Hotel Online  Special Report

Discount Hotels
London, Sydney, Rome, AmsterdamParis, Melbourne, Lisbon, Barcelona, Berlin, Hong Kong, New York, Auckland
advertisements
,
.
Baymont Inns & Suites Unveils New,
Customer-Centric Website
.
Mid-market brand raises the bar once again by introducing enhanced CRM features including: customer recognition on second visit; ‘Quick Book’ options for brand loyal customers; homepage booking capability; and customer profiling database for dynamic, targeted presentations

Milwaukee, Wis. (March 22, 2004) – In an effort to perfect the online booking experience for guests and drive even more traffic to its hotels and websites, Baymont Inns & Suites, one of the leading midscale without food-and-beverage hotel brands, has designed a new website (www.baymontinns.com) that epitomizes customer-relationship management functionality.

“This year marks the 5th Anniversary of Baymont Inns & Suites,” said Jim Abrahamson, president and chief operating officer for Baymont Inns & Suites. “One way that we are celebrating this milestone is by launching a new website. It’s our way of providing visitors a booking resource that is simplified and personalized to meet their individual needs—a booking process currently available through the websites of much larger hotel chains. It’s also a way of supporting our hotels by providing them with a customizable electronic brochure for visitors to view. Sophisticated content-management technology enables hotel managers to update hotel information, and post local activities and special packages instantaneously online, keeping their content fresh and their customers coming back.”

The new Baymont Inns & Suites website has been enhanced to:

  • Facilitate fewer clicks to make a reservation. The booking window now appears on the home page.
  • Simplify the guests’ ability to access Guest Ovations® (Baymont’s guest loyalty program) points and to make a reservation at their preferred location(s). In additional to retrieving a guest’s personal profile, the system will identify the three most recent Baymont Inns & Suites the guest visited and will present those locations as “Quick Book” alternatives.
  • Greet and recognize repeat customers. When a guest returns a second time to the site, and begins to fill in his/her personal data, such as name and address, he/she is immediately welcomed back and previously entered profile information automatically reappears, eliminating the redundant data entry task.
  • Deliver dynamic, targeted marketing presentations to returned customers. Using geo-demographic customer profiling technology to provide clickable images and customized hyperlinks, the system will identify the return guest when personal data is entered and make inferences about the guest in order to create instant specials and packages that may appeal to that specific person.
OTA Compatible

The new Baymont Inns & Suites website meets all specifications set by the Open Travel Alliance (OTA), and ensures: representation on the major third-party distribution sites; rate consistency through all of distribution channels (including global-distribution systems, call-centers, walk-ins and individual hotel websites); a reduction in distribution costs (customers are moved from booking on more costly channels, i.e., third-party website, to Baymont’s own, less costly website); and advanced functionality.

Greg Johnston, Baymont Inns & Suites' director of e-commerce, explained that being OTA compatible enables all systems to talk to one another without a switch (such as Pegasus or Wizcom) being present. This will reduce costs for the hotel, enabling it to directly upload inventory to the third-party websites and get a two-way interface to their property-management or the brand’s central-reservation system.

“Building this site on a XML, OTA-compatible platform so that we can work with distributors and give them access to our inventory through our website, was just the first step,” Johnston said. “We spent more than a year researching and developing the best customer-relationship management tools, coupled with sophisticated geo-demographic database customer profiling technology, so that the Baymont Inns & Suites website will dominate in personalization and customization.

“The new site is designed to give the customer what they want by providing information that is relevant to them,” Johnston said. “By obtaining a repeat customer profile, the site will select and provide information that is useful to the guest (based on where they live, what they like to do and how old they are). The more a customer uses the site, the more highly personalized it becomes.”

Online Bookings Rise Steadily

Craig Farrell, Baymont Inns & Suites' senior vice president of marketing, sales and brand management, said the brand has seen a significant increase in online bookings over the past three years. From 2001 through 2003, Baymont Inns & Suites has experienced an increase in online bookings by 46 percent, representing a 45-percent increase in room nights and a 48-percent increase in revenue. So far in 2004, the brand has seen a 30-percent increase in online bookings, he said.

“The new Baymont Inns & Suites website is addressing a national online marketing need shared by franchisees—some of whom had difficulty maintaining their individual sites,” Farrell said. “With no additional fees or charges, franchisees can now piggyback on our national site, while at the same time maintain complete control of their own sites and even custom-tailor their online marketing message to meet the needs of their customers and their local communities.”

Farrell said attendees at the brand’s annual managers’ meeting last month left the event with their eyes wide open to the vast marketing possibilities now available to them through the new site.

Franchisees Applaud Enhancement

Janak Desai, owner and general manager of the Baymont Inns & Suites in Orlando/Kissimmee, Fla., and a member of the Baymont Inns Franchise Advisory Council (BIFAC), said the new site gives him an e-marketing tool that never existed before.

“The new website puts national marketing tools in the hands of the local owners and managers,” Desai said. “We are in complete control of marketing our hotel online and tailoring our information to the customers we are trying to attract. Through the electronic brochure, we can literally e-mail our homepage to potential customers, enabling them to look and book without having to click through layers of promotional pages. It’s a dynamic marketing tool.”

Jane Dougherty, co-owner of the Baymont Inn & Suites in Litchfield, Ill., and chairperson of BIFAC, concurred, saying having a presence on the new site is vital to her hotel staying competitive.

“By having a dedicated website, we are confident that more customers will book direct instead of using the merchant models and third-party distributors,” Dougherty said. “Baymont really invested a lot for its customers and its franchisees. They have given us the best marketing tool possible – even better that what we hear some of the bigger chains are providing to their franchises. We truly can compete head-to-head with the larger chains for business.”

Farrell agreed.

“We’ve leapfrogged our technology to create a website that is far more effective than most of our competitors,” he said. “This is just one of the advantages to being a smaller, more nimble company. As the cost of hardware and software comes down, we can now implement cutting edge technologies to stay in the mainstream.”

Training manuals are available for managers that provide step-by-step instructional guidelines on how to go about making changes and updates on the website, Farrell said.

About Baymont Inns & Suites
Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., Baymont Inns & Suites, which operates or franchises nearly 180 locations in 32 states nationwide, is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE: MCS). 

###

Contact:
Baymont Inns & Suites
www.baymontinns.com

 
Also See: Baymont Inns & Suites Web Site Provides 'Nuts and Bolts' Information for Developers / Sept 2001
Baymont Inns & Suites Revamped Website Is Integral Part of Comprehensive Marketing Efforts / Oct 1999
.

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.Online Search


Home | Welcome! | Hospitality News | Classifieds | Catalogs & Pricing | Viewpoint Forum | Ideas/Trends
Please contact Hotel.Online with your comments and suggestions.