You’ve heard about the importance of using multiple marketing channels to give your audience an “omni-channel” experience. Sounds easy enough, right? Hold on. Contrary to what you might think, though, using multiple marketing channels doesn’t automatically mean you’re providing an omni-channel experience.
The key to omni-channel marketing is consistency across those channels. Even if you’ve got a great website and stay on top of your social media, channels that aren’t working together can hurt your brand, hinder your business, or both.
Four keys to omni-channel success
So how can you create that omni-channel experience your audience wants (and your business needs)? Start with the four steps below to build a solid foundation—and then adjust as needed to achieve your specific goals.
- Get out of the single-channel mindset. Properties often place an outsized focus on their desktop experience, because many people prefer to complete the process at their computer or laptop. However, before you worry about where someone completes the booking process, you’ve got to get them to the point where they want to book with you. That means ensuring that your messaging and experience is consistent wherever that person goes when they’re researching—mobile, Facebook, Instagram, and yes, desktop. How many different teams do you have interacting with your audience on a regular basis? Before you talk to your audience, talk to each other. Discuss goals and objectives. Develop a plan. And then work together to execute it across every team, every channel.
- Build robust guest profiles. How does your audience search online? Where and how do they connect with you? Why do they choose you—or not choose you? The more you know about your audience, the better you can tailor content and services to their preferences, no matter where they are interacting with you. You have some of the information to build these guest profiles already in your own internal data. But third-party data can help show you how your audience behaves online in general—not just when they’re interacting with you. Those details can be vital to your efforts as well.
- Personalize, personalize, personalize. You provide a personalized experience for guests while they’re staying at your property—ideally, you can extend that personalization to well before they arrive, and perhaps even well before they book. Are your ads and messages tailored to the preferences of various audiences? Are they used at the right times, in tune with where a person is in the research or purchasing process? Are they relevant and consistent across all channels?
- Analyze, analyze, analyze. It’s not enough to sit back and rest even after you successfully build an consistent omni-channel experience. You should invest in consistent monitoring, too. How are your customers engaging with each channel? Where are you seeing the most traction? Where can you improve? How can you refocus resources as your audience’s behavior shifts? Instead of just looking at what happened to get a customer to the last step in the booking process, use analytics to examine all of the steps they took on the journey.
Remember, the omni-channel experience doesn’t end when a customer arrives for their stay, either. In fact, you might consider the stay itself another type of “channel.” The experience you provided along the journey sets expectations for the actual experience of staying with you—when you keep everything in alignment, consistent and personal, you and your customers alike will reap the benefits.