At HSMAI’s Chief Digital Officer Executive Roundtable in New York City on Feb. 22, facilitator Dr. Donna Quadri-Felitti opened the program by asking participants to share the one trend that has most surprised them — including challenges, opportunities, and pain points. Here are 10 observations they shared:
- We have to sell our general managers and owners on the value of digital marketing.
- The challenge is wrestling with the paradox of OTAs — they deliver business but increasingly are competing with us with no concern for the cost of acquisitions.
- We have to figure out the long-term goals and true value of “shiny new” technologies like AI, chatbots, etc. — especially the full implications of voice assistants for guest privacy.
- How can we take the friction out of payments and make them easier — not just in the planning/booking process but also on site at the property?
- Cybersecurity is a key concern, especially regarding data security and the EU’s new General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR), as well as not just giving away guest data via the use of “free” platforms.
- We’re finally waking up to the need to get rid of legacy systems and create a common platform that would truly be plug and play.
- Innovation is happening very quickly, especially outside our industry, and it’s hard to keep up.
- It can be challenging to manage the dynamics of the owner/brand relationship — in terms of what they won’t allow us to do or are pushing us to do that seems to conflict with the brand.
- We’re spending more time educating owners about the rising cost of acquisition.
- How do you operationalize personalized, individual content? How do you create and source it? How do you generate enough content to have a relevant conversation with consumers?
The session was sponsored by Adobe. Hotel companies represented at the Roundtable included AccorHotels; Choice Hotels International; Crescent Hotels & Resorts; Extended Stay America; IHG; Kimpton Hotel Group, LLC; Leading Hotels of the World; Loews Hotels; Marriott International; OTO Development LLC; Outrigger Hotel Group; Red Roof Inn; Second Wave Marketing / Aimbridge Hospitality; Two Roads Hospitality; Warwick; International Hotels; Windsor Capital Group; Wyndham. HSMAI brings together Chief Marketing Officers, Chief Digital Marketing Officers, Chief Sales Officers, Chief Revenue Officers, and Hotel Management Company Sales & Marketing Executives through the year.