TDS08: My notes about Reservation Technology Frontend – Ease of use for your guests

[My own comments in brackets]

Gregor Vogel, Globekey

What to consider when choosing a booking engine [in a nutshell]:
-Fixed fee vs. commissioned;
-Support for flexible/dynamic rates;
-Look and feel; [I would prefer calling it integration as I prefer an integrated booking engine rather than an externally branded one.]
-Distribution options (GDS, IDS, OTA…). [Very important! Spread your rates and availability across multiple channels with one click while maintaining rate parity.]

Gregor talked about a very important concept: RATE PARITY! The same offer (product) should have the same rate (price) across different distribution channels/partners. The customer/looker will look for the best deal until he finds the cheapest channel/distributor/reseller and he will buy from it! Ultimately the best deal should be offered by hotels’ own websites! [I believe the jargon for this is something like “Best price guaranteed”.]

The hotel website should drive the biggest part of the revenues/bookings. [I have to agree that this is really desirable but not easy to accomplish for weaker brands.]

Invest in your website as much as you can. [I would add that you should pay attention to measuring the return of your investments through a couple of metrics and remember the number of page views isn’t everything…]


IT Meets Marketing, IT Marries Marketing

Recently I read a very interesting article about Web Marketing Strategy by Brad Beiermann from Cimstrat Inc..

Brad states that "Interactive online marketing is here to stay and will only grow larger in the foreseeable future. Getting the marriage between IT and marketing to meet the needs of online interactivity will be a key ingredient for many organizations. And at the heart of this marriage exists the need to integrate the IT resources into the marketing creativity process.". I couldn't agree more with him! When I was flying back from TDS08 in London I was thinking about that while reading Kotler's Marketing for Hospitality and Tourism.

You can read the full article here.


TDS08: My notes about "Discover How to Manage Your eCRM Initiatives In the World Of Internet-Based Loyalty"

[My own comments in brackets]

Steve O’Keefe, Rightnow Technologies
–Three elements drive loyalty [I agree]:
•Superior product/service; [Superior as quality/expectations, as differentiation/personalization…]
•Low cost product/service; [It’s so cheap you won’t mind a few glitches/limitations]
•High quality interactions. [Interesting point there! Specially if you’re talking about complex/long/informed buying decisions such as booking expensive/dream holidays or buying an expensive/dream car…]


TDS08: My notes about "Discover How to Manage Your eCRM Initiatives In the World Of Internet-Based Loyalty" III

[My own comments in brackets]

•Michael Rhodes, Leger Holidays
–More than features USABILITY drives conversion and captures attention.
–[USABILITY is a key driver to make branding interaction a positive experience for every online user]


MS Dynamics CRM 4.0 and Marketing Newsletters soon to come

I would like to let you know that I'm writing some lines (and hope to post them here soon) about MS Dynamics CRM 4.0 and Marketing Newsletters.

As we are testing and developing our CRM 4.0 we are spending nearly 80% of our time trying to understand and overcome some limitations regarding this marketing process. We even developed a specific workflow to send newsletters from Queues and another one just to handle errors (Mail Delivery Failed, Undeliverable...). These workarounds are not perfect but they are very useful for us. I will also tell you how the unsubscribe works (dynamic, hardcoded...).

But you'll have to wait a couple of days because I'll be on holidays during next week.

TDS08: My notes about "Discover How to Manage Your eCRM Initiatives In the World Of Internet-Based Loyalty" II

[My own comments brackets]

Francesca Ecsery, Cheapflights

–Cheapflights learned by doing that it’s very important (and rewarding) to:
•Be relevant when communicating to customers; [Relevancy drives clicks!]
•Research/ask customers about their preferences in order to be relevant (including frequency of communication); [Don’t send e-mails without being asked to do it…]
•Develop triggered communications (triggered upon customer selected events such as price drops…) [Very interesting and dynamic approach!]

–For Cheapflights relevancy proved to be a successful strategy because it:
•Improved response rate, click rate, open rate and unsubscribe rate (e-mail communication); [RELEVANCY!]

•Saved time (and money). The saved time can be used to research and deliver even more relevant communications which support the results above. [RELEVANCY!]

–[RELEVANCY also applies direclty to webpages (personalized content). Google should know a thing or two about relevance due to their ad placement technology]


TDS08: My notes about "Discover How to Manage Your eCRM Initiatives In the World Of Internet-Based Loyalty" I

[My own comments in brackets]
Xavier Vallée, AVIS UK

–Through research AVIS found out that usually online customers
• Read peer reviews (1/3) and 1/3 of those change their opinion upon reading (which translates roughly into 1/9 of online customers changing their opinion after reading reviews); [Pay attention to reviews!]
•Trust 2 times more in reviews than in official pieces of communication (marketing pieces, website…); [Interesting and disturbing for traditional marketing!]

–AVIS embraced this User Generated Content (UGC)/Social Media “opportunity” by seting up their own corporate blog called We Try Harder.
•Xavier stated they “listen to the customer” and reply when needed and that AVIS uses the feedback from this blog between others (other blogs they monitor and other sources of information) when they make decisions such as renewing their fleet and buy model A or B. [This is an example of how customer feedback can be used as an affordable source for innovation][EMBRACE!].

–[UGC/Social Media shouldn’t be ignored but embraced as an opportunity to develop online conversations with customers].

–[Click here for AVIS case study by market sentinel]


TDS08: My notes about "Monetising Web 2.0 – Who now controls your customer’s online buying behavior?"

[My own comments in brackets]

  • Blake Chandlee, Facebook
    –People use Facebook to connect with friends and family. Connecting means sharing (news, reviews, photos…). [And influencing…]
    –People are spending more time in social media websites than e-mail; [Perhaps that’s why Gmail is becoming more and more social…]
    –Number of Facebook users is larger than many countries.

  • Daniel Robb, Google UK
    –10% of queries are travel related and of these 16% are hotel related;
    –Google queries [or Hot Trends] can be used to predict demand; [Interesting idea since you can easily get this data.]
    –On average before booking people perform 12 queries and visit 22 websites during 29 days; [Interesting numbers…]

  • Ian McCaig, lastminute.com
    –Selling implies someone is willing to buy (be careful when/who you send your marketing message). [I couldn’t agree more.. It’s called relevancy!]
    •Tom Griffiths, gapyear.com
    –Passionate people make web 2.0; [and they influence others]
    –Passion sells products; Web 2.0 elevates “amazing”; [Passionate people tend emphasize extreme feelings like love or hate.]

  • Richard Lewis, Dutco Group
    –Customers who wish to share their own comments/suggestions/reviews will post them anywhere. For instance Tripadvisor is just a click away…]
    –If your website enables your customers to post them there perhaps you can manage them better/easily.