Yesterday, the Guardian published a survey that provided insight into the UK’s best and worst hotel chains. The survey was in relation to the customer experience. The results of the survey are based on a large sampling of more than 8,000 hotels stays.
One thing from the survey that stood out to me was that three of the highest-ranked hotel chains from the survey partner with EnVeritas Group for their content marketing needs. Conversely, out of the bottom six, none of them work with EVG. The survey covered 36 UK chains, so I was intrigued when I read the results. I wondered if quality content could possibly have any correlation with the level of customer service that a hotel provides.
My immediate reaction was, “It’s probably just a coincidence, right? Content marketing and customer service quality don’t correlate do they?” Then it hit me. Of course they do. That’s what content marketing is all about. Giving your customers the quality content that they want to see, not what you ‘think’ they want to see.
If you own a hotel, your main goal is to ensure that every one of your customers wraps up their stay with a smile on their face, each and every time they visit your property. If that isn’t your goal, you need to rethink your strategy.
Another goal that should be at the top of your list is optimizing your customer’s happiness level when they visit your website? The last thing you want is for your customers to leave your site with a headache.
For hotel customers in today’s digitally oriented world, their first touch point with your brand or property will likely be on your website. This is what we learned with Google’s ZMOT. As a result, hotel chains need to have a strong digital presence. Sloppy, poor quality, outdated content on your website just won’t cut it. If you aren’t willing to go the extra mile for your customers with your website content, then you probably aren’t willing to do so when they contact you directly either.
In an attempt to determine if there is a correlation between the quality of a hotel chain’s website content and the quality of its customer service, I decided to take 5 minutes and analyze each of the hotel chains ranked at the bottom. What I found was not surprising. Out of the six brands at the bottom of the list, four had a really poor design and the content on their web site was less than desirable.
Granted, this was just a first impression view, but I’d suspect there is a level of validity to my theory. To gain a little more clarity, I decided to visit the websites of the top ten or so chains. Again, what I found was not surprising. All of the top chains have, based on my first impressions, excellent web sites in terms of design and in terms of content quality and page organization. Just to reiterate, this was based on a brief first impression, but keep in mind that a brief first impression may be all a potential customer needs to learn enough for them to book a room, or run to the next website.
Based on the short time that I spent perusing the websites of both the top and bottom ranks, I can confidently say that great content clearly has a correlation to great customer service. Your hotel’s customer service begins when a customer lands on a hotel branded website. Providing a smooth navigation experience, a rich content enabled web site, well-organized pages, and useful information that is regularly updated is the first step in delivering quality customer service.
My colleagues and I have always thought that delivering well-organized content that tells the truth is the best way to convert a website browser into a happy customer who is loyal and vocal about your brand. Now that the term content marketing has been defined and theorized, more and more businesses understand that the customer experience starts with the content you are delivering to your potential audience online. For the last 10 years we have been helping our clients to better create, manage and localize large amounts of digital content while helping them to achieve overall customer satisfaction with the brand experience. Is it a coincidence that the top hotel chains boast quality websites and content? I think not.
Eric Ingrand – VP Content Marketing EMEA