ZDirect Leverages Marketing Automation and Customization for Hotels

  • ZDirect, Inc.
  • 06.26.13
ZDirect, the eCRM providers, leverage best marketing automation practices, including Drip Marketing, to reduce costs for hoteliers.

ZDirect Pioneers Hotel Marketing Automation  

ZDirect is radically changing the eMarketing landscape by leveraging the widely adopted and highly successful practice of marketing automation and customizing it for hotels. Dubbed "Hotel Marketing Automation," ZDirect is unveiling new tools used in conjunction with its ZMail® electronic communication platform that will help hoteliers reduce costs and optimize their limited resources. Automated workflow processes replace routine tasks performed throughout the day, freeing up time so the marketing staff can be more efficient.

ZDirect will demonstrate "Hotel Marketing Automation" over the next three days at the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference (HITEC), June 25 to 27, at the Minneapolis (Minn.) Convention Center in Booth No. 125.

"ZDirect has graduated from being the hospitality industry's leading provider of hotel eMarketing and eCRM solutions to becoming the pioneer and sole purveyor of Hotel Marketing Automation solutions," said Shayne Paddock, ZDirect CIO. "Hotel Marketing Automation is technology that replaces time consuming manual marketing tasks. It takes regular email marketing to the next level; not by eliminating traditional processes, but by enhancing them. With Hotel Marketing Automation, smaller hotels with limited staff will be better equipped to compete with the larger brands and chains; luxury brands will have the tools they need to really know their guests every desire; and large brands will be able to offer the same streamlined guest experience across the entire chain.

Hotel Marketing Automation is ideal for marketing staff, revenue managers, front desk staff, concierge teams, and general managers experiencing:
  • Guest booking processes that last longer than a week
  • Mass eMail marketing campaigns that do not drive enough bookings
  • Slow turnaround of forms, surveys, and landing pages
  • A need for different messaging for different guest segments
  • A need for dynamic content in email campaigns
  • A need for guest behaviors to be tagged for future marketing endeavors
  • Management complaints about low occupancy
  • A need for marketing campaigns to be measured more effectively
  • A need to increase overall guest satisfaction
  • High stress levels and fatigue of staff

Drip Marketing Delivers Results
Because the booking cycle can be complicated, hoteliers need to engage guests at the right time.  It's crucial to provide the right information at the right time with the right medium. If a hotel has limited resources, or its staff has limited know-how, this process -- which is very simple with Hotel Marketing Automation -- can be extremely challenging. To turn prospects into guests, hoteliers need to streamline tasks related to demand generation and lead management. One way to do this is to use "Drip Marketing."

Drip Marketing means that different automated emails can be sent based upon actions taken or actions not taken, such as: All recipients that click on the spa link will get a future automated email with a spa offer.

"Using our Hotel Marketing Automation tools, ZDirect will assist hoteliers in determining where guests are in the engagement process, and then provide them with actionable steps that make it easy to make a buying or booking decision," Paddock said. "Instead of just sending out one email and hoping it will be opened, read, and acted upon, we have redesigned our technology to send out a series of emails in 'drips' to keep travelers interested and always communicating with the hotel."

ZDirect has developed a workflow engine, via drag-and-drop technology, to automate emails based on predefined business rules.

Consider these workflow examples:

Hotel sets up a "Contact Us" form for guests who are interested in weddings. An instant alert is established that informs the sales and catering department about this new lead. The prospect gets automatically enrolled in the hotel's weddings "drip marketing" campaign that will email the prospect every week for four weeks about wedding specials and amenities being offered.

The day of check out, a guest satisfaction survey is automatically sent to a VIP. The VIP fills out the survey on their mobile device and rates the hotel with a score of 2.7 out of 10.  An alert goes to the General Manager about the poor review and an email is automatically sent to the guest apologizing for the negative experience and offering them 10% off their next stay. The General Manager personally calls the guest and remediates the bad experience. The guest is so impressed by this personal touch that he or she books another reservation.

Two days after check out, a guest satisfaction survey is automatically sent. If after seven days the guest hasn’t filled out the survey, a reminder email is triggered and automatically sent. The guest fills out the survey so another email is triggered and the message is sent to the guest requesting that a review be posted on predefined social media and online travel sites.

A guest receives a pre-arrival email with a call to action to fill out a pre-stay survey. The guest fills out the survey and responds that they prefer red wine upon arrival. That choice is automatically written back to the PMS as a reservation preference for the operations staff to fulfill. The guest arrives at the hotel and is so pleasantly surprised that their welcome drink selection was there in the room waiting for them that they tweet a picture of the wine glass to all their followers.

The eCRM Connection
Hotel Marketing Automation goes well beyond traditional email marketing. It integrates with a hotel's property-management system, its website, its loyalty system, and any other hotel system all into one eCRM database.

"This is the foundation on which all marketing efforts are built," Paddock said. "Data flows into the eCRM database automatically, eliminating the need for time consuming extracts and uploads. Because of the deep integration with all these hotel systems, marketing or revenue managers can automatically send out dynamic confirmation, pre-stay, on-property, and post-stay emails.  Each message can be highly tailored to each guest based on their profile and amenity preferences.

"Hotel Marketing Automation enables hoteliers to quickly build attractive guest-facing surveys to capture guests' preferences and post-stay comments," he said. "This enables management to prepare for the guest pre-stay, maximize the guest experience while on property, and learn from the guest post-stay.  All of this valuable information also gets added to the guest profile for quick access by front desk staff, and can be used for future marketing campaigns. There is no easier way to truly gauge the satisfaction of guests."

Hotel Marketing Automation also enables hoteliers to

  •  Create multilingual landing pages for marketing campaigns without needing any help from the IT department.
  • Offer room upgrades based on the real time room availability. The upgrade can be processed immediately and the PMS gets updated. In addition, the guest receives an immediate email notification that they were successfully upgraded, instead of having to wait until check-in to learn if they get the room upgrade that they requested or not.
  • Recover lost reservations from guests who started the online booking process but didn’t complete the reservation with a website booking abandonment engine.

"Hotel marketing automation helps hotels make sense of the massive amount of guest feedback and data that is available on the Internet today," Paddock said. "Utilizing data mining and text analytics techniques, it brings the trending issues in a hotel to the surface so management can take immediate action.

"Think of it this way: Email marketing focuses on opens and clicks," he said. "Hotel Marketing Automation focuses on revenue.  By having the foundation of an eCRM database, as well as being hooked into the website, hoteliers can track guests through the entire booking cycle. It is these processes and more that we are demonstrating at HITEC. We encourage HITEC attendees who are looking to maximize the effectiveness of their eMarketing campaigns, but want to simplify the eMail process, to visit ZDirect in Booth 125 to see first-hand what Hotel Marketing Automation is all about."

For more information on ZDirect, please visit www.zdirect.com. 

Related Articles
want to read more articles like this?

want to read more articles like this?

Sign up to receive our twice-a-month Watercooler and Siegel Sez Newsletters and never miss another article or news story.