Technology is advancing at a fast pace, with customized user experiences online becoming the norm. The length of customization is crossing all previous barriers and there are opinions in all directions. Beth Harvey, from Spring Engage, shares with Hospitality Daily, six common misconceptions over website personalization.
1. IT’S HARD TO MAKE CUSTOMERS SHARE INFORMATION
The state of online commerce is ever changing, and consumers are adapting just as quickly as retailers are. At this point, consumers are not only used to seeing personalized and targeted advertising- they’re expecting it. The notion that users are hesitant to share personal information is, for most, outdated. It’s actually reported that as much as 74% of online consumers get frustrated when site content like ads, offers, or promotions appear to have nothing to do with their interests (Janrain.com). This number will continue to increase as millennials grow into the primary consumer. 62% of people under the age of 34 already say they would be willing to share information as personal as their geolocation to receive the most relevant content (Jiwire.com).
2. IT’S CREEPY
Even though some consumers are comfortable sharing basic personal information, isn’t there still a creepiness factor companies should be aware of? Of course there is, even though the majority of consumers are becoming comfortable with modern personalization tactics, it’s important to address those who may not be. There’s still an opportunity for businesses to be more transparent with how they’re using customer data. An alarming 77% of consumers report they would trust businesses more if they explained how they are using personal information to improve their online experience (Janrain.com). Just like the rest of us, online travelers only want to take actions that will directly help their cause. So letting customers know how and when their information will be used can provide validation and allow them to feel safe, allowing you to build a better relationship.
3. IT’S ONLY PURPOSE IS A BETTER USER EXPERIENCE
Many understand the growing advances in personalization, but for those with limited resources it doesn’t seem like a growth opportunity. On-site targeting and personalization can not only create a better experience with guests over time, it can give websites the data they need to increase conversions. For this ‘myth,’ the numbers speak for themselves: Businesses currently personalizing web experiences are seeing an increase in sales of 19% on average (Janrain.com). The positive effects of personalization can also be streamlined for any type of hotel website, in fact, personalized calls-to-action result in a 42% higher conversion rate than calls-to-action that are the same for all visitors.
4. IT ONLY WORKS IF YOU HAVE A LOT OF CONTENT
Econsultancy reported that scarce resources hold back 44% of companies from investing in, or improving their personalization efforts (Econsultancy.com). This misconception comes from the big players in personalization, but targeted content and personalization can be customized for any type of business. Many smaller sites and independent properties are using targeted content through real time segmentation to provide better recommendations, messaging, and campaigns to the right audience. This type of targeting allows marketers to use their consumer knowledge to choose the best messaging for specific segments of their traffic. It’s about repurposing content to appeal to each audience segment and save valuable marketing hours while ensuring visitors are being engaged.
5. IT’S EXPENSIVE AND TIME CONSUMING
The key to budgeting time and expenses when it comes to on-site personalization is understanding what tools are available. While there are many agencies that will do the heavy lifting, they usually come with a high price tag. Hotels with limited resources have the option to use a simple to use, real time customer targeting solution. These solutions provide the capability to easily focus on certain visitor segments and make the most out of existing campaigns. Many sites are already using basic personalization with 85% agreeing or strongly agreeing that their efforts are based on broad segmentation and simple clustering to execute in individual channels (e.g., search or display), and 83% indicating the same for use of simple business rules and triggers to execute across digital channels (CMO.com). While these stats for personalization seem to be growing, there is still a huge opportunity in the hotel and travel industry to improve.
6. IT’S A FAD
Personalization is (unfortunately for some) not a fad. Over the past 5 years it’s continued to develop and transform online interactions and according to some of the top minds in the digital world, it’s not going anywhere. Just over a year ago, 94% of companies surveyed agreed that personalization is critical to their current and future success and half of surveyed marketers see content personalization as critical to their digital strategies (Econsultancy.com). This does not mean that everyone is taking advantage. In fact, sixty percent of marketers struggle to personalize content in real time, yet 77% believe real-time personalization is crucial (CMO.com).
Technology has not only given hotels a wealth of information on consumers’ habits and preferences; it’s also given them the tools to turn that data into a more personalized stay from booking to check-out. – Samantha Shankman, Skift.
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