I always said I would never, ever, ever create a list of ‘things’. I also said after the first time I was ill through alcohol at 16 that I would never drink again .
So, with the very same mind-set from all those years ago here is a list of initiatives that I think organisations in the hospitality industry should look to develop and deliver within their digital/web platforms over the next 12 months;
- Use Metasearch engines and search engines to do the hard ‘grunt’ work to drive ‘intelligent’, informed users to their own sites.
- So, they should invest time and marketing (and even ICT) spend on their Search and Metasearch strategies.
- Invest time in understanding how consumers use the web and applications. Understand that the web fits around their ‘life’ and not the other way round.
- Don’t just invest in a new website (including mobile/responsive) or app . Think first about users and your position in the overall user journey. Take into account the competition and OTA’s.
- Understand that this use of the web drives behaviour. It creates many ‘short, snappy’ engagements with the web during a day.
- Focus your website on being a task driven solution , for example; just book a room, book a holiday, event etc. Only focus on those tasks that a user will want to complete on a site. Recognise users have completed a bulk of their research away from your own site.
- Understand that users will jump off and on and off and onto your site multiple times. At the same time recognise that the term ‘conversion’ is rubbish and stop using it.
- Understand the tasks and functionality to offer to users on their site in detail. Analyse, and work with technical resources to ‘pre-populate’ specific data that simplifies task completion.
- Use social media data and overlay onto existing customer data to build ‘local and emotional’ user profiles.
- Look at opportunities to simplify the booking process;
- Book/reserve by mobile phone number only. In the case of a ‘no show’ charge the room cost to the mobile phone (as with giving to charity or paying a parking fee).
- Integrate the simplicity of the booking process with simplicity of ‘in stay’ interactions
- ‘One Click’ mobile phone buying of hotel services.
Try these theories out in one or two hotels within a portfolio . Or as an independent - on one or two customer segments/event segments etc.
Well, that’s more than the standard ten bullet points. Or (if you would allow me a digression into a bit of trivia), more than the “Magical Number seven plus or minus two” that in 1956, the Harvard professor George Miller identified as the optimum number of new pieces of information that people can remember – hence why telephone numbers consisted of seven digits….
Some of the above points are common sense. Some already exist. Some are stupid ideas. One is undermining the entire historical focus of designing websites.
But creating this list has enabled me to consider the digital opportunities that the hospitality industry can adopt over the next year, so I hope that my first (and only) Buzzfeed style list gets a few fresh and challenging thoughts firing up your own neurons.