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Increase Wedding Planner Conversion on the Hotel Website by Michael Goldrich

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June 10, 2022
Marketing
Michael Goldrich

For most people, planning a wedding is a one-time, high-stress, high-cost experience. It’s not surprising that many brides seek the assistance of a wedding planner to help with all the details. Wedding planners leverage a variety of resources to plan events, including going to hotel websites to find information. 

Unfortunately, many hotel websites aren’t designed to message this important segment throughout the entire site. They typically only have a single page dedicated to weddings. As a result, hotels rely on wedding planner sites or word of mouth about their “uniquely desirable characteristics” to help win the wedding business. To be fair, hotel websites are typically structured to convert visitors to book a room through the booking widget. Wedding planners searching for a venue see very little value in the booking widget. They’re looking for information about the property such as capacity charts, floor plans, menus, hotel factsheets — and the RFP form. 

Since wedding planners’ needs differ vastly from those of leisure travelers, it’s critical to create separate messaging for each group on the website. It should be constructed so that both the planner and the leisure traveler flow smoothly through the funnel. It’s key that marketers deliver the right message to the right person on the right channel at the right time. Successful efforts bring in qualified traffic from a variety of sources — visitors who are likely to have different intents. Online messaging, therefore, needs to resonate with them and their particular interests. 

If these two distinct segments — leisure travelers and wedding planners — encounter the same messaging on the website’s homepage, dining, rooms, contact, and gallery pages, the marketer’s one-size-fits-all approach will fail to optimize conversion. The hotel website needs to flex to speak to different segments viewing similar pages.  Targeting and personalization allows hotels to quickly, easily and efficiently adjust messaging. And though this article focuses on wedding planners, the same targeted messaging can also be applied to meetings and event planners.

Though apparently similar, the two techniques are distinct. You can think of the differences in terms of visibility to the website visitor. 

Targeting is invisible to the visitor, while personalization is visible to the visitor.

 

Targeting breaks a large market into smaller segments to concentrate on a specific group of customers within that audience. It specifically defines a customer segment based on its unique characteristics and focuses solely on serving it. 

Personalization involves displaying relevant messages in real time for specific visitor segments in order to have a positive impact on business objectives. 

 

Targeting can be separated into nine distinct components: 

  1. Timing targeting focuses on the current date, day of the week, time of day, and time zone.
  2. Travel party targeting refers to identifying the number of guests and rooms required for a particular stay.
  3. Location is where the person is physically located when they are searching the website.
  4. Referral sites are websites that link directly to the hotel website.
  5. Custom URL targeting can target messages based on URL campaign tracking parameters.
  6. Hotel web pages are the pages that visitor views.
  7. Returning visitor behavior can also identify the person’s visiting pattern.
  8. Device-based targeting refers to the type of device the person is using to view the website.
  9. Account profile targeting is based on the information the website keeps about the visitor. 

 

While most targeting is designed for the leisure traveler, these techniques can be adapted to reach wedding planners on the hotel website. 
 

Here are some ways for the website to identify a planner

 Custom hotel website campaign URL parameters:

• On social media targeting wedding planners.

• For paid media targeting wedding planners.

• As part of a segmented eblast targeting wedding planners.

Viewing the hotel website weddings pages.

Wedding referral websites.

 

 A return visit to the hotel website after being identified as a wedding planner.
 

After a visitor is identified as a wedding planner, it’s imperative that the marketing team delivers the right message at the right time in the right location. All this messaging can be instantly and easily set up by adding target and personalization script to the website. Targeting and personalization efforts on the weddings page should augment the information already available. A visitor just landing on the page should get a warm, personal greeting from the sales team, complete with contact information. The page’s side rail should provide quick links to information the planner needs to make a decision: floor plans, capacity charts, menus, a hotel factsheet, and a link to submit the RFP. You can add this dynamic, planner-specific function to every hotel page, but only make it visible if the visitor is identified as a wedding planner.


 

This isn’t an exhaustive list of targeting and personalization strategies, but it gives a clear idea of how targeting helps to differentiate the hotel website experience between leisure travelers and wedding planners.

 

Every hotel website should cater to both leisure travelers and wedding planners. The hotel marketing team must decide whether or not they want to invest time and energy to support the sales team in driving more leads through the website. Leveraging targeting and personalization allows the marketing team to successfully convert wedding planners that arrive on the hotel website to research whether or not this is the place for them to hold their next wedding.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael J. Goldrich is the chief experience officer at The Hotels Network.



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