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Inside Expedia's new utility for sending e-mails to hotel bookings.
To showcase its tools for communicating directly between customers (who are booking through the many makes of the airline ) and employees in the hospitality sector, Expedia has held road shows at sector meetings for marketers and retail hoteliers. The Conversations feature is now available with most of the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand properties.
With the Conversations Test you can send e-mails with your clients before, during or after a sojourn. It offers something the hotelier has never had before - a way to speak to customers who are booking through Expedia's brands: Expedia, Hotels.com, Traveocity and Wotif - with Orbitz next on the hit lists.
Up to now, the use of the tools by hotel owners and visitors has surpassed their own targets, a spokesman said. Expedia's tools are not an innovation in the sector. Booking.com last past summers released the communications utility for hotel owners, Impulse for Accommodation Owners, as a downloaded application that allows hotel owners to communicate with hotel visitors.
Expedia's conversational tools are embedded in its extranet, Expedia PartnerCentral (EPC). You can use the extranet as a browser-based site so that you can make calls on the go. This first release of the utility uses e-mail as the underlying means of communicating. In turn, they use the tools to start discussions by transmitting welcome news, such as simple HTML fragments like an example of the forthcoming meteorological forecasts.
Hospitals can say what they want, but the tools versatility is limited. As an example, it is not possible for hosts to attach document sizes, e.g. for expenses statements. Employees can view a communication log for each posting. When the same traveller book a follow-up journey to the same accommodation via Expedia, the call begins again, even if Expedia has information on the customer's fidelity profiles elsewhere in its database.
Now Expedia and Booking.com have added another communications channels for the reception desk. However, there are already many other ways for you to communicate with your guest, such as, for example, your own local app, text message and so on.... not to mention news via the website of a particular accommodation, e-mail, telephone, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, tour operators,.... plus, third parties such as Alice, Checkmate, GuestDriven, Zingle and Revinate.
" However, the inter-channel segmentation carries the risk of overloading the reception desk. Given the tiredness of vendors, the first release of Expedia's communications tools may be a workaround. Maybe Expedia is working on a unique mission control for centralizing all hotel/guest communications.
At least theoretically, it could establish a system with which a hospitality company can allocate and send answers to every employee. "We' re investigating how we can use our current message delivery platform to operate our communication products in a way that extends or extends the possibilities all along the line.......
Expedia Inc. may have made an investment in Alice, a start-up company that developed an early release of a" crisis control" communication for hotel owners. She has also reinvested in Checkmate, a start-up that has developed an early communication deshboard for hotel owners that is also platform-independent. However, the EPC Conversations module was completely developed in-house.
For the future, EPC conversions are proving very much appreciated by properties with a culture that enhances the value of the hotel's services in guests' minds. Discussions could help to increase the chances that visitors can book directly with the real estate next year.
Note: Pictures with kind permission of Expedia and Lionel Richie's and Adele's video.