Your owners and guests are adopting new tools and devices at an accelerated pace. Knowing where to begin in adapting to those new tools can be daunting and downright confusing, but incorporating an app-driven experience into your resort service strategy can be a key differentiation in attracting and retaining visitors and potential owners.
To provide the level of seamless and consistent experience your visitors increasingly demand, here are four concepts that can help keep you on course.
1. It’s not about you – it’s about them
Who is your customer? How much do you really know about your guests and owners? This extends beyond demographics and includes psychographics as well. What motivates them? What are their needs?
Think about your customers in terms of following them through the course of their day. Bring in a cross-functional team to create journey maps so you can walk in your customers’ shoes. How do they use different devices and channels as they interact with your brand? You can then recognize their needs at each interaction, how well you meet them, and where opportunities for improvement lie.
Once you identify the needs, find the solution, whether it’s built in-house or by a vendor partner, or if it’s an off-the-shelf app. If you can find something that easily integrates into your guests’ existing tech, and then brings them that “surprise and delight” experience, you can set yourself apart. But always make sure that the solution you choose is agile enough that you can easily adjust to ever-changing consumer needs.
2. Digital and physical worlds are no longer separate
Using the same mobile device, we place calls, we’re reminded of appointments, we comparison-shop both in-store and at home, and yes, we plan and socialize our vacations.
Mobile is a key part of the travel journey, whether the consumer is online or walking around your property. Today’s “access at your fingertips” demands information on whatever device is available, and that device needs to deliver a seamless, user-centric experience – or it doesn’t get used anymore.
The bar has been set by great products like Kindle*, which allows you to read your book on the train and transition to audio when you drive your car. This level of personalization and seamless interaction is what consumers have grown to expect. They don’t have to skip a beat or waste time rekeying steps.
3. Mobile isn’t a scaled-down version of the Web
Half of all adults now own a smart phone, and so it’s no surprise that mobile is becoming particularly relevant in the travel industry. Eighty-eight percent of smartphone users access travel-related information on their phone. And their expectations have grown with their utilization. Customers now want experiences to be tailored to them because brands now have access to their “context”: where they’re from; where they are; what are they doing; and how do they engage with a brand.
This provides you with unique opportunities that you never had before the digital age. You can influence purchase decisions, improve service experiences, and engage with customers in a relevant two-way dialog. Here are few examples:
- Pre-arrival “get ready” communication
- Easy, expedited check-in processes
- One-touch sign-up for tours and excursions
- Calendar synchronization reminders for activities and events
- In-room functionality such as room settings or maid service updates
4. Don’t underestimate the importance of agility and testing
Lastly, on-premises mobile moments are a new frontier and the bar is being set high. You must keep pace; specifically, don’t treat mobile like a project that receives occasional updates.
- Regularly test, reiterate, measure and release new updates
- Establish a cadence of continuous optimization at pace
- Establish strategy
- Design and Develop
- Optimize – regularly test, reiterate, measure and release updates
- Start small, test, fail fast, learn, and improve
With this agile approach you will be able to keep pace – exciting and delighting your guests and owners.
Christine Ciccone is Vice President of Online Marketing, for RCI, and has 18 years of strategic, analytical and channel development experience in the eCommerce field.
*Amazon, Kindle, Fire and all related logos are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.