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Speaking with representatives from all of the major all-inclusive brands in this report, they all say that digital brand communications, social media and the rise of digital bookings are impacting the industry at a rising rate year over year. Here are some of their comments regarding that below.
Alex Zozaya, CEO, AMResorts: “AMResorts consistently uses social media marketing and digital mediums for brand awareness and as a customer service tool for our guests. It allows us to connect with the right people and develop a database of clientele to deploy strategic marketing campaigns. Leveraging these platforms has become an integral part of our campaigns, and we are always looking for new ways to integrate them more. For example, increasing our video presence is a priority for this year, as we have seen how our clients like to utilize this method to connect with AMResorts.”
Adam Stewart, CEO, Sandals Resorts: “The reason we believe in social media is because we recognized years ago that you’re only as good as your customers say you are. So even though we’re a big marketing company and we want to promote our hotels for people to see from all over the world, we literally believe it’s far more important that our customers speak on our behalf as to what they’re seeing. Social media has been a game changer for the company in the most positive way. It’s taught us to be better, it’s taught us what the customers want, and it’s become a tool for our management. By 7 o’clock in all of our hotels, our executive team will have read all of the commentary on TripAdvisor from the previous day, so it’s something we manage very, very closely.”
Tony Cortizas, VP of global brand strategy, Melia Hotels International: “Mobile
is through the roof for us. For the first couple of months in 2015 compared to 2014, we’re up about 180% on direct channel bookings across the Melia brands. Mobile is obviously where it’s at. We’re launching an all new, fully responsive melia.com site in the last half of the year, because what was branding 10 years ago is entirely different today. It’s all about content generation these days. Content that lives and moves from the website to social to the guest experience on-property. So how we’re looking at branding is really about convergence. It’s no longer just a picture and description. It’s about real time social interaction and integration of all sorts of different elements, so the customer is not only getting a real feel for the hotel but also the public experience that they’re going to get pre, during and post. It’s in- credibly complicated and all of that is going to be integrated into the new website.
Xavier Mufraggi, CEO, Club Med North America: “The move to digital has been enormous, and the shift from desktop to mobile and tablet has been immense. We have recently redesigned our website homepage to have a mobile and tablet-first approach, and we have seen a significant increase in bookings on mobiles and tab- lets. We are fortunate to have many loyal clients, and therefore we have a large fan base on social media. We have 1.5 million on Facebook, for example, which for the number of resorts we have is pretty impressive.
“We have recently started utilizing our social platforms to crowdsource input for new projects, such as our recently opened ski resort, Club Med Val Thorens in France. We invited our Facebook fans to help us select everything from the decor to activities at the resort. It’s been a very, very positive initiative, and our guests are excited about this because they feel that they are part of the brand. They’re not just liking or commenting but many of them are providing a lot of details about what they want. The true potential of this platform is energizing your clients and best ambassadors to be part of the company.”
Frank Maduro, VP of marketing, Hard Rock Hotels All-Inclusive Collection: “We see a continuous rise in social media use, and the numbers of transactions being closed on mobile is now about 50% of online transactions, which is aston- ishing given the complexity of our product offerings. Social media and mobile have become a key integral part of our strategy moving forward, and the nice thing about social media with people consuming information is that it’s not necessarily sales driven, it’s brand driven. It’s nice to see that change and to see people in tune with the brand. We’re also seeing more engagement with the blog, but mostly the blog is used as a reference tool, and then our guests are engaging on the social channels.”
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