A Sojern Partner Perspective: Understand Current Challenges and Emerging Trends in the Hospitality Industry

Sojern partner, PUSHTech, discusses hospitality marketing following HITEC

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August 3, 2023

The hospitality industry is constantly evolving in line with consumer habits and emerging trends. We spoke to Griffin Sandberg, enterprise sales director at PUSHTech, at this year’s HITEC conference in Toronto, Canada, to explore the biggest challenges hotels face at the moment, and how hoteliers are overcoming them. 

Who is PUSHTech? 

PUSHTech is a customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation, sales and support platform that allows hotels to acquire, segment, and engage their customers to enhance guest satisfaction and loyalty. One of the main reasons hoteliers partner with PUSHTech is to ensure they are cleaning and utilizing data effectively, and delivering personalized experiences to guests at the right time, in the right place. Customers benefit from PUSHTech’s flexibility, and its ability to personalize the offering around the needs of the property. 

The partnership between PUSHTech and Sojern provides hoteliers a streamlined approach to drive increased revenue through direct bookings, and effectively managing the customer relationship to grow loyalty. 

“We like to partner with Sojern to help people get the most out of our platform. Their intent and audience data is unrivaled by anything else you can get out there.”

—  Griffin Sandberg, Enterprise Sales Director, US & Canada

COVID-19 Hangovers Still Impact Hotel Operations

Hotel booking volumes took a major hit during COVID-19. This, paired with lockdowns meant that many hoteliers had to make staffing cuts. Although demand is looking more positive now, staffing levels have not recovered at the same rates.

“Staff shortages and limited resources make it much harder for teams to work efficiently. On top of that, many hotels continue to utilize legacy platforms which consume significant time,” said Griffin. “The cookieless world also poses a significant challenge as marketers need to find alternative solutions to gather and utilize customer data effectively.”

Griffin’s opinion is that although many hoteliers are aware of the upcoming cookieless world, and the impact that it will have on their marketing efforts, more preparation needs to be done. Let’s dive into some of the proposed solutions and trends from this year’s HITEC show.

Navigating Hospitality Challenges at HITEC 2023 

“One of the common themes this year at HITEC has been the concept of leveraging innovative tools such as those powered by AI to streamline operations and improve efficiency.” Griffin said. 

From self-check-in kiosks to customer apps, the industry is embracing tech-driven solutions that simplify both consumer experiences and hotel operations. In addition to this, hoteliers are working to increase the efficiency of their marketing efforts by driving direct bookings with the help of AI-powered audiences, and multichannel messaging.

Aside from AI, one of the other popular topics at this year’s HITEC conference was the power of first-party data, and how hoteliers can employ it. Hotels can work with partners to enrich data from sources including customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, loyalty programmes, and in-person interactions, and use AI to derive audiences and insights. Hotels can then deliver highly personalized and targeted content to travelers looking to book a stay. 

“A combination of AI and the effective use of first-party data will help hoteliers achieve their goals this year, despite the challenges they face,” continues Griffin. “However, hoteliers should spend time analyzing their needs, and determining the suitability of the AI tools available based on what will actually streamline operations. We need to walk before we run." 

The ability to collect and analyze data continues to benefit both the hotel and the guest once the booking is made. It allows hoteliers to personalize the guest’s stay, enhance guest satisfaction, and drive repeat business. 

New Metrics for Hotels

With changing consumer demands and marketing strategies, the ways in which hotels measure success also needs to adapt. 

When asked: “What performance indicators and metrics should hotels be looking at in 2023?” Griffin responded, “In addition to traditional key performance indicators (KPIs), hotels should emphasize loyalty-based KPIs, and upper-funnel metrics as hotels strive to strengthen direct relationships with guests, and as we shift towards a cookieless world. Metrics like guest lifetime value (LTV) are gaining importance as marketers aim to track the impact of personalization on customer loyalty.” 

He also commented that “While bookings from certain channels will inevitably decrease, conversion rates will go up with the increased use of first-party data, as consumers will have always opted in and will therefore be more engaged in the hotel’s content.”

Another area of focus should be increasing direct bookings. The industry acknowledges the ease and convenience online travel agents (OTAs) offer, however, hotels can emphasize the benefits of booking directly, and leverage technology to simplify the booking process to reduce disintermediation, and drive larger return on investment (ROI). 

Staffing issues and the cookieless world present significant obstacles that require innovative solutions. Simplifying processes, leveraging automation, and utilizing data effectively, allows hotels to enhance guest relationships, improve direct bookings, and drive business growth. Collaborations like the Sojern and PUSHTech partnership further empower hotels to personalize their marketing strategies and maximize the impact of their data. As the industry evolves, staying abreast of trends and adopting technology-driven solutions becomes increasingly crucial for hotels to thrive in a competitive market.

Speak to the team to discover more about the Sojern and PUSHTech partnership and how it could help you drive direct bookings and increase customer loyalty

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