If you’re betting on intent marketing, forget about the booking sites

Hojka Drozg / / Sales

I’m going on a short trip to Rome this weekend and so I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time browsing the Internet over the last couple of days. I’m interested in the Italian capital’s major sites, good shopping venues, and recommended trips near the city, as well as the most popular bars and restaurants where I can try the typical local food.

The hotel that takes all four moments of my purchase decision into account is the one that wins. Click To Tweet

The marketer inside me wouldn’t pipe down. I couldn’t stop thinking that I would’ve been spared at least some of this browsing if the hotel I’d already booked a few weeks ago had conducted its marketing and sales activities in a more targeted way. It would’ve saved me time and the hotel would’ve earned one or two more commissions thanks to me booking a culinary experience, a tour of the Vatican, or a moped rental.

Reeling in customers even before they decide

An even bigger “win” for the hotel would be if it had taken into account all four moments of the purchase decision as defined recently by a Google study. These moments include:

  1. Dreaming,
  2. Planning,
  3. Booking, and
  4. Experiencing.

Can you imagine my Roman hotel already approaching me online at the very moment I Googled “things to do in Rome” or “the best time to visit Rome” and I was still pretty undecided about taking this trip at all? Research shows that as many as 37% of travelers dream about vacations every month and that in this phase of their customer journey most of them are interested in general information about the destination, such as the weather, the distance, current events, and so on. By then they have already left enough traces enough to make their intent known and providers should seize the opportunity.

A hotel with the right range of services beats websites like Booking.com each time

If I had already ended up on my hotel’s digital turf through its useful answers to such questions, I would also definitely be more in favor of this hotel during the trip planning stage (the purchase moment when I was looking for the most suitable hotel) and, even more importantly, the hotel would also be able to approach me at the moment of purchase, which in this case I could simply make via this hotel’s website rather than a hotel booking site.

All roads lead … towards personalization

Today, when I’m only four days away from leaving for Rome, I’d most definitely be glad to receive any tips for travel experiences I could book in advance, whether a birthday dinner (the hotel definitely has this information) or tickets for the Patti Smith concert on Saturday (let’s not forget: the more personalized the offer, the greater its chance of success!). If my hotel had sent me such tips together with the opportunity to book them immediately and maybe a travel packing checklist a day before my departure, I’d no longer perceive it only as one of the many accommodation providers in Rome, but as an experienced local advisor and my personal travel planning assistant (by the way, isn’t this basically also the goal of the magazine that AirBnB began to publish with Hearst at the end of last year?).

All roads lead to Rome. But on the way they go past generic offers. Click To Tweet

The digital environment makes countless more marketing and sales activities possible, and advanced personalization tools provide the way to deliver the right message at the right time. But everything starts with a plan—and a moment to think it over.


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