Jens Thraenhart, director of internet strategy at Fairmont hotels and resorts, takes a look at the power of the internet of the hotels industry
The power of the internet to build customer relationships and increase service levels in the travel and hospitality industry | By Jens Thraenhart
The travel and hospitality providers who will able to leverage the power of the Internet and technology, in order to create value to the consumers, will be the ones who will benefit from this evolution. Due to the fact that nowadays non-luxury travel providers are also able to provide high-level service experiences to guests by educating themselves about the consumers and building relevant and valuable relationships, while reducing costs by leveraging technology in a way that fits the dimensions of the organization, are resulting in an increase of consumer expectations. In general, service levels will increase over time, and travel suppliers will be able to reduce cost as a result of building stronger customer relationships; and due to the control that consumers will gain because of transparency enabled through the internet, companies that cannot respond to consumers' needs nor create value for the consumers are the ones that will in the end have a hard time staying in business.
Understanding the broad impacts of the web channel
With significant cost and effort associated with bringing customers to a Travel and Hospitality web site, a provider must make sure that the traveler can easily navigate the reservation site from looking at travel services to completing the transaction through the booking engine. More than just creating an internet channel that is efficient for booking, travel and hospitality providers have the opportunity to build a one-to-one relationship with their customers by extending their brand and service commitments. For loyalty program participants, the web is a primary channel for information and investigation.
To capitalize on the rapid movement of visitor interaction with a Travel and Hospitality brand to the online channel, providers will need to at a minimum understand the completion rates across the online processes to uncover primary "leakage" points that impact the yield rate. More importantly, by understanding the consumer behavior on the web, a Travel and Hospitality Marketer can gain the insight needed to plan for and measure the effectiveness of marketing, merchandising and self service. Making the best use of your online real estate will take the same discipline required in the physical world which focus on optimal paths to book reservations and upsell additional services. Using customer behavioral based analytics for the online channel, Travel and Hospitality Marketing professionals can rapidly understand detailed information on key online interaction metrics, granular response behavior for specific segments of customers, and the impact of programs to improve specific facets of their online business.
Optimize package decision and placements
With the movement toward travel packages and bundled services representing higher profits for many travel companies, it is critical for a Marketer to understand how they can optimize the composition and online placement of travel packages. With detailed insight into the purchasing trends and service grouping preferences of the most valuable customers, web behavior data will enable the provider with Actionable Information to optimize their travel package decisions, while helping them identify the best places for placement of packages across their site.
Identify and service your highest value customers
Based upon detailed customer behavioral activity, a Marketer can easily understand customer preferences and market to them more effectively, thereby boosting customer loyalty and satisfaction. Examples include the ability to identify viewers of executive membership club content, and subsequently market to them over email to motivate their registration for club membership. And for those price-sensitive segments of their customer base, an understanding of their online Internet fare search preferences can provide the Marketer with the insight to construct a campaign of value and low prices to address their prospective customers specific interests.
Jens Thraenhart is a native of Germany with 15 years of international hospitality experience in hotel and restaurant operations, revenue management, sales & marketing, e-business, strategic planning, as well as hospitality consulting with companies such as Four Seasons, Fairmont, Marriott, Kempinski, and Ian Schrager Hotels. Prior to joining Fairmont, he co-founded a New York City-based Internet company focused on upscale leisure travel. He holds an MBA-accredited Masters of Management in Hospitality from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. Jens acts as chair of the HSMAI Internet Marketing Committee, is a member of the advisory board of the Canadian Code of Practice for Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce, and was recently recognized as one of the travel industry's top 100 rising stars by Travel Agent Magazine.
As Director of Internet Strategy, Jens is responsible for setting, communicating, and executing Fairmont's overall direction on the Internet, including the company's websites, online marketing, search engine optimization, web distribution, and trademark protection in order to increase revenues and brand awareness.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is a collection of world-class resorts and city center hotels that enjoy unrivalled prominence in the communities where they are located. Operating 42 properties throughout six countries, Fairmont is committed to providing guests with exceptional service in distinctive surroundings. Featuring such storied hotels as The Fairmont San Francisco, The Fairmont Banff Springs, Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac and The Plaza, Fairmont properties are often deemed attractions in and of themselves. For more information visit us online at www.fairmont.com.
Phone: +44 020 7065 0141