NB: This is a guest article by Paul Durrant, director of sales at New York, US-based HyperTech Solutions.
The author Max Starkov made some excellent points which can be extrapolated to apply to the entire leisure travel technology community and planning process.
For those with their heads buried in the sand for past 18 months or so, SoLoMo is the phrase applied to the combination of social, location and mobile. It generally takes the form of mobile phone apps that combine social networking and location data.
HEBS make the point that the mobile channel provides three distinct opportunities to market to and service consumers:
- Mobile marketing and distribution, including the mobile website, focused on generating bookings, and other group/event leads
- Location-based mobile services, typically focused on providing information like mapping and directions via geo-fencing and location-aware, or upselling services/amenities at the property to current guests, as well as check-ins
- Mobile CRM and customer service: resolving customer service issues at the property in real-time
Vacation suppliers do such a good job in marketing a destination, website and creating a value proposition for their product, but they forget about “selling” to their clients, once they have left.
Is there a problem?
So often these in-resort sales get lost or are unstructured in how they are made. So often the hotel concierge is making suggestions for your customers to book and enjoy.
For example, you have made the sale and the client has been cross-sold, up-sold, packaged etc accordingly, but does this mean that your sales involvement should stop?
Of course not!
You are able to sell them more. Not only have you sent them on vacation, but you know where they are, and, for how long.
Drew McLellan states that 20% of all searches have a local intent, and more and more of them are happening in real-time on a smartphone, and 70% of all searches carried out on a smartphone result in action within one hour.
Get to grips with it
So people are using their phones to find what they need/want at that moment they need it. We knew that, right? But have we acted on it yet?
By using your smartphone’s GPS capabilities, you can be identified in terms of your current location at all times. This means that when you are in-resort your phone can offer you deals from local merchants and any up-sells which you wish to extend to them.
This may be particularly interesting for those travel providers who have multiple destinations as part of their itineraries as they will be able to up-sell on multiple occasions.
Promotions, based on location are an extension of this. It is feasible to offer “high-value” clients preferential services based on location and spend.
This is the power of SoLoMo.
Clients are also able to provide reviews instantly for these services and can look-up which services are the highest rated in their vicinity.
This is a win-win situation for everyone:
- Local suppliers benefit from having a client delivered to them and (potentially) having paid alread
- Travellers are being given ‘applicable’ and personalized deals which they can take advantage of instantly
- Travel suppliers like it as they are increasing their client engagement and building a new (un-tapped) revenue stream
I have¬†talked previously about the need for increased Industry personalization and SoLoMo allows you to this. It allows you to combine real-time customer geo-location with their travel information and time/date and location-relevant promotions.
Travel providers need to consider how to best utilize SoLoMo to engage their guests and generate incremental revenues.
By focusing efforts on social media, local marketing, and mobile marketing, marketers have the ability to deliver more personalized, relevant content and engage existing guests and potential customers like never before.
With modern GPS technologies, this can be an easy and instantaneous sale.
I believe that this is a very real area of growth for the entire industry, and one which can be automated using the current in-resort ¬†inventory found in many technology systems.
We just need to get on with it.
NB:¬†This is a guest article by Paul Durrant, director of sales at New York, US-based¬†HyperTech Solutions.
NB2: Mobile handset cheering image via Shutterstock.