E- Marketing Playing Field for Hotels
FORT WORTH, TEXAS— JUNE 6, 2005 — The bigger hotel brands have been doing it. Some luxury resorts and spas are successfully using it. So when will Web-based, property-level email marketing and customer-relationship management tools become available, and more importantly, affordable, for smaller hotels and independent properties? They already are, through Digital Alchemy.
“The name of the marketing game is, and always has been, communication with customers, and today there is no better means of communicating quickly, effectively and affordably than through email and Web promotions,” said Don Hay, Digital Alchemy CEO. “Some of the bigger hotel companies have online CRM programs that communicate offers to guests and drive incremental revenues. However, many of our customer hotels that also are a part of these and other larger franchise systems tell us that they are frustrated because few of these corporate programs take into account the unique flavor of each of the individual properties. Equally frustrating, they say, is that the programs frequently do not manage lists from multiple sources or provide the flexibility to easily market to sub-groups within the lists.”
“Digital Alchemy offers competitive CRM programs for its customers for much lower cost and with better ‘open’ rates and higher click-through volumes,” Hay said. “Our CRM tools and E-marketing programs allow for a continuous communication stream between our customers and their guests, including full-color email HTML reservation confirmations, pre-stay marketing designed to increase on-property spending, thank-you notes with a click-through on-line guest comment card and post-stay offers.”
Meeting FTC Regulations for Email
While the “CAN-SPAM” law has some hoteliers questioning the legalities of email marketing, it hasn’t deflated its popularity among email recipients traveling to Digital Alchemy customer hotels. Over the past six months, 34 percent of all email marketing recipients have opened promotional emails sent by Digital Alchemy’s customer hotels. Up to 24 percent of those clicked through to a specific amenity or property feature or to the hotel’s shopping page. This success rate, Hay said, is more than 5 times the 3 percent to 7 percent rate for similar campaigns reported by industry benchmarks.
“CAN-SPAM is not difficult to comply with for legitimate businesses, and hotel guests typically appreciate receiving information about their upcoming stay” said Sherry May, Digital Alchemy VP of Sales. “We understand that this law has scared many hoteliers away from using email as a viable means for marketing their properties—especially independent properties. That’s why our CRM services are 100% compliant with the CAN SPAM Act. By partnering with us, hotels can ensure that they are compliant and reduce risk.”
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) establishes requirements for those who send commercial email, spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask emailers to stop spamming them. The law, which became effective January 1, 2004, covers email whose primary purpose is advertising or promoting a commercial product or service, including content on a Web site.
The law requires that an email message contain: correct header information, an accurate subject line, and a functioning return email address. Senders must not send email more than 10 business days after receiving a request to be removed from a mailing list and commercial email must contain a clear identification that the message is an advertisement, must contain a conspicuous notice of opportunity to decline further email and must display the physical postal address of the sender.
”It’s always been difficult for smaller hotels and independent properties to match the capabilities of the large chains when it comes to marketing—especially when large print, broadcast and direct-mail marketing campaigns are involved,” Hay said. “But Digital Alchemy truly levels the playing field by offering its hotels the same - or better - CRM tools being implemented by the big brands, including: an e-relationship program which helps hotels build relationships with guests; an on-line Comment Card; a GPS Guest Locator Service which identifies who guests are, where they live, and how much they spend while on the property; an E-Postcard, which captures additional email addresses of future potential guests when existing guests share their hotel experiences; and, a VIP Concierge service which identifies specific guest preferences and interests.
Tracking, Reporting Returns ROI
Online CRM and E-marketing programs would not be as useful if they did not report results both to justify their cost and to fine-tune future messages. Every email sent by Digital Alchemy is tracked back to the individual email address and the particular guest in its system, Hay said.
“We know when each person opens an email we send and which links they have clicked on,” he said. “This allows for very sophisticated reporting, and continually adds to our knowledge of each guest.”
For example, a link to a golf special or electronic tee-sheet is clicked on in a reservation confirmation that is sent to a guest. Digital Alchemy identifies that the guest is interested in golf, and stores that information in its database. This guest will then be included in future email campaigns that target golf packages and specials. Digital Alchemy’s advanced tracking and reporting module will then record and track how long it took for a golf reservation to be made from this special email offer based on the original email reservation confirmation date.
“We have the unique ability to use guest’s interests to select the recipients of the email we send and correlate that to specific reservations that were received,” Hay said. “This allows our customers to see the ROI and success of each campaign in ways that no other company can match.”
‘Out-marketing’ the Big Chains
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of working with Digital Alchemy to orchestrate an online CRM or email marketing program is the personalized service hoteliers receive. Unlike some companies, Digital Alchemy will not provide hotels with a tool and then say “Good Luck” with implementing it.
“We find that the marketing department at most hotels are already over-burdened with their normal activities and can’t effectively take on a new, major task like E-marketing,” Hay said. “By providing the technology, the expertise and the vast majority of the work to execute their strategy we make it possible for them to focus on their main tasks while reaping the rewards of targeted E-marketing.”
Hoteliers looking for big-brand capabilities but
with the creativity and flexibility of a motivated, hands-on partner, and
at a more competitive cost with proven results, should contact Digital
Alchemy today at (817) 249-0707 or visit www.data2gold.com.
Don Hay and the Digital Alchemy Team will be attending HITEC, June 22-24
at the Los Angeles Convention Center. For a private, one-on-one consultation,
pre-scheduled appointments are encouraged.
About Digital Alchemy
With extensive experience in - and exclusive focus on - the hospitality industry, Digital Alchemy’s team of experts understands the need of hotel management companies and independent hotels for powerful, cost-effective software solutions that improve customer relationships, boost occupancy and drive revenue. The company’s Data2Gold e-Relationship Manager, with five modules, provides an unmatched range of advanced email-based CRM capabilities that increase the effectiveness of hoteliers’ marketing programs. For more information, visit www.data2gold.com or email them at SalesTeam@Data2Gold.com.
|Also See:||Digital Alchemy to Deliver One-to-One Database Marketing Tools to MICROS Hotel Front Office Users, Becomes Certified MICROS Fidelio Business Partner / June 2003|
|No. 1 Westin in North America Taps Email CRM Potential to Create ‘Emotional Connection’ with Repeat Guests / June 2003|