A Marriott-Starwood marriage will bring changes but digital holds promise even if brands like Facebook now want you to pay for products like Dynamic Ads
‘Better together’ – the slogan of the UK Brexit campaign – could become the Marriott-Starwood riposte to critics of the deal that argue customer service and true personalisation will suffer as a result.
Not so, says Glenn Stress, Starwood Director of Digital-Americas Starwood Hotels & Resorts, who will be speaking Online Marketing Strategies for Travel 2016 in Miami next week.
“Marriott’s CEO Arne Sorenson has frequently stated that we will build the biggest and the best hospitality company together, combining the best of both companies with a truly customer-centric mindset,” says Stress.
And when it comes to innovation, he continues, Starwood has always been a leader in the industry and so it will continue to drive innovation during this period, whether it’s through supply chain solutions—recently recognised with an Enterprise Innovator award from Hospitality Technology Magazine—or messaging platforms like ‘Let’s Chat’ platform, which adds even more value to the guest experience.
Only time will tell whether the merger into the biggest hotel company will lead to a more commoditised experience or not, but digital remains a top priority. Here are 7 trends that Stress believes will shape the digital landscape into next year.
1. Attribution and personalisation: these areas look incredibly promising and Starwood continually identifies opportunities to recognise travellers across organic and paid-marketing messages via desktop, phone and tablet. When we can see the whole picture of the company’s touch points with our travellers, we are able to reach the nirvana state and be able to provide more effective and personalised marketing.
As guest interaction continues to shift to mobile, one could argue that the death of cookies for marketing purposes is not far off
2. Cross-device tracking: this one of the biggest trends right now, and specifically the opportunity for mobile tracking on devices that don’t allow cookies.