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Tim Peter

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September 26, 2017

Why Airbnb Keeps Winning at Hospitality

September 26, 2017 | By | No Comments

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Why Airbnb Keeps Winning at Hospitality

Where does Airbnb get off? Seriously. Late last year, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky used Twitter to engage in a lengthy dialogue with customers about where Airbnb might be heading as a company. Why should you care? Well, because that conversation started with a simple question from Chesky: "If @Airbnb could launch anything in 2017, what would it be?"

Wait a minute… Airbnb asks for feedback, listens to guests, and shapes its service around what its guests actually want? How dare they. After all, as hospitality operators and marketers, didn't that used to be our job?

This all came back to light recently when Hilton Hotels’ CMO Geraldine Caplin called Airbnb a “lodging company,” as compared with Hilton’s larger focus on hospitality. I’ve already made clear my position that Airbnb definitely meets the definition of a hospitality company, but I don’t want to dismiss Caplin’s statement out of hand. Hilton ought to be able to beat Airbnb in terms of delivering great hospitality. Any hotel company should. In fact, I’ve argued repeatedly that it’s critical for hotels to succeed in that effort.

I’m about to do it again.

Now, given this blog’s focus, it's fair to ask what any of this has to do with digital. Sure, it's Airbnb and yes, Chesky used Twitter to enable the conversation, but that's not why the exchange should be important to you. After all, it's no secret that digital has permanently changed the way your guests interact with brands and businesses.

What is important are the results of that change — and how you must respond.

What Chesky and his team recognize is that customer experience is the new marketing. Everything depends on the quality of the interactions your guests experience at every step of their journey. Why? Simple. Your guests carry a printing press in their pocket. Oh, and a full-HD video camera and a production studio and a broadcast network too. And they use these tools to share every element of their experience with their friends and family and fans and followers across social networks.

A 100-room hotel running at 60% occupancy with 1.4 guests per room hosts roughly 31,000 guests per year. And with an average of 200 connections on Facebook alone, those guests have the potential to reach an audience of over 6.1 million people. Even if these numbers wildly overstate your guests' social media activity and only 10% of those guests actually bother to say something about their stay — never mind what it says about their experience at your hotel if only 10% of your customers feel it's worth talking about — that's still over half a million opportunities for potential guests to hear about you each year. Imagine the stories they might hear.

This is equally true for "traditional" ratings and reviews seen on TripAdvisor and OTA's. I won't spend much time on this topic; you live with this reality every day. But it's worth noting that a recent TrustYou study found, "…guests are 3.9 times more likely to book the hotel with the highest average review score when price is equal" and, even better, that "76% of travelers said they were willing to pay more for a hotel with higher review scores." My real-world experience with properties all around the globe suggests this is true in practice as well as in theory.

Increasingly, marketing is less about telling your brand's story and is instead about ensuring your guests have a great story to tell on your behalf. A study from Flip.to and Fuel Travel found word of mouth was the 2nd most influential factor in your guest's decision-making process. What do you suppose your guests say about you?

None of this happens without digital. Before the internet, your guests maybe could tell a few friends about their travels — or bore them to tears with slides from their trip. But now they're constantly connected with an engaged audience who want to listen. Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat and Twitter work hard to ensure only the folks who want to see the messages your guests share actually do. And, yes, you have to make certain the rest of your digital platform reinforces those messages once your guests' friends and family are ready to hear more. That's crucial. But it all starts with how they're finding out about you in the first place.

Customer experience is the new marketing. Airbnb gets it, which is why their CEO spent his Christmas holiday talking — and, more importantly, listening — to customers. The question now is: How do you plan to spend your next holiday? Or, for that matter, every other day this year?

If you’re looking for even more hospitality marketing goodness, you might also want to take a moment to review the slides from Tim’s recent seminar, “Digital Marketing Directions: The Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:

Finally, you will definitely want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your hotel, including:

Note: A version of this post originally appeared on Hotel News Now, where Tim Peter writes a quarterly column for the magazine’s Digital Tech Impact Report.
Tim Peter

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September 22, 2017

8 Excellent Content Marketing and Customer Experience Insights: E-commerce Link Digest

September 22, 2017 | By | No Comments

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8 excellent content marketing and customer experience insights

Holla, Big Thinkers! Had a good, have you? I sure have. This week’s edition of the E-commerce Link Digest Series mixes things up a bit, with an amazing list of 8 excellent content marketing and customer experience insights for you. Be sure to check out the ones most appropriate to your situation. As always, enjoy:

  1. Leading things off, Brand Quarterly highlights “The Digital Divide Between Leaders And Followers In Global Content.”
  2. Now content holds a space near and dear to our hearts here at Thinks, which is why we’ve covered “Trends for 2017: What Your Content Marketing Strategy Looks Like” and suggested that “Content Marketing is a Powerful Hammer But Not Everything’s a Nail” in past episodes of Thinks Out Loud, our e-commerce and digital strategy podcast.
  3. Of course, you want to complement your company’s content throughout other steps in the customer journey, too. And as another Brand Quarterly piece notes, “Marketing Budgets Continue Pivoting To Technology And Customer Experience” to support those steps.
  4. Now, in the past, I’ve invited you to “Meet the King, the Queen, and the Crown Jewels: Content, Customer Experience, and Data.” But why not drill down further to understand “Why Content is King and Customer Experience is Queen.”
  5. Marketing Week explains “Why the Future of Customer Experience Depends on Online Data.”
  6. But the King and Queen are nothing without their Crown Jewels, data. And data’s where things start to get a bit sketchy these days, especially with the latest news about the Equifax data breach and Facebook’s issues with unsavory advertisers. That’s why it’s not a bad idea to brush up on “Facebook’s Data Problem” and give some thought as to why “Maybe Facebook’s Data Problem Is Your Data Problem.”
  7. CMO.com highlights the critical role data plays too, noting that “Digital Body Language Speaks Louder Than Words.”
  8. That’s a lot to take in for one week, so why not round-out your list of 8 excellent content marketing and customer experience insights with “A Dozen Don’t-Miss Digital Strategy Posts,” this set of “7 Sensational Insights into the Future of Digital Marketing,” or these “6 Proven Digital Marketing Trends (The Best of Thinks Out Loud)?” You’ll be glad you did.

Have a fabulous weekend, Big Thinkers. Catch you back here next week!

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

Tim Peter

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July 14, 2017

8 Killer Posts Connecting Content, E-commerce, and Customer Experience: E-commerce Link Digest

July 14, 2017 | By | No Comments

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Customers checking out 8 killer posts connecting content, e-commerce, and customer experienceHey, Big Thinkers! Hope you’ve had an amazing week and are ready for a great weekend ahead. We’ve rounded-up an amazing set of 8 killer posts connecting content, e-commerce, and customer experience. And I hope you do too. Enjoy:

  1. Leading off, we’ve got “A Dozen Don’t-Miss Digital Strategy Posts” from the E-commerce Link Digest series for you to explore.
  2. A key part of that digital strategy? Connecting content and customer experience. That’s why we say, “Content is King, Customer Experience is Queen.”
  3. We also asked the key question, “Customer Experience is Queen? What Does That Mean?” so you don’t have to. Check it out to see what it’s all about.
  4. Of course, it’s not just us. Brand Quarterly reports on “Generation UX,” and explains why customers now expect great experience everywhere they go.
  5. McKinsey & Company also offers a near-perfect primer on how to connect customer experience and digital with “The CEO Guide to Customer Experience.” Great stuff. I highlighted this link once before in our round-up of “10 Posts Showing How the C-Suite Views Customer Experience,” but it’s well-worth another look.
  6. Building on that theme, We Are Social looks at “How Brands Can Make Social Commerce Work.” The key quote highlights how “Photo-centric platforms like Instagram and Pinterest offer attractive options here, allowing brands to showcase a lifestyle and build up their brand story.” In other words, selling the entire customer experience in a manner consistent with your customer’s expectations on his or her favorite platform.
  7. Given this shift, it’s fair to ask, “Is There a Future for Marketing?” as the fine folks over at Marketing Tech News. They also claim, “The change will come quicker than we think.” I agree, but would argue it’s already here, further emphasizing why we’ve got to create great experiences everywhere our customer connect with our brands.
  8. Finally, a past post asked, “Will E-commerce Kill Retail?” In a word: No. At least not if you do it right. So be sure to check out the whole post to see how to do just that.

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

  • 7 Must-See Posts Highlighting How to Market Your Hotel in the Future: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest
  • 6 Stellar Insights into Personalization for Hotel Marketing: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest
  • In a mobile-only world will airlines charge for web bookings?
  • Hospitality Digital Marketing and Distribution: Is it Time to Give Up?
  • Tim Peter

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    June 9, 2017

    7 Must-See Digital Strategy Posts from the Past Week: E-commerce Link Digest

    June 9, 2017 | By | No Comments

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    Holla, Big Thinkers! Had a good week? I hope so. 7 Must-See Digital Strategy Posts from the Past Week: E-commerce Link DigestAnd while you’re taking time to relax on a lovely early-summer weekend, spare a few moments to review these 7 must-see digital strategy posts from the past week. Enjoy:

    1. Brand Quarterly explains “Evolve Or Die: Why Digital Transformation Is More Important Than Ever.” If you’re looking for more info on this topic, don’t miss “Digital Transformation: A Brief Introduction” from our e-commerce and digital strategy podcast Thinks Out Loud, and from the E-commerce Link Digest series, these 9 Great Posts Focused on Digital Transformation, Strategy, and AI and this set of “6 Insights Into Customer Experience and Digital Transformation.” Good stuff all around.
    2. While we’re looking at the E-commerce Link Digest series, be sure to check out this collection of “7 Sensational Insights into the Future of Digital Marketing.”
    3. My favorite tweet this past week comes from JM Alvarez-Pallette, who posted this gem:

    4. JM’s tweet references slides from the 2017 Mary Meeker Internet Trends report. And you can check out our recap of that report right here.
    5. AI represents one of the trends in Mary Meeker’s report. And a recent episode of Thinks Out Loud
      outlined “AI For Marketers: AI Makes Big Data Little.”
    6. CustomerThink has an amazing piece featuring the “Top 3 Challenges Every CMO Faces & How to Resolve Them” that you won’t want to miss.
    7. Finally, let’s wrap up these with another look at “7 Stellar Insights Into Mobile, Content Marketing, and More” for you.

    If you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

    You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

    Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

    Tim Peter

    By

    May 12, 2017

    7 Sensational Insights into the Future of Digital Marketing: E-commerce Link Digest

    May 12, 2017 | By | No Comments

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    7 Sensational Insights into the Future of Digital Marketing: E-commerce Link Digest

    Hey, Big Thinkers! Tons of news this week, so no big setup. Instead, just take a few minutes to review these 7 sensational insights into the future of digital marketing. Enjoy:

    1. Lots of AR, VR, and AI stuff this week. For starters, Sheikh Danish Ejaz from Brand Quarterly looks at “How Augmented And Virtual Reality Will Shape The Brands Of The Future.” Fascinating read.
    2. Clickz follows that up with “The Shock of the New: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Digital Marketing.” While the article makes a handful of fairly bold claims, overall, it provides excellent insights into where AI will lead content and search marketing in particular.
    3. We’ve covered VR and AI a bit in the past, including this look at “AI, VR, and CX: 7 Top Posts About This Week’s Top Trends” from the E-commerce Link Digest series and in an episode of Thinks Out Loud, our e-commerce and digital strategy podcast, called “Voice, VR, AR, and AI: Hype or Hope for Marketers?”
    4. If you’re not sure about the value of AI, Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt Makes the Case That AI Will Be Good for Society in an article on Recode that’s worth your time.
    5. Speaking of chairmen, and the like, we rounded-up “10 Posts Showing How the C-Suite Views Customer Experience” for you a couple weeks back. Be sure to check ’em out.
    6. Shifting gears to mobile for a moment, Julie Bernard at The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce says “Brick-And-Mortar Closings: Mobile Marketing’s Opportunity to Fuel Retail’s Future.” That sounds about right.
    7. And finally, let’s close out this week’s list of 7 sensational insights into the future of digital marketing with this look at “Why Digital Transformation Matters for Your Business” and “Digital Marketing Directions 2017: The Key Digital Marketing Trends Driving Your Business” for you.

    If you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

    You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

    Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

    Tim Peter

    By

    April 28, 2017

    10 Posts Showing How the C-Suite Views Customer Experience: E-commerce Link Digest

    April 28, 2017 | By | No Comments

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    10 Posts Showing How the C-Suite Views Customer Experience: E-commerce Link Digest

    Hey, Big Thinkers! Hope this has been your best week ever. We’ve got a ton great ideas to share with you this week. How about we get jump right in with list of 10 posts showing how the C-suite views customer experience. Enjoy:

    1. Leading off, McKinsey & Company offers a great primer for how to lead on customer experience and digital in “The CEO Guide to Customer Experience.” Great stuff.
    2. Sticking with the C-suite, a recent interview on CMO.com with Gartner’s VP of research, Jake Sorofman, reveals that “The Most Progressive CMOs Think Like CEOs,” which is a hugely important lesson for marketers off all stripes.
    3. Speaking of lessons learned, we’ve all recently gotten a great lesson in what terrible customer experience looks like. But, as asked in a recent episode of Thinks Out Loud, our e-commerce and digital strategy podcast, when it comes to “Customer Experience: Are We All United?”
    4. As you think about customer experience leaders, you can’t ignore Amazon. The e-commerce giant takes the concept so seriously, they have a VP of delivery experience to oversee how to improve all aspects of customers receiving their treasures. Anyway, in a recent letter to shareholders, Bezon said that Amazon Still on Day 1, which represents “an all-consuming obsession with the customer experience.” Important trend, worth your attention.
    5. That focus on customer experience, by the way, plays a significant role in this forecast that suggests “Amazon Will Command Half of Us E-Commerce Market By 2021.” I’m not sure I trust that projection entirely, but it sure feels possible.
    6. While we’re talking about market leaders — and where those market leaders are heading — The New York Times reports that “Mark Zuckerberg Sees Augmented Reality Ecosystem in Facebook.”
    7. On that topic, you might want to check out this Thinks Out Loud episode asks Voice, “VR, AR, and AI: Hype or Hope for Marketers?”
    8. Improving Customer Experience in 2017: The Conference Board’s 13th Annual CX Conference
    9. As customer experience sits near and dear to our hearts around here, be sure to check out our past coverage of the topic in these posts:
    10. And, finally, let’s close out this look at 10 posts showing how the C-suite views customer experience with these two posts that explore “Digital Marketing Directions 2017: The Key Digital Marketing Trends Driving Your Business” and “What Digital Marketing Trends Matter?”

    If you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

    You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

    Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

    Tim Peter

    By

    April 27, 2017

    What Digital Marketing Trends Matter? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 192)

    April 27, 2017 | By | No Comments

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    What Digital Marketing Trends Matter? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 192)

    What Digital Marketing Trends Matter? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 192) – Headlines and Show Notes

    Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

    Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

    Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

    You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

    Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

    Recorded using a Heil Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

    Running time: 15m 28s

    You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

    Tim Peter

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    April 13, 2017

    Customer Experience: Are We All United? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 191)

    April 13, 2017 | By | One Comment

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    Customer Experience: Are We All United? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 191)

    Are We All United? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 191) – Headlines and Show Notes

    Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

    Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

    Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

    You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

    Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

    Recorded using a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

    Running time: 13m 24s

    You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

    Tim Peter

    By

    March 31, 2017

    10 Digital Marketing Insights Not to Be Missed: E-commerce Link Digest

    March 31, 2017 | By | No Comments

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    10 digital marketing insights not to be missed

    ¡Hola, Big Thinkers! Hope you’ve had an amazing week. How about we wrap it up for you with this equally amazing list of 10 digital marketing insights not to be missed. Enjoy:

    1. Technology plays a huge role in driving customer behavior shifts. And that’s why this list from Brand Quarterly of “3 Technologies Not To Be Underestimated By Marketers” is well worth checking out.
    2. On a very related note, J. Walter Thompson (which, I have to say, is my all-time favorite agency name; it’s so “Mad Men”), has an amazing list of “The Future 100: Trends and Change in 2017” you’ve got to see.
    3. Continuing that theme, Bloomberg reports on “Apple’s Next Big Thing: Augmented Reality.” We’re pretty bullish on augmented reality (AR) around here and Bloomberg’s piece helps illustrate why.
    4. Hey, speaking of AR, Information Age explains “How Augmented Reality Is Transforming E-commerce” that’s worth a read.
    5. Of course, not all tech is useful for marketing. A recent episode of Thinks Out Loud, our e-commerce and digital strategy podcast, asked “Voice, VR, AR, and AI: Hype or Hope for Marketers?”
    6. Of course, all this technology really should just help us engage with customers more effectively, right? That’s what makes Social Media Today’s look at “6 Digital Marketing Strategies to Help Improve Customer Engagement” so worthwhile.
    7. In highly-related news, another great Brand Quarterly post explains why “Brand Strategy At The Point Of Sale Doesn’t Have To Be Hard.”
    8. And keeping that theme going, we’ve got some more great customer experience posts for you starting with another fantastic Thinks Out Loud episode that asks “Customer Experience is Queen? What Does That Mean?” as well as this list of “11 Excellent Posts Connecting Mobile, Content, and Customer Experience” from the E-commerce Link Digest series.
    9. You certainly won’t want to miss this post that reveals “The Single Most Effective Way to Improve Your Brand’s Digital Marketing.”
    10. And, finally, we’d recommend “Improving Customer Experience in 2017: The Conference Board’s 13th Annual CX Conference” to round-out this amazing list of 10 digital marketing insights not to be missed.

    If you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

    You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

    Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

    Tim Peter

    By

    March 29, 2017

    Customer Experience is Queen? What Does That Mean? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 190)

    March 29, 2017 | By | No Comments

    Looking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


    Customer Experience is Queen? What Does That Mean? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 190)

    Customer Experience is Queen? What Does That Mean? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 190) – Headlines and Show Notes

    Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

    Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

    Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

    You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

    Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

    Recorded using an Shure SM57 microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

    Running time: 11m 20s

    You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.