ZDirect Expert Email Solution
NORTHWIND helps client Seaside Properties leverage
targeted email strategy from ZDirect to fill rooms for
8 condo hotels, cut marketing costs
|June 16, 2005 - A holiday weekend is approaching and the occupancy
at your Myrtle Beach properties could be improved. Not to worry; just send
thousands of previous guests an automatically highly customized email campaign
that grabs each individual’s interest with a combination of words relevant
to only that person such as ‘beer, golf, and steak.’ Let golf enthusiasts
know they can book a custom discounted tee-time package in real time and
reserve their guest room from a convenient email link to your website’s
booking engine page while they are reading the email. Tell beach lovers
there are plenty of ocean front rooms available this weekend – while their
favorite band performs in the lounge - through an e-saver special that
they can reserve instantly from the email. Can this level of targeted email
survive the spam filters, be compliant, engage the prospect, and result
in rooms bookings without affecting yield? Absolutely.
"Our hotel owner-operator clients want and need to make
the guest-rich data in our property management system actionable for
their electronic marketing campaigns," said Warren Dehan, president of
US operations for PMS supplier NORTHWIND,
whose leading Maestro enterprise property management and reservation system
is widely installed domestically and internationally. "The two main challenges
have been that recipients must have an opt-in
agreement with the sender, which helps email communications pass through
rigorous spam filters; and most recipients clicked ‘delete’ on bulk emails
because they were irrelevant. Now, through our Maestro
ZMail: the Industry’s first intelligent email marketing process
As a case in point, Dehan cited Seaside Properties, a prestigious, growing condo-hotel company with eight properties in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. NORTHWIND and ZDirect provide Seaside with an interface between Maestro’s guest files and ZDirect’s patent-pending, scalable Internet and electronic marketing solution, ZMailÔ . The result is the industry’s first intelligent email marketing process that lets Seaside automatically send tightly targeted e-campaigns to its guests using parameters that have been easily set up in advance, and – amazingly – scripted in part by the recipients themselves. The marketing emails are based on guest information gathered from ZDirect’s unique client-preference database, which is derived from guest information from the Maestro multi-property front office system used by the Seaside property group.
"The only effective marketing email is one that reaches its recipient, then gets that person to open it and take action."
Chris Shroff, owner of Seaside Properties which includes the Grand Shores Ocean Resort and Avista Resort said, "So many of our guests say they want to be notified of specific promotions, now we can do this. Our previous marketing tactics were bulk email newsletters and promotions; they were expensive and not personally relevant. Even if we could have confirmed they were received, we had no guarantee the recipient would open the email." Shroff noted Seaside now sends out targeted emails because "we know who wants to receive specific e-saver offers. We know who plays golf, who comes here for the beaches, who comes in the off-season. How do we know? They told us through the ZDirect system! For one fee we can send as many emails as we want per month instead of being charged per campaign. Most importantly, our emails get past spam filters and they are highly relevant to every person who receives them." ZDirect also protects existing rates, Shroff explained, "If I want to send emails promoting a 48-hour discount, the integration between ZMail and Maestro allows for a filtering of data that removes guests who already have existing weekend reservations. We believe the only effective marketing email is one that reaches its target recipient, then gets that person to open it and take action."
Dynamic profiling turns C-lists into A-lists to fill rooms
Here is how Seaside Properties’ two technology providers work together to fill rooms. First, through the integration that NORTHWIND and ZDirect have between Maestro and ZMail, ZMail has real-time access to guest history records in the Maestro systems at Seaside properties. This integration makes guest history information instantly actionable to generate incentive-based email campaigns that are sent to Seaside guests.
How does Seaside know which incentives will work? Each recipient has already shared that information by previously responding to a ZDirect communication that asked four simple, relevant questions, like "Do you plan to come to Myrtle Beach in the next two weeks?" Each set of four questions is dynamically generated based on a guest’s prior responses, and presented to the guest. The result is a rich set of self-described preferences for each guest opting-in to the ZDirect database. Underlying this seeming simplicity are patent-pending profiling techniques for collecting detailed personality data, and expert system principles that deliver dynamic content for each email.
Questions also ask guests to share their preferences for vacation activities, meals, and favorite seasons for travel. Since valuable incentives like a free round-trip for two to Paris, a comp stay in a Seaside property, and other rewards are linked to participation, most guests respond with information that forms the basis of future Seaside and ZDirect marketing efforts. As a condition of their participation they must also designate themselves as ‘opt-in’ recipients for future Seaside’s e-saver marketing campaigns.
By establishing a level of relevancy, ZDirect builds Seaside’s email list based on quality not quantity. ZDirect is looking for the 20% of Seaside’s customers that account for 80% of its business, and eliminates customers who do not want to open an email. Therefore, when Seaside grows an email list to the hundreds of thousands, it will be considered an A-list of well profiled, opt-in recipients who will likely open the email and convert. During the two-year history of Seaside’s use of ZDirect, not only has the list doubled in size, but it has also improved from a C-list of anonymous emails to an A-list of profiled recipients who want to hear from Seaside.
Seaside-NORTHWIND-ZDirect combo creates results that please investors; Uses amenities to sell rooms
Shroff also sees the ZDirect marketing program delivering sales results for his investors. As Seaside gradually converts the mom-and-pop hotels it has purchased over the years into plush condo-hotel resorts with rental income for investors, ZDirect campaigns help market available units for owners. And rented units mean happy investors.
Shroff continued, "For the future we will work with ZDirect and NORTHWIND to develop an interface between Seaside’s Maestro ResEze Web booking engine and the Myrtle Beach golf tee-time system that schedules starts for over 100 courses, and allows for booking of custom golf packages. Once we add the two-way interface, our marketing options will increase dramatically. We feel that bundling on- and off-property activities in one email will give our guests an even easier booking experience, and enable us to efficiently use amenities to sell rooms."
NORTHWIND’s Dehan agrees. "Price is an important consideration for vacationers, but so are service and amenities. By teaming with ZDirect’s in-depth dynamic data profiling, we make it easier for our clients to sell a room by zeroing in on promoting the amenities guests have historically purchased. The technology combination also subtly improves the hotel guest experience, which can result in repeat business and – again - improve our owner-operator clients’ return on investment."
ZDirect, based in Miami, Florida, is the preeminent provider of solutions for the travel and tourism industry in the emerging area of Internet and electronic marketing. The company takes email technology to a new level of effectiveness by giving clients a more powerful way to impact relationships with customers. With its patent-pending technology and expertise, ZDirect enables companies to send highly targeted, relevant emails to their permission-based, opt-in subscriber list. The result is new revenue captured, stronger customer loyalty, an expanded customer base, and increased return on investment through reducing costs on traditional marketing via measurable electronic marketing. ZDirect is well known for delivering on its mantra, "For every $1 you spend with us, you will get $8 to $10 back," For more information please visit www.zdirect.com or contact Charles McBride, at [email protected] or 843-839-3100.