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Challenge In a fast moving online landscape, how should IHG be taking advantage of any current or upcoming trends and technologies to drive incremental bookings to its direct web channel versus the competition?
StrategyBe ubiquitousAdhere to the truisms of social media: listen engage provide value be authenticOptimize SearchStay Competitive in MobileAnalyze and Test
Be Ubiquitous 1. Awareness 2. Engagement 3. Commitment 4. Loyalty In the initial consideration or awareness phase sites like Trip Advisor, Travelocity, Expedia etc. tend to attract more hotel shoppers who are still comparing options and not ready to book. Increase positive reviews on these sites to leverage the brand heritage and be relevant on these online communities to ensure they are all customized presences with a consistent tone. As consumers actively evaluate, utilize SEM to attract them to book direct with a low price guarantee or incentivized program Maintain the loyalty by extending the invite to join Priority Club Rewards and promote the loyalty programs as a stand alone content piece with targeted bloggers*Source: McKinsey Quarterly; The Consumer Decision Journey https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/The_consumer_decision_journey_2373?pagenum=1
Recent Trends in Social Media The Biggest Shift Since The Industrial Revolution…
Social Media=People Play Engage and provide value Why Do We Care About Our Social Influence? 70% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know. 75% of Facebook users have “Liked” a brand Fans of brands are 51% more likely to purchase from them Facebook can increase the spread of awareness by 246% with “Likes” and 98% with “Send to a friend.” 53% of Twitter users have recommended companies or products.SourcesWired Magazine Feb 2011http://www.thesocialworkplace.com/2012/05/17/turning-social-influence-into-social-gain/http://socialcommercetoday.com/speed-summary-wired-feb-2011-cover-story-on-social-commerce/
Social Media = Sharing. Sharing = CaringPeople around the world share travel above all other stories on Facebook.The more IHG actively listens these stories and responds with thanks, praise, incentives, etc.the more they show they care.Brands who care build loyalty.Be authentic. http://www.tnooz.com/2012/08/14/news/facebook-users-cite-travel-most-often-as-their-biggest-life-moments-infographic/
Search Googles acquisition of the Frommers travel brand is the latest evidence of the Internet search giants desire to control all the experiences around travel…destination content in search just got a little bit more interesting. 57% of travelers start their destination selection process on a search engine “U.S. travelers will be spreading their wings far and wide in 2012, with 68 percent planning international trips,” said Karen Drake, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor. “Sun and sand remain an enduringly popular choice, but the coming year will also see a renewed interest in cultural trips, as Americans seek to combine precious downtime with enriching experiences.”
Mobile While the “trend” of mobile is by no means new, its pace is remarkable IHG iPhone booking apps for all hotel brands is one example of listening to what guests want and reacting to the current trend! The travel sector is changing and location-based services and technologies have a lot of potential… •Utilize “Location & Need” of a traveler with LBS by customizing the ads to geo-target the location of the user •Create opportunities for conversion by hyper targeted messages •Example: discounts on room rates at nearby hotels 16 million Americans will book travel via mobile in 2012 This is up over 30% from just one year ago. By 2016, the number of mobile users booking travel on their devices is expected to more than double to 36.7 million. The number of mobile users who research travel with mobile devices is expected to exceed 74 million/year by 2016.This represents an increase of over 300% in just the next 4 years. One in five business trips will be booked via mobile devices by 2014 Source: http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/08/05/2012/343573/Mobile-hotel-bookings-set-to-rise.htm
Analyze & Test “Digital trends arent something companies should be wary of; they are exciting and can offer the opportunity to engage with customers in a new way. ” -Jo Hill Choose a Representative Sample: Where possible, design tests with properties that are a representative sample of a brand of IHG. Measure Incremental Impact: It is not sufficient to measure what happened just in the test hotels. Sound test analysis involves measuring the “lift” or incremental change in RevPar, profits, etc. as compared to a similar set of hotels where there was no test (i.e. the control group) before and after the initiative was launched. Identify Performance Drivers: No program will work well everywhere, and some great ideas may not be useful to implement across the chain. Segment the results of a test to understand which types of properties respond well to the program. Learn: Record key lessons, disseminate / provide broader access to them, and use findings from current tests to generate ideas for future testing.Source: Hospitalitynet.org 12 August 2011