Digital Marketing and the Voice Channel: A Symbiotic Symphony
How to Optimize Digital Marketing Performance via Voice
By John Smallwood, CEO of Travel Outlook and Scott Meldrum, Founder of Digitality
In today's world, digital marketing efficiency is not only mission-critical, it's a business imperative. While hospitality marketers typically look to improve conversion rates from their digital campaigns on their websites and within the booking engine, there are many opportunities to optimize digital marketing performance within the voice channel.
Our first optimization involves implementing proper measurement standards via source tracking. It's important to understand how your marketing channels are driving call volume and bookings. The easiest way to do that is through provisioning and publishing exclusive phone numbers for each of these channels. For digital channels, this would include social media, email, organic website traffic and each of your paid media campaigns (display, PPC, etc.). By measuring call volume and bookings from each channel, you'll be able to test offers, ad creative and calls-to-action to improve overall performance.
Say, for example, you want to know what digital marketing channel drives the most call volume. With proper source tracking in place, you might see that your website drives the most call volume. At the same time, you might also see that while call volume from your website is the highest, the booking conversion rate from the phone number listed in your email campaigns actually outpaces your website by a factor of 2:1. Now you have an opportunity to contrast and compare both channels to try and drive-up call volume through email and improve the conversion rate from website calls.
Mix Up Your Messaging
The opportunities to compare and contrast channel messaging and overall performance lead us to our second key optimization: Dynamic messaging.
With the ability to measure call volume and bookings from individual digital channels in place, your next step should be optimizing performance by improving messaging. This includes testing offers and calls-to-action to find the ones that perform best. Testing of offers and CTAs should work both ways - at the marketing channel level as well as through your call center.
Using our previous example, we know that your website drives more calls, but your email channel converts at a higher rate. You now want to look at how messaging, offers and CTAs can be better optimized between the two to improve overall performance. Continuing with our example, you see that you are listing the phone number on your website in the main footer as well as on all of your offer pages and in several other high-traffic areas. You also see that the phone number in your email is only referenced in the footer. By adding a CTA and the phone number in the body copy of your emails, you might see a sizeable increase in call volume from the emails you send.
Prioritize Audience Growth
Our third optimization centers on growing your retained audiences. A retained audience - also referred to as an "owned audience" - is comprised of customers and prospects who have opted-in to receive your marketing communications. Growing this audience is important because it will decrease your reliance on using paid media to drive inquiry and bookings.
Your reservation specialists should be upselling packages and premium room upgrades. They should also be pitching your guests to join your email list as well as encouraging your guests to join your social media channels. With the addition of one or two lines in your call center script, you could begin to see an immediate increase in the number of subscribers to your email database and social channels. Over time, your messaging reach will increase as will bookings from your retained channels. This will give you greater flexibility in how much you spend to acquire new guests in the future.
In summary, digital marketing can be a highly valuable source of call volume and bookings when you focus on accurate measurement, messaging optimization and audience growth.
- By accurately measuring call source performance, you set the stage for the ability to optimize a broader range of digital channels.
- Through dynamic messaging, you are able to test messaging and offers to zero in on the ones that drive the most call volume and bookings.
- And by training your reservation specialists to invite your callers to subscribe to your marketing channels (email and social), you will grow your retained audience over time.
By leveraging these three optimizations, your digital marketing performance will improve with each and every call that comes into your call center.
About Travel Outlook
In addition to the unique use of world-class call center technology, Travel Outlook is the only call center certified by Kennedy Training Network, the hotel industry's best source for sales training and guest service excellence. Its luxury call team is tested by Forbes and Kennedy each month. Travel Outlook's clients include many of the world's finest hotels and resorts.
Scott Meldrum is the founder of Digitality, a digital hospitality consultancy. With more than 20 years of global marketing experience, Scott helps hotels and resorts transform the way they engage with travelers in the digital world.
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About Travel Outlook
Given its progressive approach to the voice channel – in terms of performance, training, transparency, testing and the tools used to measure performance – Travel Outlook Premium Hotel Call Center has become the premier voice reservations team in hospitality. Travel Outlook"s valued client list includes Viceroy Hotel Group, Outrigger, KSL Resorts, Proper Hospitality Group, Pacific Hospitality Group, Highgate Hotels, Columbia Hospitality, The Irvine Company, Catalina Island and many others. Travel Outlook"s team and approach increases sales conversion and helps to create more effective voice communication between hotels and their guests, resulting in improved social scores in addition to increased voice channel revenue. For more information, visit www.traveloutlook.com.