Katarina Nielsen of Flock Associates: hotels show us why a Big Idea doesn’t have to be an advertising idea

katarina-nielsen_originalKatarina Nielsen, a consultant at integrated marketing consultancy Flock Associates, finds that some hotel groups are leading the way in using a combination of their own data and social media to improve life for customers.

Marketers across the board can learn some useful things about marketing integration and effectiveness from the way some luxury hotels exploit information and data internally.

Now hotel brands are not usually known for their Big Ideas, preferring to focus their advertising on price, offers, location, etc. Half-price weekends is not a Big Idea.

However one hotel brand Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, has had the Big Idea of eliminating traditional advertising altogether, concentrating instead on integrating digital marketing with customer service. They say that the combination of creative products and service delivery is more important than advertising.

Outrigger concentrates on helping customers find out about events, things to do and see in the local area, through blogs and daily updates, once they are on the group’s properties. The Big Idea is to improve customers experience once on site and get the customers to talk about it. Helped by hotel reputation management platform Revinate, the hotel group collects customer satisfaction and feedback in real time which allows them to be incredibly agile when it comes to improving or correcting their services.

Other hotel brands like Sofitel, Marriot and Ibis are repositioning themselves using innovative ideas and their unique qualities to differentiate from competitors.

A recent analysis by Ebiquity  highlighted Marriott’s ‘Travel Brilliantly’ integrated campaign which amplifies the brand’s ambition to shape the future of travel. The integrated campaign rolled out on TV and numerous digital channels including FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest, inviting visitors to submit their own ideas about how to improve the modern travel experience across four areas – design, culinary, wellness and technology. The winner of a co-creation contest will be given the opportunity to design future innovations with a team of Marriott experts.  Essentially, the brand is crowdsourcing ideas from well-travelled individuals to co-create the future of travel.

Marriott Hotels is using customer interactions to improve its offering:

At the other end of the market, the UK’s Premier Inn has successfully repositioned itself from price leader to ‘comfort’ provider , all thanks to the Big Idea of ‘a good night’s sleep guarantee.’

And the bigger the idea – preferably one that’s integrated across all media, including interactive, shareable and viral – the better the return on marketing investment.

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