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Elevate the Customer Journey - Hotel Experience

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A comprehensive strategy planning deck for Homewood Suites (The extended-stay hotels under Hilton). Based on current brand assessment and customer experience prototyping, I recommended 3 core strategies and 6 concepts to enhance the customer experience.

Questions, comments and feedback are all welcome!

Published in: Business, Technology

Elevate the Customer Journey - Hotel Experience

  1. 1. Homewood Suites - Elevate the CustomerExperience through Social Media Prepared by: Yuki Chow @sn0wfl8ke 1
  2. 2. • Define business goals • Understand why social is important • Assess current state – Competitive analysis – Conversation analysisAgenda • Immerse into customer journey – Identify customer segments – Illustrate customer motivations and barriers • Ideate and elevate the journey – Strategy recommendations 2
  3. 3. Brand ObjectivesAs we strive to stay useful and desirable to our customers in the web 2.0era, we aim to achieve the following goals: – Join the conversation and be present • Encourage guests to provide feedback on their experiences • Amplifying positive customer word of mouth – Increase Homewood’s awareness and reach • Increase visibility of Homewood assets outside of brand.com • Create valuable content to engage customers – Establish the baseline for future innovation • Build a cohesive cross-functional governance model • Set the stage for service differentiation 3
  4. 4. CustomerBehaviors Technology Platforms Business Goals 4
  5. 5. • Define business goals• Understand why social is important• Assess current state – Competitive analysis – Conversation analysis• Immerse into customer journey – Identify customer segments – Illustrate customer motivations and barriers• Ideate and elevate the journey – Strategy recommendations 5
  6. 6. Social Media: practices and technologies which allowpeople to share opinions, insights, experiences, andperspectives In short, Social Media is… For participants, For businesses, it is a dialogue, a chance to listen, engage mainly between peers… and collaborate… …a conversation in a multitude of forms.
  7. 7. It used to small scale conversations
  8. 8. Now, conversations are happening on a global scale in real-time
  9. 9. • Publish a blog• Publish your own Web pages• Upload video you created• Upload audio/music you created• Write articles or stories and post them• Post ratings/reviews of products/services• Comment on someone else’s blog• Contribute to online forums• Contribute to/edit articles in a wiki• Use RSS feeds• Add “tags” to Web pages or photos• “Vote” for Web sites online• Maintain profile on a social networks• Visit social networking sites• Read blogs• Watch video from other users• Listen to podcasts• Read online forums• Read customer ratings/reviewsNone of the above Consumers are showing new behaviors online *source: Forrester 9
  10. 10. Awareness Conversion Research/Considerati on Preference AdvocacyCustomer journey gets more complex, more touchpoints emerging 10
  11. 11. One way marketingmessages are replaced withexperiences that fosterconversations with brandsand other people 11
  12. 12. • Define business goals• Understand why social is important• Assess current state – Competitive analysis – Conversation analysis• Immerse into customer journey – Identify customer segments – Illustrate customer motivations and barriers• Ideate and elevate the journey – Strategy recommendations 12
  13. 13. Competitive assessment – overview• We analyzed key competitors’ presence across social media sites and over 8000+ mentions within the past 60 days• While many properties have engaged in social media, no competitor had a brand-wide presence on any of the sites investigated 13
  14. 14. Share of social voice• Homewood Suites has roughly 11% share of the social voice• While falling behind Residence Inn, Courtyard by Marriott and Staybridge in share or social voice, Homewood Suites’ mentions skew more positively Staybridge Suites Homewood Suites 12% 11% Candlewood Suites 9% Summerfield Suites 2% 35% 31% Residence Inn Courtyard by MarriottSource: Radian6 14
  15. 15. Conversation analysis• HWS mentions mostly appear on news sites, local blog sites and Twitter• Press release and deal-related announcements are prominent• Most user-generated content revolves around individual properties, not the brand as a whole Sample Quotes “A ‘sweet deal’ for your holiday party or meeting comes your way from Homewood Suites owners Philippe and Mieke Cras. They are offering a 50 percent discount ...” “ With more than 240 hotels nationwide, theres probably a Homewood Suites near you. If not, maybe this is the excuse you need to get away for a day or two!” “@HotelChatter Skip the 2 hour commute home. Homewood Suites SnowedINN rate of $49 available tonight. Call 847-945-9300!” “Hilton hotels recently lead the change in the hospitality industry, unveiling applications include Doubletree..Homewood Suites and Hampton Inn brands in the United States.” “Homewood suites will be giving away 10 free nights every weekend night to those who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Those interested are encouraged to come by the hotel and register for the free offer…”Source: socialmention.com; results for mentions of “homewood suites’ 15
  16. 16. Assessment take-aways• HWS is missing opportunity on sharing more engaging and useful content in social spaces• Brand values favor families over business travelers• No cross-promotion or integration of social media channels• The unique values of extended-stay hotels are diminishing• Lack of two-way dialogue; properties are simply using the platform to broadcast promotional content 16
  17. 17. • Define business goals• Understand why social is important• Assess current state – Competitive analysis – Conversation analysis• Immerse into customer journey – Identify customer segments – Illustrate customer motivations and barriers• Ideate and elevate the journey – Strategy recommendations 17
  18. 18. User Experiences are a result of multipleinteractions. One poor interaction can result in a badexperience and dilute brand equity. We createdcustomer journey prototypes to illustrate thetriggers and barriers behind each interaction. Byseeing the big picture, we could identifyinefficiencies and opportunities forinnovation to improve the customer experience. Asuccessful UX strategy aligns every customertouchpoint with brand values, and achieve ameasurable increase in commercial yield. 18
  19. 19. Homewood suites digital touchpoint inventory Brand sitesSocial networking Pages iPhone app Hotel-level 53 Hotel Facebook Fan Pages 24 Hotel Twitter accounts 19
  20. 20. These are the basic digital interactions, but what’s next? Email Display SEM SEO newsletter adsFacebook Page Landing Mobile pages display Digital video Twitterpresence HWS Mobile Travel apps Blogs Review Become a HWS sites advocate
  21. 21. ACTIVITIES What actions do they take? Who do they talk to?MOTIVATIONS What motivates them to take actions? What are their expectation? Customer Experience MapAwareness Consideration Preference Conversion Advocacy BARRIERS What’s the pain point? What prevents them from completing the task? 21
  22. 22. Questions to ponder• What are your customer segments? How their needs differ from one another?• What does a customer expect at each point? Do you meet their expectations?• Are there needs going unstated that neither you nor competitors are solving?• Which touch-points are most and least effective?• What do you want the customers to feel and do at each stage?• Are there hiccups in the flow from one stage to the next? 22
  23. 23. Primary customer segments Vs. Business travelers Families on vacation 23
  24. 24. Jeremy 29, frequent business travelerwho is relocating to D.C. Values: Convenience| Flexibility| Adaptability| Behaviors: Jeremy travels at least twice per month. He often turns business trips to bleisure trips. With the economic downturn, he is also cutting back on expensive itineraries. When he stays in a hotel for more than a week, he tries to make it feel like home. Technology platforms: 24
  25. 25. Jeremy 29, frequent business traveler who is relocating to D.C. Experience Goals: Jeremy wants to make sure he can conduct business and feel like living at home at the same time. Flexible amenities and convenient access to on-site facilities need to be provided upfront so he can make a decision quickly. Most important hotel amenities for him - 1. Wireless internet access 2. Work desk and ample work space 3. On site restaurant and lounge 4. Continental breakfast 5. On site fitness centerUtilit Experience 6. Reward programy 7. A phone line with conference call capability 25
  26. 26. ACTIVITIES  Search online with keywords  Inquire about corporate  Ask company’s HR discounts and budget and colleagues for  Visit road warriors’ blogs and recommendations extended stay networks  Search well-known  Get colleague’s review and hotel chains online feedback during lunchMOTIVATIONS  Job relocation  Job relocation  Important client  Make an informed decision  Important client meetings meetings  Narrow down my choices  Training sessions  Know enough to not get  Training sessions  Business conference duped by the pretty pictures  Business conference Awareness Consideration ……  Too much to learnBARRIERS  Too many ads  Few honest, unbiased  Irrelevant search results reviews and ratings on  Too many choices on extended-stay hotels booking sites  Lack of helpful  No time to do research recommendations from peers 26
  27. 27. ACTIVITIES  Look for brand names I can trust  Call to make a reservation  Book rooms online directly or  Visit hotel websites to via third-party sites learn about amenities  Credit card transaction and compare offerings  Check-in the hotel  Eliminate unqualified  Sign up loyalty program choices(too far, too $$)MOTIVATIONS  View different room  Job relocation  Book the room quickly  Important comfort settings andclient  Avoid frustration level via multimedia meetings  Meet all the expectations  Choose the most  Training sessions  Customize the room myself  Business conference convenient hotel  Receive stellar customer nearby my meetings service Preference Conversion …BARRIERS  Useful content is hidden  Cumbersome booking  Unhelpful hotel employee process on the mobile app  Negative user reviews or  Unable to choose amenities testimonials  Unfriendly hotel staff  Insufficient multimedia content 27
  28. 28. D i g i t a l To u c h p o i n t sFor BusinessTr a v e l e r s 28
  29. 29. Susan 36, travel savvy mom with 2 kidsplanning a trip to San Diego Values: Safety| Thoughtfulness| Relaxation Behaviors: Susan plans her family vacation every year. She places her family needs above her own although she’d like to get pampered, too. She interacts with other moms on a regular basis and trusts their recommendations. She needs to see all the nitty-gritty before making a decision. Technology platforms: 29
  30. 30. Susan 36, travel savvy mom with 2 kids planning a trip to San Diego Experience Goals: Susan wants to make sure everyone has a good time. Planning this vacation makes her very anxious because not only does she want to let the kids have fun, she also wants to feel confident that she’s made the right choices. Most important hotel amenities for her - 1. Kitchenette 2. Kids’ menu and dining options 3. Family pool 4. Kids’ club or babysitter service 5. Concierge serviceUtilit Experience 6. Laundry servicey 7. Comfortable beds for everyone 30
  31. 31. ACTIVITIES  Ask family and friends  Read user reviews sites such for recommendations as tripadvisor, orbitz,etc  Search online for a  Research digital mom good vacation deal communities about vacation  Read travel magazines planning & hotel information and articles about  Post polls/questions on social accommodations networks for suggestions  Survey other parents offlineMOTIVATIONS  Job relocation  Annual family vacation  Make an informed decision  Important client  Holiday trips so the entire family will enjoy meetings  Special occasions  Place kids’ needs as the  Training sessions  Kids attending new priority  Business conference programs  Plan ahead to save $$ Awareness Consideration ……  Too much to learnBARRIERS  Too many similar ads  Difficulty identifying family-  Unfamiliar with extended- friendly hotels stay hotel options  Difficulty finding the nitty-  3rd party site doesn’t gritty of hotel amenities from include all features needed other moms 31
  32. 32. ACTIVITIES  Visit hotel websites to learn  Call to make a reservation about amenities  Book rooms online directly or  Call hotel to ask about via third-party sites specific needs  Credit card transaction  Ask questions directly on  Check-in the hotel hotel’s social channels  Sign up loyalty program  Search promo codesMOTIVATIONS  Make sure the suite is  Book the room with ease and  Job relocation big enough for all  Important client confidence  Satisfy everyone  Avoid frustration meetings  Secure a good deal  Meet all the expectations  Training sessions  Trump other moms  Have a relaxing stress-free  Business conference  Share findings with vacation experience family members … Preference Conversion  Cumbersome bookingBARRIERS  Negative peer reviews process on the website  Poor website usability/content  Unfriendly hotel staff  Unhelpful or unresponsive  Promo codes don’t work hotel employee  Lingo and acronyms too  Lack of virtual introduction confusing to make a decision 32
  33. 33. D i g i t a l To u c h p o i n t sFor FamilyVa c a t i o n P l a n n e r s 33
  34. 34. Insights from customer journey prototypingCustomers have a difficult time making the optimal choice during theConsideration & Preference stage. Honest relevant reviews are hidden andscatted online. HWS has little influence in travelers’ decision makingReturn guests are sharing tips & comments in fragmented communities, there isa larger opportunity to incorporate their voice into brand’s communications For Business Travelers Only For Family Vacation PlannersThere are few messages and interactive Mom communities are the key influencerelements targeting at this segment networks in the decision making processConvenience is the dominant factor indecision making. No available tools and Many return guests are eager to share theirnetworks currently allow them to access all experience and recommendationsinfo at onceCustomization and adaptability is another area Family needs are their priority, they need allbusiness travelers expect in hotel services as the visual and verbal confirmation beforethey make a temporary living in the suites making the decision 34
  35. 35. Brand Advocates: Customers proactively use their time and their social capital to promote a Advocacy ? company without any direct incentiveFrom loyalists to advocates – Loyalists are customers whoconsistently choose the same service/product over time. Nonetheless,advocates are prolific creators and curators of information.Study found that advocates are 70% more likely to be seen as a source ofreliable information and 50% more likely to influence a purchase decision.In addition, advocates are 2.5 times more likely to use social media to helpothers or expand their circle of friends. 35
  36. 36. So, what drives Advocacy ?HH rewards program may entice customers to consider HWS favorably andstay loyal to the brand. But many competitors have similar programs, whatcan HWS do to stand out? How to convert customers into brandadvocates? Passion A brand’s advocacy potential within a community is directly correlated to its ability to communicate its passion/core value. Advocacy P Conversation Engagement 36
  37. 37. • Define business goals• Understand why social is important• Assess current state – Competitive analysis – Conversation analysis• Immerse into customer journey – Identify customer segments – Illustrate customer motivations and barriers• Ideate and elevate the journey – Strategy recommendations 37
  38. 38. Overview of Social Media Strategy
  39. 39. Develop strategies in 3 areas Brand Goals Service Increase Engage in differentiation reach dialogueEngage Strategy Create valuable content, think like a media company Develop sharable content to engage prospects on an emotional   level , be genuinely usefulCustomize Strategy Act a filter to help customers pick out what’s relevant Offer options to let customers customize and personalize their HWS experience   Collaborate Strategy Lower the barrier of entry for HWS guests to get involved Tap into the knowledge, skills and enthusiasm of those who want to contribute and help others    39
  40. 40. Engage Strategy Create valuable content, think like a media company Develop sharable content to engage prospects on an emotional level , be genuinely usefulRecommended Tactics Create content that include text, images and videos (Tell a story with multiple media formats) Continuously publish content that is relevant, informative and entertaining to the targeted community (Create a content calendar) Speak in the voice of real people to express a genuine point of view Distribute relevant content through multiple social channels and enable cross-platform sharing Develop interactive mapping tools to help business travelers compare commute routes 40
  41. 41. 1 “Looks so homey. It’s an ad, but features normal people…” “The places seem so nice, and non- expensive. I will try this.” “I hate ads, buti saw this one, I could skip it but I didnt because I liked how peaceful it was, notUploaded by AirBnB on Jan 5. 2011 full with shouting or Total Views: 1, 346,052 via Youtube stupid music” Produce brand videos people would share 41
  42. 42. 2Incorporate interactive mapping tools Embed interactive mapping tools onsite to help travelers find out the distance and best methods for daily commute 42
  43. 43. Customize Strategy Act a filter to help customers pick out what’s relevant Offer options to let customers customize and personalize their HWS experienceRecommended Tactics  Think like Progressive for the extended-stay hotel industry (Provide rate comparison from competitors and filter out irrelevant options for the travelers)  Create a virtual community such as myHWS.com which allows extended-stay guests to individualize their preferences in advance (The type of pillow, type of furniture arrangement, type of noise level, type of food and drinks, etc) so they feel like home 43
  44. 44. 3Be the credible, authentic curator for extended-stay hotels• Define • Filter • Discover Ask a few preferential Let users choose their Show comparative questions with image priorities – results, include rates choices amenities, location, $$ and user reviews 44
  45. 45. 4Personalize the experience!Get to know them individually! Pillow preference Soft foam, Feather, Firm, Memory Pillow Electronic preference  Workout needs  iPod charger, AC adopter, power converter  Yoga mat, 5lb weights, workout bands Social Network connection  ……. ……. 45
  46. 46. Collaborate Strategy Lower the barrier of entry for HWS guests to get involved Tap into the knowledge, skills and enthusiasm of those HWS guests who want to contribute and help othersRecommended Tactics  Enable empathetic, enthusiastic hotel guests to participate on HWS owned blogs. (Encourage them to share their travel tips, research findings, hotel experiences and more)  Host and moderate a forum - ask customers to help each other and help solve the most bold and vexing business challenges 46
  47. 47. 5• Enable HWS guests to create an account and express their voice on the new blog sites• Post monthly question/topic and invite participation• Encourage those customer bloggers to share their articles and testimonials, reward them with loyalty points and recognition 47
  48. 48. 6• The future is about co-creation & collaborative consumption. Tap into crowd-sourced knowledge now; inspire HWS customers to contribute!• Set a stage of innovation by hosting a discussion forum and or a targeted online community to collect new ideas and concepts 48
  49. 49. Next Steps
  50. 50. High-level roadmap Benchmark  Define KPIs against brand objectives  Establish measurement framework  Baseline current performance Strategy Prioritization  Evaluate recommended strategies based on cost-effective ratio & ROI  Communicate project ideas to hotel owners and make strategic decisions Envision -> Execution  Create visual storyboard/mock-ups to illustrate program details  Leverage capabilities across domains for implementation 50
  51. 51. Thank you! Yuki Chow @sn0wfl8ke yuki.s.chow@gmail.com

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