What: The internet offers seemingly infinite ways for consumers to research products and services before making a purchase. Aeromexico and Palace Resorts explain how they leverage key benefits of marketing automation to start a conversation and turn consumers’ digital research into online and offline sales.
Why it matters: No matter how much technology brands throw at marketing, excellent content, and the human factor count for a lot, especially when consumers are purchasing an experience and not just on price.
Consumers’ Digital Research Speaks Volumes
Palace Resorts is not just any resort. Its 10 oceanfront properties spread across Jamaica and Mexico on the Caribbean and the Pacific offer an all-inclusive vacation of a lifetime. That’s why consumers looking for an exceptional experience do a lot of digital research before making their purchases.
“We’re not a commodity you buy on a budget. So we talk a lot about our destinations,” Gerardo Garcia, Palace Resorts’ Vice President of Sales and Marketing in the USA, told Portada during a sit-down interview at Portada Miami. “We try to bring the customer into a conversation.”
Our core business is to run successful hotels, so we have to find the right people on the technology side.
Potential guests often visit 20 websites before booking. So, Palace Resorts has to be sure it has excellent content at each of those touch points so as to engage consumers and promote the brand. “People dedicate a lot of time to their process of buying a vacation. Their digital research process creates that inspirational moment,” Garcia told Portada.
Key Benefits of Marketing Automation: Balancing the Human Factor With Technology
Palace Resorts loves it when customers buy online, but a large percentage of its guests have lots of questions before booking. Thus, having a call center and live chat are key tools in the purchasing process.
Garcia’s marketing team includes 15 people dedicated solely to responding 24/7 to customers’ questions posted on social media or at Trip Advisor. “The more I learn about technology, the more I value the human factor,” Garcia said.
Working with third-party vendors is a critical part of Palace Resorts’ marketing strategy. Allowing vendors to manage technology “allows us to focus on our marketing strategies and find the right channel to launch that campaign. Our core business is to run successful hotels, so we have to find the right people on the technology side. Otherwise it becomes overwhelming,” Garcia explained.
Automated behavioral email is also one of the most important channels for communicating with existing customers. In addition to its CRM software tool Clever, Palace Resorts uses HubSpot to send emails based upon customers’ preferences.
A First for Aeromexico
Aeromexico is the first brand in Latin America to create a chatbot to respond to customers’ questions on WhatsApp. According to the airline’s Paola Camacho Stern, senior specialist co-brand partnerships, other brands are taking notice.
If customers don’t get the answers they need, the chatbot transfers them to Aeromexico’s call center. Ppersonnel there has actually been reduced thanks to the assistance of the chatbot.
In spite of the technology, the human factor remains a critical component for ticket sales since Aeromexico prides itself on the superior experience it provides travelers both in the air and on the ground.
We are using both traditional and online channels. Whenever I do a campaign, I try to do both of them.
“We have a lot of people that want to talk to a human being. What we are looking for is a balance. I don’t think the call center is going to disappear, but our digital will grow more until it finds a balance,” Stern said.
Communicating the Experience with Content
Aeromexico relies heavily on social media to communicate its brand and the airline’s experience. “We have very strong social media channels, a lot of followers. We are focusing on making people feel like we’re not just an airline but the best company to take them from one place to another,” Stern explained.
The airline buys paid advertising, and uploads videos on Facebook which is its “strongest” social media channel.
Traditional media, too, plays an especially important role in Latin America. It includes the use of radio, outdoor advertising print, the airline’s inflight magazine as well as advertising before feature films in cinemas.
Key benefits of marketing automation include email, and Aeromexico uses it to launch campaigns and promotions and tell customers about new routes. It does extensive a/b testing to find the best messaging. Aeromexico also segments its databases to personalize offers.
“We are using both traditional and online channels. Whenever I do a campaign, I try to do both of them. Traditional channels are more expensive. You need to find a mix. You can’t put everything in digital.”