.
Hotels must start to create a culture of trust and commitment that motivates people to execute the agreed strategy, not to the letter, but the spirit!
It is key that hotels start to use the high-value resource as an employee to understand the importance of building a tribe that will grow into a high-value community with a large network. The community will drive a positive reputation for the hotel which they will share with their network.
Turn your employees into high-value dedicated hotel advocates that take ownership of helping customers understand the value of what the hotel brings to them.
Reimaging your new workplace starts with connectivity.
We want the future for hotels to be a smarter connected workplace. A smarter workplace is a dynamic digital transformation process.
The idea for your hotel is to become more effective and productive as a result of digital solutions helping employees become more confident and happier in their new workplace.
Today we must look at digital solutions that make it easy for the hotel to provide ongoing training programs that support the day-to-day operation. But in addition, also provide alternative courses that make cross-training in different departments easier.
Many experts today indicate that collaborations are the new competitive advantage. I will also argue that collaboration is what will allow your hotel to tap into new uncontested markets.
Innovative brands today provide meaningful and exciting rewards for their employees. Brands are starting to utilize more experimental rewards like a once-in-a-lifetime rewards.
The key behind these types of rewards is that they are extremely motivating and engaging.
As a result, the employee ends up becoming more connected to your hotel and will start sharing sentiments with their peer and network that will pay back the hotel in dividends.
Make your hotel employees part of critical decision-making processes that help your hotel bounce back to a new and bright future.
Embrace an innovative inclusive workplace.
To create a rewarding community, you need to start by embracing a new culture for your hotel.
I already enlisted several steps that will lead your hotel up to this point.
Hotels need to involve employees in helping them create a new mission statement. The employees will feel they are working towards a goal that is bigger than themselves.
All the elements in this process focus on value innovation and a growth mindset.
You want your employees to become unique brand ambassadors for your hotel.
Since your hotels will implement new innovative connectivity ideas this will open the doors to implementing unique alternative training programs.
What if your employee wants to learn Scooba diving? Paragliding? Playing piano? Social media? AI programming?
If your hotel has done your homework, you should have a picture of your new ideal customers.
When introducing a new culture for your hotel also make sure you involve your employees in helping you to identify your new ideal customers.
You can trigger some ideas from the customers’ skillset to help employees engage with customers at a unique level.
Remember this is about building a community that will truly understand the value of making a direct booking with your hotel.
Digital Transformation mindset
Cultivating a digital transformation mindset has been a challenge for many leaders in the hotel industry.
For many hotel leaders, the environmental structures often define their strategy. Is the hotel industry growing or shrinking? Is the customer demand up or down?
And when faced with new challenges, declining demands, and increasing costs this will shape their actions.
A digital transformation focus on shaping new hotel industry conditions in their favor.
And instead of focusing on a highly competitive red ocean digital transformation focus on making the competition irrelevant.
With a digital transformation mindset leaders shift focus from fighting over existing customers to capturing and creating new demands.
Traditionally hotel leaders have focused on value-cost trade-offs either creating greater value for customers at a higher cost or creating reasonable value at a lower cost.
Digital transformation focuses on differentiation and low-cost simultaneous by creating a leap in value both for consumers and the hotel industry.
With a digital transformation mindset, hotel leaders adapt and respond well to transformations and disruptions. They are curious and committed to learning. Failures and concerns are seen as learning opportunities. They are comfortable with experimentation and iterations. And they incorporate sustainability, inclusiveness, diversity, and well-being processes for the greater good of the hotel industry.
Get Started with your Hotels Digital Transformation Plan
A report from McKinsey & Company shows one trend in China that accelerated during COVID-19 is digitization. It has not only impacted business-to-consumer (B2C) applications and channels, but also the also less traditional digitized part of the economy, such as areas requiring physical contact, and business-to-business processes (B2B).
And the first wave of travelers is younger people that are more accustomed to using digital channels during all touchpoints of their customer journey.
One extremely important point for hotels to understand with this trend is that the younger generation of travelers is looking for brands to lead the way and they want brands to create change with them, not just for them.
Don’t invest in digitalization just because of the trends or for the sake of just doing it. The purpose of the digital marketing funnel for Hotels is to help you make the best decision in a relevant context.
Digital Transformation Plan starter tips
Here are some tips before you start to outline your hotels’ digital transformation plan;
- Start with your employee and then the customer. Build your plan around employee and customer insight and needs, not around your service offers and tactics.
- Keep it flexible. It is essential today to be flexible with your plan and have the ability to adapt and change quickly.
- Set realistic and smarter goals. Make sure your goals are understood by your employees, and that they buy into them.
- Keep It Simple! Again it is important that everyone is on board and has understood the purpose of the digital transformation plan.
- Keep the plan up to date. Review the plan together with your employees on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis to learn what is working and what is not working.
- No plan is perfect. Don’t sweat or worry about perfections. Remember imperfect action can be adjusted.
Understand where your hotel is now
It is time to start mapping out where your hotel stands today.
When creating a digital marketing plan, SWOT (Strength – Weakness – Opportunities – Threats) analysis is an essential step.
The SWOT framework is a great way to get a better perspective of what you do well, address what you’re lacking, minimize risks, and take the greatest possible advantage of chances for success.
|Strengths – S
|Weaknesses – W
|1. Existing hotel brand
2. Existing employees
3. Existing customers
4. Existing distribution
|1. Hotel perceptions
2. Intermediate usage
4. Employee channel support
|Opportunities – O
|SO – strategies
|WO – strategies
New uncontested markets
New experience offers
|Leverage strengths to maximize opportunities
|Identify and review weaknesses to explore new opportunities
|Treats – T
|ST – strategies
|WT – strategies
New competitive alternative
|Leverage strengths to minimize threats
|Identify and review weaknesses and treats
With SWOT we are not only looking at digital channels but also see this in context with offline channels.
Employees and customers often need and want to contact by phone, callback and hotels still need to use offline communications like print, direct mail, and TV in many cases.
Imagine where your hotel could be
One key to a successful digital transformation process is to map out the full customer experience while using your hotels’ offerings.
All customers have significant problems that are worth solving by your hotel’s offerings.
Your hotels’ customer utility map;
|Fun & Image
X – A customer pain point
O – What hotel currently focuses on
X – Customers are not getting enough relevant real time support
O – Create a high-value touchless hotel check-in experience
Productivity – Anything to do with efficiency – less time, effort, and/or money in fulfilling customer needs.
Customer productivity – what is the biggest block to customer productivity in each stage? What are the key reasons for this block?
Simplicity – Anything that eliminates or minimizes complexity mental hassle.
Simplicity – what is the biggest block to simplicity in each stage? What are the key reasons for this block?
Convenience – When and where customers want something – like support 24/7, 365, etc.
Convenience – what is the biggest block to convenience in each stage? What are the key reasons for this block?
Risk Reduction – This may be financial, physical, and emotional, including reputation.
Risk reduction – what is the biggest block to risk reduction in each stage? What are the key reasons for this block?
Fun and Image – This is the tangible and intangible aesthetic look, feel, attitude, and style your hotel offering conveys.
Fun and Image – what is the biggest block to fun and image in each stage? What are the key reasons for this block?
Environmental Friendliness (sustainability) – This is about ‘green’ matters. Is your hotel offering environmentally friendly? Or do customers prefer your offerings due to your hotel brand’s strong reputation for environmental friendliness?
Environmental friendliness – what is the biggest block to environmental friendliness in each stage? What are the key reasons for this block?
Your hotels’ unique digital personas
Understand what are the unique challenges and aspirations of the audience that you’re serving. What are the benefits of your hotels’ experiencer hotel offers?
What are the stories that prove the unique value you deliver?
Create your hotels’ personas in context with the data from the customer utility map.
Digital Millenial Traveler Marie
Travel Style: Adventure
Location: Nashville, TN
Preferred language: English
Income: $45,000 a year
Social networks: Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook
Marie a Nashville, TN resident is 23, She was hired as a customer service representative, after graduating from Vanderbilt University. She makes $45,000 annually, most she saves for her travels. Marie is a thrill seeker and is always looking for her next adventure on sites like Instagram and Pinterest. Her goal on each trip is to find the best deal on an unforgettable experience.
Ideal features: Prefere mobile apps to find information about her next trip
Needs: WiFi, touchless hotel service alternatives
Pain Points: Low star rating, the room doesn’t match the photos
How can your hotel serve? Chatbots, digital tools for internal communication, kiosk
Identify how your hotel gets there
This digital transformation plan focuses on some key principles that will lead your hotel to a new and bright future.
One key principle is the focus on value innovation. Here we focus on making the competition irrelevant by creating a leap in value for employees and customers and your hotel, thereby opening up new and uncontested markets.
Value innovation places equal emphasis on value and innovation.
Value without innovation tends to focus on value creation on an incremental scale, something that improves value but is not sufficient to make your hotel stand out in the marketplace to have a good view of what your hotel is offering now, And your hotel might identify that some of these offerings are irrelevant but never been questioned due to long-held industry standards.
Innovation without value tends to be technology-driven, market pioneering, or futuristic, often shooting beyond what employees and customers are ready to accept.
And here we introduce an actionable framework that will enable your hotel to translate data collected into concrete, actionable, strategic options that pursue both differentiation and low cost.
Four Action Framework
|Which factors that your hotel takes for granted should be eliminated?
|Which factors should be raised well above your hotels’ standards?
|Which factors should be reduced well below your hotels’ standards?
|Which factors that your hotel has never offered should be created?
Which factors that your hotel takes for granted should be eliminated?
This question forces you to consider eliminating factors your hotel has long competed on. Your hotel identified these factors to be irrelevant today with the customer utility map.
These factors have a huge impact on the hotel’s cost structure. In most cases, they have little to no gain. And substantial cost savings can be made by eliminating them.
Some examples – are front desk service, bellmen, room service
Which factors should be reduced well below your hotels’ standards?
Here you want to identify if your hotel’s product and services have been overdesigned to the race to match and beat the competition.
This often results in over-serve customers and increases the cost structure for no gain.
By reducing these factors your hotels’ costs can be lowered further.
Some examples – are guestroom types, amenities
Which factors should be raised well above your hotels’ standards?
This question will help you uncover and eliminate compromises customers are forced to make.
These compromises are usually caused by a failure to see that customers want more of some factors than the current hotel standards offer.
Some examples – Free instant high-speed internet, Free movies on demand
Which factors that your hotel has never offered should be created?
This will drive hotels to offer entirely new kinds of value for customers and create new demand by converting once noncustomers into customers.
Some examples – Kiosk for self-check-in, mobile check-in, hiring multitasking hotel advocates with a can-do attitude
Make your hotels move
When starting your hotels’ digital transformation plan either from scratch or an existing plan it is key you obtain validation and feedback on the strategic options and consolidate employees’ commitment to and support for the chosen move.
We want to assure your hotels’ digital transformation plan focus on smarter goals, smarter decisions, and smarter choices for management, employees, and customers.
This is the part where you start focusing more on tactics and actions.
And here we start to use the RACE framework;
R – Reach
A – Act
C – Convert
E – Engage
RACE is a practical framework to get your hotel started with / or optimize the current digital marketing plan.
Reach involves building awareness of your hotel brand, product, and services on other websites and offline media to build traffic by driving visits to different web presences like your hotels’ website, landing pages, or social media channels.
This involves optimizing and maximizing reach over time to create multiple interactions using different paid, owned, and earned media touchpoints.
Exploration – investment in always-on and campaign activities including organic and paid search, social media, PR, display, and influencer marketing.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI) – audience share, audience volume, audience quality, audience value, and audience cost.
The Act is short for interaction. This is about the interaction on your hotels’ website and social media. Your hotel wants to identify the silver lining that persuades website visitors and prospects to take the step. At the top of the funnel, customers are seeking more information about your hotels’ experience offers.
You need to define these actions as part of your smarter goals and set them as key performance indicators in Google Analytics.
One essential element of the Act is to encourage participation on social media and review channels.
Decision making – make your hotel worth finding with a clear customer journey and content strategy that is timely, relevant, inspiring, useful, and creates leads.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI) – lead/leads conversion rate, time on site, likes and shares, loyal membership registrations.
Convert identify the conversion path to booking either online or offline. This process is about getting your customer to take that critical step in making a booking either online or offline.
Booking – persuasion using conversion rate optimization (CRO) and retargeting to ensure contextual relevance for your hotel (direct booking from your hotels’ website), trust, and value that drives conversion.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI) – booking (on and offline influence), revenue, conversion, and booking value.
Engage is a concept where you utilize your hotel employees to help build relationships with both first-time guests and repeat guests. Let your hotel employees be part of the communications on your hotel websites, social media, chatbots, video, live events, etc. The goal is to build lifetime guests together with your employees.
Here also we want to define these actions in context by measuring relevant key performance indications in Google Analytics.
Advocacy – happy engaged employees and trilled customers are key to success with social media, social proof, repeat bookings, and referrals. Research both employee and customer loyalty drivers.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI) – repeat booking (lifetime value), hotel satisfaction, loyalty, advocacy.
Activities for optimizing your hotel’s digital transformation
Reach – customer acquisition strategies to build awareness to drive presence to your hotel website and increase direct bookings.
- Search Engage Optimization
- Pay Per Click (PPC)
- Partner marketing
- Online advertising
- Online PR
- Social Media marketing
Act and Convert – customer acquisition strategies to build awareness to drive presence to your hotel website and increase direct bookings.
- Conversion rate optimization
- Ecommerce management
- Lead generation
- Home page optimization
- Landing page optimization
- AB split testing
Engage – retention and growth strategy to build customer and fan relationships to encourage repeat visits and bookings.
- Content marketing strategy
- Newsletter and promotional emails
- E-contact strategy
- Customer service and support
- Mobile marketing
- Social CRM
Basic digital marketing audit
Define your strategy
You will need to get a good idea of what you currently are doing and along with your current SWOT.
- Identify all your current digital marketing activities (if any)
- Work out your SWOT
- Outline your S.M.A.R.T.E.R. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely, Exciting, Risky) goals and objectives
- Understand who you are marketing to, their needs wants and expectations
Success factors and deliverables
- A clear picture of how your hotels’ digital channels collectively perform
- Standard campaign tracking and attribution for reviewing performance
- A gap analysis for target keywords based on different consumer search types to show opportunities for organic and paid search
- A social media campaign plan to promote the right content to the right people and work with relevant influencers
- A paid digital transformation budget and schedule defining investments to reach your hotels’ audience
Have you audited your hotels’ current digital marketing plan?
Do you have a digital transformation plan?
Do you have a new defined digital customer acquisition plan?
Do you have defined your hotels’ digital value proposition?
Do you have prioritized investments for your digital transformation plan?
Have you developed S.M.A.R.T.E.R. objectives that are aligned with your contributions from digital channels?
Have you customized your Google Analytics goals, events, and dimensions? Do you have a digital performance review dashboard set up?
Digital Media / Social Media
Have you reviewed your current digital media effectiveness?
Have you assessed your hotels’ internal social media capability?
Do you have a digital transformation budget?
Do you have a digital quality assurance process?
Have you assessed your hotel content effectiveness and ROI?
Do you have a defined content marketing strategy?
Have you benchmarked your hotels’ website for usability and customer journey effectiveness?
Do you have a defined plan for testing your hotels’ website experience? Does your hotel have a conversion rate optimization (CRO)/ personalization plan?
Have you planned your hotels’ customer segmentation and targeting?
Do you have a defined employee and customer engagement plan?
Do you have a plan for building a tribe of advocates for your hotels? Do you have a plan for automated response technology?
Prompt interactions, loyalty sign-ups, and leads
Rather than immediately focus on conversion, your hotel needs to focus on inspiring interactions with your content and social media profiles.
The idea is to create a unique tribe of advocates that inspire a community and their network to take relevant contextual actions (direct booking).
- Review existing landing pages quality (customer benefits and analytics)
- Define which customer actions that make them a valuable lead
- Identify key micro-moments that bring customers into your tribe and encourage loyal members
Success factors and deliverables
- Identified hotel website improvements to make customer journeys more efficient
- Optimized hotel landing pages and content hub to maximize conversion to lead
- Defined lead scoring based on ideal customers personas, relevance to your hotel, and level of booking intent
- A budgeted content marketing strategy to support the customer acquisition
- A digital huddle/editorial calendar and campaign plans
Does your hotel have a defined content marketing strategy?
Have your hotels’ interactions with customers been mapped across the entire path to booking?
Does your hotel have a process for measuring the different types of leads?
Does your hotel have a process for assessing the quality of visitors to your hotels’ website?
Digital Media / Social Media
Have you reviewed the percentage of interactions from all your digital channels? (social media, mobile, desktop/laptop, email, chatbots, apps, podcast, webinar, video, live)
Does your hotel have a native ad retargeting in place to generate leads? (Google for hotels, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube)
Is your hotels’ digital transformation content optimized and generating leads based on preference?
Is your hotels’ content perceived as credible and trustworthy?
Does your hotel’s content embrace your employees’ values, and showcase some of their day-to-day actions to assure that every customer’s needs are taken care of?
Are your hotels’ landing pages optimized for generating leads?
Are your hotels using employees to help nurture relevant leads?
Do your hotel have targeted email campaigns in place for new leads?
Does your hotels’ website have a chatbot for customer interactions?
Are you utilize employees to interact with leads?
Do your hotel has a dedicated tribe/community that can interact with leads?
Achieve direct bookings
Focus on getting your audience to take that next step turning a lead into a direct booking.
- Identify the conversion funnel and path to direct booking
- Understand what kind of personalization your hotel can achieve with the digital transformation process
- Establish an internal communication process
Success factors and deliverables
- Effective email and native advertising retargeting process
- A plan to implement personalization elements to your hotels’ website based on customer behavior
- A hotel website that is fully optimized for mobile browsing
- A digital multichannel marketing plan that lets customers reach you through different ʻconversation marketingʼ options such as email, chatbots, SMS, Social messaging, live and mobile apps
- A list of key landing pages to be optimized through AB testing
Do you have a structural AB testing plan in place?
Do you have a defined personalization plan?
Is your AB testing regular?
Does your digital transformation plan support offline conversations?
Are your hotels using Google Analytics to track relevant data?
Do you use dedicated customer touchpoints to review digital performance?
Is the influence of digital channels prompting direct booking understood?
Digital Media / Social Media
Is your hotel investing sufficiently in Google Hotel Ads and paid Social Media retargeting?
Can you attribute a direct booking to a specific digital marketing channel?
Is your content optimized and created to match preferences that are identified in the path-to-booking?
Are your structured AB testing directed towards personalization optimization?
Are your hotel’s direct booking simple and effective?
Do your hotels use multiple digital marketing channels to support direct bookings?
Is your hotels’ personalization effective for attracting new customers and returning customers?
Do you have a seamless conversion journey?
Do you have an automated email follow-up process with leads?
Does your hotel use a chatbot to support the personalization of your hotel website?
Are you using other digital tools (webinars, podcasts, video, live, blog, demos) to support direct bookings?
Encourage repeat customers
Add value to your hotel experience with storytelling, case studies, and engaging social content.
- Outline your hotels’ onboarding process through email, SMS, and social messaging
- Establish your digital transformation customer service/customer service recovery process
- Identify post-booking data for areas you can use in remarketing communication
Social factors and deliverables
- A personalized welcome sequence for onboarding new customers
- A list of hotel website elements that promote customer engagement and loyalty
- A refined customer service/customer service recovery process to deal with queries through multiple digital channels
- Digital marketing campaigns designed to keep customers interacting with your hotel website and service offers
- A social media plan that amplifies the human element behind people who have previously made a direct booking with your hotel
Has your hotel conducted customer research on digital channel effectiveness?
Do you have a 90-day plan for implementing your digital CRM campaign strategy?
Are your hotels’ custom dimensions set in Google Analytics used to track returning customers?
Is all your customer engagement tracked?
Are your customers profiled for characteristics, values, and preferences? Do you assess customer satisfaction and loyalty with digital channels?
Digital Media / Social Media
Has your use of customer lists in Google Hotel Ads and paid social channels been reviewed?
Have you reviewed and optimized your Google Hotel Ads campaign?
Is your hotels’ organic social media amplification effective for customer acquisition?
Is your content optimized with a retention focus on existing customers? Are your hotel’s personalization efforts effective toward return customers?
Are your social customer service and customer service recovery content effective?
Is your hotel’s digital on-boarding process effective for new customers?
Is your hotel’s customer journey mapping effective both for new and returning customers?
Have loyalty drivers been researched to identify barriers to repeat bookings?
Have you reviewed your hotels’ emails, messaging, chatbots, social media channels, mobile apps, and hotel websites for customer on-boarding effectiveness?
Are your hotels using targeted and optimized newsletters?
Are your hotels using targeted and optimized email campaigns?
Are your hotel employees part of your communication hub?
Are your hotels involving your tribe (employees and advocates) effectively to build a social media community?
Creating a new culture with your Digital Transformation Plan
Throughout this Digital Transformation plan, my focus is to help hotels create a new culture that builds around a positive and high-value employee experience. My vision is to create happier, more productive, and more effective employees that will become valuable hotel ambassadors.
Instead of treating execution as something that happens after the digital transformation plan has been set, it needs to be built into the plan from the start or your hotels’ employees won’t own it.
You want to move employees by inspiring and building their confidence to own and drive your new digital transformation plan, they will be committed to seeing change through and overcoming any constraints you confront.
Create a culture where you inspire your employees, and work with them to overcome skepticism, vulnerabilities, and fears that they can’t do it.
One component that I add to this process is what I call a digital transformation huddle.
Digital Transformation Huddle
The digital transformation huddles are daily and weekly meetings for dedicated and specific updates that ignite important conversations to assure your hotel reputation management and assess your smarter goals.
The digital transformation huddle focuses on a consistent format to communicate relevant updates, and figure out your hotel’s next steps.
This is also a venue to ask for help and identify opportunities or roadblocks on important trends or feedback.
- All managers have a Start/Stop/Keep communication with at least one employee weekly.
- The insights from employee conversations are shared at the weekly executive team meeting.
- Employee input about obstacles and opportunities is being collected weekly.
- A team member is responsible for the process of closing the loop on all obstacles and opportunities.
Design the digital transformation huddle in context with your hotel’s digital content calendar. Focus on value innovation with new creative elements to share with your audience. Have fun!
Implement humanness in the process
What are the benefits of inspiring employees and customers?
How will a more inclusive hotel help lift your employees’ spirit?
Improve every day
What are examples of new digital marketing your hotel has implemented that make the employee and customer experience better?
Celebrate your guests
Showcase how your hotel’s employees take care of guests that are celebrating a special occasion.
Behind the scene
Take customers behind the scene to show how employees prepare to ensure customers’ needs and wants are met.
Daily communication habits
Showcase how employees use digital tools in internal communication to better respond to the guest service recovery process.
Weekly digital postcard
Use your social channels to showcase a collage of images taken in connection with your hotel.
Upgrading your employees’ skills is a critical component of any hotel’s success. Showcase how your hotel uses digital tools in day-to-day operations for alternative training to better serve customers’ needs.
Creating new digital experience offers
Adopt a new reality providing guests with a mobile app for touchless service alternatives. Use employees to demonstrate how it works.
Use your hotel employees and advocates to talk about your hotel and the surrounding areas.
Partner with a mobile app solution that allows guests to take advantage of services not offered at your hotel.
Health and wellness
What measurements have your hotel implemented to ensure both employees’ and guests’ health and wellbeing?
Can do moment
Every day provides ‘Can do’ moments. Showcase how your employees solve these opportunities.
What is your hotel doing to always be prepared for the next guest
Learn and help learn
A focus on value innovation and a growth mindset is key to the digital huddle.
Every day presents you and your hotels’ team members with unique opportunities to help yourself and the people you care about grow.
How can you and your team members look for these opportunities?
As a daily exercise in context with the digital huddle you and your team members should ask questions like;
What are the opportunities for learning and growth today? For yourself? For every team member at the hotel?
How should the team implement a plan today to make this happen?
What types of actions should every team member take to make this happen?
And when the team succeeded with the plan then ask;
What can we do as a team to maintain and continue the growth?
There are many growth mindset questions you can rotate on with your team;
What made you think hard today?
How will you challenge yourself today?
What can you learn from this experience or mistake?
What would you do differently next time to make things work better?
What else do you want to learn?
What strategy can you try?
Who can you ask for honest feedback?
Are proud of the result? Why or why not?
How can you amplify your hotel employees’ positive energy and contributions?
Your hotel must use the daily digital huddle together with your employees.
Your employees are the face of your hotel brand. They are the ones that will walk the talk every day to create that unique customer experience that gives the customers pause, make them smile, and motivates them to come back.
With all the challenges hotels still faces from COVID-19 along with labor shortage it is more important than ever that employees become an essential part of the digital transformation plan.
The customer has already adapted to a new digital reality.
A core principle of the digital transformation process is to empower and trust your hotels’ employees to use their best judgment when communicating with customers instead of a complex script.
Another important core principle in this process is to introduce meaningful performance incentives. Increasing wages alone might end up just being a band-aid solution. But in context with meaningful performance incentives, it adds value for employees, customers, and the hotel.
Hire based on attitude, and train your employees on work-related skills and alternative skills. Together with the employees, you will be able to identify incentives that will raise their spirit, and make them happier and more productive.
Following these core principles and you will turn your employees into effective hotel advocates.
Hotel advocates will take the digital transformation plan to the next level
Hotels must understand the primary flow of their new ideal customers. And it all starts with understanding your tribe at a deep level.
Once you know your new ideal customer, you’ll understand who they are, how they speak, what they’re thinking, what they want, what’s stopping them from pursuing what they want, and even why they want what they want.
This deep understanding will create the basis of everything your hotel says, write and do in your business – from your experience offers to your emails and social media posts.
And it all starts with a focus on value innovation and turning your employees into effective hotel advocates. Throughout this process, I have implemented several steps to turn your hotels’ employees into a unique tribe.
With the help of meaningful incentives, your hotel advocates will help you reach a community with a large network. Your hotel advocates will assist you throughout the entire customer journey.
Use your incentive programs to help employees get a better understanding of the value of a direct booking.
At this point, your hotel can introduce a hotel advocate bonus program in context with customer service and customer service recovery. Work the bonus program out with employees.
Example: Employees can earn up to 30 percent bonus each month, based on 100 percent customer satisfaction.
Content marketing, social media, and storytelling
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – to drive profitable customer action.
Content marketing is a tool used by hotel brands to educate, inform or entertain customers or prospects by creating attention or causing behavior that results in leads, bookings, or advocacy.
Social media is used by customers and prospects to communicate among themselves, and occasionally with a hotel brand. This communication can result in leads, bookings, or advocacy, but is often less structured and conversational. It can be reactive too, as social media is increasingly used as a customer support channel.
Social media is an effective tool for content distribution.
Storytelling is the interactive art of using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener’s imagination.
When crafting a digital story for your hotel, you have to be able to connect with your audience.
When shaping your digital content and story, keep the following objectives in mind:
- Target the right digital personas
- Learn what your hotel digital personas are looking for, AND
- Create content that appeals to their wants and needs.
Remember: Don’t settle for one approach, since your digital personas will respond differently to various forms of content.
Your hotel must take ownership of all content that relates to your hotel either it is posted on social media or on channels like TripAdvisor.
I left content marketing towards the end of this digital transformation process on purpose. This will allow your hotel to put content marketing into a more relevant context that will make sense.
You will at this point collect data that represent both employee and customer perspectives.
- Alternative digital learning
- Bonus programs and gains from partnerships
- Cost innovations
- Prime location
- Unique sleeping environment
- A free high-speed internet
A content calendar enables your hotel team to stay organized and provide your audience with a consistent flow of content. Here are six ways it helps:
- Coordination: A content calendar lets you coordinate your hotel team tasks and manage the entire workflow.
- Transparency: All your hotel team members stay updated on progress made per content asset.
- Flexible priorities: Once you have a content plan, you can change it. Your content calendar shows you the priorities, so as new tasks arise, you can reprioritize and adjust your existing plan easily.
- Planning: You can monitor important dates and prepare all necessary resources ahead of time.
- Content gaps: With a content calendar, you can identify content gaps or missing assets immediately.
- Complete picture: It provides a birds-ey view of your entire content marketing strategy including past, present, and future content.
In context with the digital huddle, this provides your hotel with a road map that lays out operational details and actions, including key milestones of what is to happen and the objectives for each action.
Making digital transformation part of your hotels’ new culture
An essential part of the digital transformation frameworks is the focus on creating a new unique culture for your hotel. This is a process where everyone at your hotel works together with your tribe and community for more profitable growth.
I have in this article outlined a framework to either get your hotel started with the digital transformation plan or to start optimizing your existing plan. If your hotel wants to take this process then Are Morch – Digital Marketing Coach will;
- Help grow your hotels’ awareness and improve employee’s skills
- Help implement the digital transformation plan more effective and efficient
- Help become more cost-effective and save time
- Help take control and ownership of your content
- Help identify growth opportunities
As a Digital Marketing Coach, I help hotels create unique, unexpected, and exciting experiences by freeing up resources to focus on new ideas through value innovation and a growth mindset.
And I will help your hotel create a new culture that builds around a positive and high-value employee experience. This will create happier, more productive, and more effective employees that will become valuable hotel advocates.
In my digital transformation process, I emphasize a more inclusive process. I will help your hotel identify alternative solutions that raise your employees’ spirit and the labor shortage.
I will help your hotel with;
- Identifying new opportunities and new uncontested markets
- Implementing your digital transformation plan
- Introduce digital tools that embrace alternative learning to increase the employees’ skills
- Monitoring performance and ROI
Ready to take your digital transformation plan to a new level?
Hire a digital hotel advocate for a new bright future!
Related article: The Ultimate Digital Marketing Guide for Hotels
We are in this together!
I need to let you all know that we are in on this together. If you need to vent, talk, cry, or just have someone to talk with, I am here listening. Since I am working part-time at the local Kroger, I will best work it out around my schedule to the best of my ability.
But you can reach me here:
Also, join us at our Facebook Group – Hotel Social Media Community
We will get through this unprecedented event together! #hotelstrong #hospitalitystrong
We are starting to reopen some hotels again (Yay!!!). Make sure you follow their guidelines and say THANK YOU to those that now show a unique spirit to serve, and help us all get through this!! #hotelstrong #hospitalitystrong
About Are Morch
Hi, I am Are Morch. Your Digital Marketing Coach and Customer Experience Expert help hotels create unique and unexpected experiences by freeing up resources to focus on new ideas through value innovation and a growth mindset.