Penta Hotels - Reimagining the guest journey
HOTELIERS' VOICE S2E10
Amanda Du, Head of eCommerce from Penta Hotels explains how the company implemented digital change using an ABCD strategy. The company has more than 20 hotels across Europe and Asia.
Amanda, who has over a decade of international hotel experience, defines digital transformation as: “An organisational change process, where digital technologies are used to radically change how a company creates value, how it interacts with its customers and business partners, and how it competes in established and emerging markets”.
She explains the company’s ABCD strategy. First, A stands for “analytics”. Penta Hotels has to analyse carefully its customer data. B stands for “business”. The company aims to change business conditions to improve the customer experience.
Meanwhile, C stands for “customers” who must be at the core of every decision. Penta has created a series of touch points to improve engagement. Finally, D stands for “digital”. Technology is used to enable transformation and capture relevant data.
We quickly realised the customer journey is not linear anymore. The classic marketing funnel, from awareness to consideration to purchase and loyalty, which has existed for more than 100 years now, is not valid any more
Google’s 2020 research explains why. She says it reveals a different picture: “From the moment they are triggered and want to buy something, to the moment of purchasing, customers keep on exploring and evaluating during the whole entire process. So this forces us to reimagine the entire customer journey.”
The company has worked with external partners, as well as internal teams, to determine what the customer journey should look like. Like many other companies, Amanda says they are transitioning to an omnichannel environment. “We realised we’ve been holding on to the traditional communication tools for too long,” she admits.
They became aware that one of the missing channels was a messaging platform, so they introduced one that went live in July. Although there hasn’t yet been revenue upturn, benefits are clear. “We can already see it’s definitely more efficient. We see a better response rate, a better engagement rate and, ultimately, a better customer experience.”
Amanda tells us the philosophy behind Penta’s digital adoption.
It’s vital we don’t forget who we are with the support of technology. We still need to use the customer data in an emotionally intelligent way. We are hoteliers and human touch is key. So understanding the customer, but also understanding frontline colleagues and how they deal with technology and processes is crucial.
Finally, Amanda tells us how she selects tech partners. She says they participate a lot in tech forums and conferences, as well as talking to various brands and companies. “It’s very important to keep our minds open and not be restricted to what we already know,” she says.