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Posted by on Jan 23, 2018 in Digital Industry News |

Digital 101 – Are You Covering the Basics for the New Year to Come? (Part 1)

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Digital Success for 2018

In the digital age, the way companies communicate with consumers changed radically. Here at Marriott International, we are continually seeing our guests move from talking to us and booking our hotels on the phone like in the old days, to moving to a truly digital experience via the website and app at an exponential rate. Our customers are interacting with our brands and hotels using an array of different online channels, showing different intents as well. In my two-part blog series, I will cover the fundamentals of digital for 2018 with tangible actions to ensure digital success.

Importance of Content

The first step towards a successful and optimized online presence is making sure you are creating relevant, consistent, and most importantly – valuable content. This is key to attract and generate leads, expand your customer base, generate and increase online sales, increase brand awareness and engage with your online community. When producing content, consider the Content Marketing Matrix which represents the four main purposes of content:

  1. Entertain – Hotel videos, images and stories
  2. Inspire – Reviews, images
  3. Educate –Infographics, press releases
  4. Convince – Events, hotel features and price lists

Have a look at a few suggestions as to how best maximise creative content outreach from the Digital Services team.

See – Think – Do – Care

Producing content is important, but where should you start? What should you be considering? The consumer journey has changed and is becoming less straightforward. The See-Think-Do-Care (STDC) strategy can be a great first step at defining your content strategy. The foundational elements of the framework are:

  • The consideration stages (i.e. what consideration state might someone be in?)
  • The audience at each stage (i.e. what unifying view defines the audience at that stage?)

Let’s take a further look at our customers and how this applies for our organisation:

See-Thing-Do-Care

Using the See-Think-Do-Care framework for content, there are then two forms of KPIs which you can use to measure performance and outcome. These are:

  • Output KPIs – The most important KPIs- they are the end result you are looking for. For example, ‘Your Hotel Searches.’
  • In-process KPIs – These are the means to an end that you will have set up.

See-Thing-Do-Care KPIsHero – Help – Hub

The Hero, Help and Hub model recommends a new approach to brand storytelling that goes beyond traditional campaign-based marketing.

  • Hero content – Designed to inspire, entertain and attract new or loyal customers
  • Help content – Aims to answer questions from all customers and can also be educational
  • Hub content – Takes the form of regular content that loyal customers or brand fans can expect

Similarly to See-Think-Do-Care framework, customers will not move through from Hero to Hub to Help, but they could just as well watch your ‘how to’ (Help content) before seeing your Hero video. By using the ‘three Hs’ model, you can plan your content strategy so that you are communicating to a wide audience.

Here are a few examples that I recommend you use in line with your brand guidelines –

  • Hero Content – A beautiful destination video that will attract customers to book your hotel
  • Hub Content – Regular scheduled content about your hotel F&B offerings, events and day-to-day activities, which will help your costumers engage with your hotel
  • Help Content – Informative content about your local area that will help guests with their plans

Mobile Apps vs. Sites

A solid mobile strategy is extremely important, especially given that Google actively penalizes websites that are not responsive and easy to browse on mobile devices.

A mobile/responsive website and a native app are not automatically mutually exclusive. Like Marriott International, many companies have both a mobile-friendly website for their general web presence, and a downloadable app to accommodate more specific requirements. The key fact for you to keep in mind is to make sure your online presence is showing all relevant information about your hotel, and this will bring a user friendly experience across different platforms:

  • Hotel contact information
  • Up-to-date imagery
  • Deals
  • Dining menus
  • Meetings brochures and menus
  • Hotel brochure/fact sheet

So it seems content continues to be ‘king,’ and by following a few simple frameworks and principles, we can create powerful digital content marketing strategies. A few takeaways from part one of my blog post are:

  1. Create relevant, consistent, valuable content
  2. Follow the See-Think-Do-Care framework when creating content, to address the different stages of the purchase journey
  3. Consider the Hero, Help and Hub model to make sure you are communicating to a wide audience
  4. Make sure your online presence is showing all relevant information about your hotel

In my next blog post, we’ll cover the fundamentals of Search and Social, as well as Paid Marketing so stay tuned.