Hotel Mobile Marketing Case Study

Case studies are always hugely popular on the Econsultancy blog because they act as a valuable source of inspiration for marketers.

In this post I’ll roundup six interesting mobile case studies, some of which perhaps lean more towards being about multichannel marketing.

These have mostly been borrowed from the Econsultancy Case Studies Database, which is packed full of useful examples from a range of brand and industries.

Mobile search marketing

US firm Legal Brand Marketing managed to increase click-through rates by 89%, while halving its cost per lead, after switching to a mobile-only lead generation strategy.

The company delivers qualified leads to law firms and DUI attorneys, but found that the search landscape had changed, particularly following Google’s shift towards giving localised results more weight. 

In response, LBM developed a new marketing strategy that could deliver a low enough cost per lead, while still returning a profit. 

A core secondary objective was to devise an approach which would reach potential leads on the platform they use most. Additionally, LBM was keen to obtain more insight into the success of its phone service.

LBM looked to Webtrends to provide the research, data and strategic insight needed for the development of its new marketing strategy.

After comparing the cost per conversion on desktop and mobile, LBM discovered that targeting people on a mobile platform was 35% more cost effective than its current desktop marketing strategy.

In response LBM created a new strategy including a mobile optimized landing page, a mobile-friendly form and a second opportunity for the visitor to click and call the company’s 24-hour phone service.

Additionally, it placed phone extensions in LBM’s ads and used Google call forwarding to track call time and length.

Results

LBM’s new mobile marketing strategy resulted in an 89% increase in click-through rates and cut the cost per lead by more than 50%.

KLM

Airline KLM had two objectives for its first mobile-only campaign:

  • It wanted to convince customers that mobile booking is simple, fast and reliable. To do this, KLM needed to change attitudes and build trust in booking flight tickets via its mobile site or the KLM app.
  • It needed the initiative to be a test bed for new mobile marketing techniques such as its mobile passbook, location-based notification and the retargeting of visitors across mobile.

During a campaign period of three weeks, KLM offered an incentive of free lounge access to anyone who used its mobile booking engine. 

Customers received their lounge access in the form of a mobile coupon within their passbook for Apple users and in their Google wallet for Android users. 

These apps then sent a location-based push notification when the customer was in the vicinity of the lounge, so they were reminded to use the coupon. 

KLM created a responsive campaign page, which displayed a ticker for how many vouchers had been claimed.

Results

As a result of the campaign, which initially targeted the UK, Netherlands and Germany, KLM saw a 17% increase in visits to its mobile site, which generated 34% more bookings and 38% more mobile revenue.

In terms of traffic drivers for the campaign, its communication channels could be broken down as follows:

  • 46.6% mobile banners.
  • 35.4% social media.
  • 13.1% search engine advertising (SEA).
  • 2.3% newsletters.
  • 2.8% other.

Topshop mobile personalisation

After redesigning its mobile site, which involved a significant change to the navigational structure, Topshop ran a series of tests to optimise the user journey.

Topshop changed its homepage and, using real-time feedback from Qubit’s Visitor Opinion tool, highlighted a number of areas for improvement. 

The retailer wanted a way of testing whether several small changes to its product page would have any positive effects and wanted to test these changes before allocating extensive IT resource to it.

A navigational pointer was shown to new mobile users on their first visit, showing for five seconds as they entered the site. 

The pointer highlighted where the new menu was, helping visitors navigate to other pages.

Using this data alongside the qualitative feedback, Topshop designed four different search variations, testing both changes in copy and the addition of a border to the search box. The test was split evenly across all users.

Optimisation of the search tool is important as quantitative data found that people using Topshop search typically convert 10 times higher than those who don’t.

The retailer also tested changes to the size selector, the ‘details’ and ‘delivery’ tabs, the ‘added to bag’ confirmation pop-up, and buttons such as the ‘size guide’, the ‘add to bag’, and the ‘check stores’.

Results

The new mobile layer resulted in a 4% increase in products added to baskets, while the search bar generated a 5.8% increase in conversions. 

The product page changes generated between 9%-11% increase in conversions.

Asda

British supermarket chain Asda is the UK’s second largest chain by market share, and has more than 500 UK stores.

The retailer’s objective was to meet the growing use of mobile by building an app that made shopping quicker and more convenient for its customers.

More specifically, it wanted to achieve:

  • 10% of grocery online shopping orders through the app.
  • Industry leading usability and functionality.
  • Increased convenience for Asda mums (busiest and most savvy shoppers).

These aligned with Asda’s long-term objective of creating 'stores without walls'.

Customer feedback showed that customers wanted an app that was simple and easy to use, so the resulting design included a recipe finder, barcode scanner, and a store locator.

The approach was to let customer experience drive the technology, rather than vice versa, and new features have included live petrol prices and merchandised banners.

Results

The app exceeded its objectives:

  • Mobile now accounts for 18% of all grocery home shopping sales - 90% of this from the app.
  • Asda app shoppers are twice as likely to become loyal, repeat customers.
  • Shopping frequency for mobile is 1.8 times higher than desktop.
  • More than 2m downloads.
  • The Asda app won a ‘2013 Mumsnet Best award’, getting a 5-star reviewer rating.
  • The app was Google’s ‘staff pick’ over the Christmas period.

Argos

As part of a wider programme to reinvent Argos as a digital leader, the retailer wanted to deliver a truly multichannel experience, encompassing a website, mobile-optimised site, iPhone app, iPad app, and Android phone and tablet apps.

Across the various channels, the aims were:

  • Mobile proposition - to offer convenience and immediacy to new customers, providing competitive advantage in attracting customers on the move.
  • Stores - refurbishment programme would be designed for the multichannel customer.
  • iPad app - reposition Argos from a catalogue-led business to a digitally-led business.

A three-year investment programme founded on customer research and clear corporate objectives was embedded business-wide.

The multichannel journey capabilities mean that customers can now have 14 combinations of order and fulfilment to suit their needs; they can easily start their journey in one place and pick it up in another.

The new iPad magazine showcases the retailer’s range and inspires new customers.

Results

ROI expectations have been exceeded, achieving ongoing returns:

  • Multichannel sales penetration increased to over 50% of total sales, with Argos.co.uk receiving 440m visitors per year.
  • The internet accounted for 42% of total company sales and 'Check and Reserve' was Argos’ fastest growing channel.
  • The iPhone app has been downloaded over 2.5m times, the Android app over 625,000 times and the iPad app over 450,000 times.
  • The iPad app has already exceeded sales targets, achieving more than double the target set at launch and contributing to the 12% of total company sales now accounted for through mobile channels.
  • Search channels continue to grow with SEO achieving non-brand growth of 32%.
  • PPC has grown revenue over 60%.
  • Email visits have grown by 49%.
  • Performance marketing campaigns have supported visit growth of 15%.

Very.co.uk

We’ve written a lot about Very.co.uk recently, including a review of its new iPhone app.

In this case study the retailer worked with Somo to create an integrated, multichannel campaign that aimed to boost sales in the run up to Christmas 2014.

The campaign used:

  • Twitter synced TV advertising.
  • Geo and time-located SMS.
  • Shazam TV/music recognition.
  • Mobile video.

The campaign led to a 45% increase in mobile sales year-on-year and ROI of more than 15:1.

You might be interested in

September 22, 2011

Case Study

Product Launches: How HotelTonight's mobile app became the most downloaded app in its category in just one month

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SUMMARY: Launching a product from scratch (in this case, a brand and company, as well) in a crowded marketplace with well-funded competition can be one of the most challenging marketing endeavors.

Find out how one travel industry startup launched its mobile app through a combination of high-touch customer support, social media outreach and traditional public relations, to make it to an app store's top spot in the competitive online travel industry category.

by David Kirkpatrick, Reporter

CHALLENGE

Sometimes the product, the brand and the company are all one in the same. When this is the case, a product launch is also technically the company launch.

With an entirely new brand and corporate name to market, the effort needs to reach, and resonate with, the target audience. Especially when the new product launch enters a business filled with deep-pocketed competitors, such as the travel industry.

HotelTonight faced this very challenge. The company was formed last September, officially launched the beta of its free mobile app for last-minute hotel deals in December, and began officially marketing the app in January.

Find out how it combined traditional media outreach tactics with social media marketing and extensive customer service efforts, to reach the top Apple App Store position in the travel category ... more than once.


CAMPAIGN

Sam Shank, CEO, HotelTonight, said the company is his third startup in the online travel space. He stated that with HotelTonight he saw an opportunity, despite travel being a crowded market. He saw that no company was focusing on the last-minute hotel booking window, and no one had built a mobile-only online travel agency.

"We saw the opportunity on the marketing and branding side," he explained. "The challenges were just getting awareness within a market with a lot of other brands out there that have multi-hundred million dollar budgets."


Step #1. Encourage your customer to spread the word

Shank described the "key pillar" of HotelTonight's marketing strategy as providing a quality product and customer support, to create word-of-mouth buzz from satisfied customers.

"The strategy is to make sure everybody has an incredible experience using the application," he stated.

In order to create that "incredible experience" and quality product, HotelTonight sought to differentiate itself in several ways:

o The deals offered
o The user experience and aesthetics of the product
o The speed of booking compared to competition

Another way the company works to make sure its users have a good experience is by offering 24/7 customer support to solve issues when something goes wrong, or when a customer has a problem like booking the right room or even just finding the hotel.

"We make sure that everybody has a great experience so that they will tell people after their stay that this is something new and unique, and it was a great experience," said Shank.

- Give your customers an incentive to share their experience

Provide your customer with a positive experience and they might share that with friends. Give your customer a reason to share that experience in the form of an incentive and the likelihood goes up.

"We see people really wanting to tell other people [about their HotelTonight experiences], but we wanted to give them an incentive to do so, to really encourage them, to accelerate it, and to provide a catalyst for this viral marketing."

The result was a "tell a friend" marketing program where users can invite friends right from the app site by email, or through a Facebook or Twitter post, and receive $25 every time a new friend joins HotelTonight. The friend also receives $25 when they book their first room through the app.

HotelTonight users can invite an unlimited number of friends through the program.


Step #2. Utilize social media marketing

Because mobile computing and social media are such natural fits, it makes sense that HotelTonight expends a lot of marketing effort in social channels. This effort also ties directly into step #1 above, on encouraging customer feedback, interaction and sharing.

The company's main focus is on Facebook and Twitter, and Facebook in particular has become an important way for HotelTonight to connect with its customers.

"One of the challenges is that this is an app," explained T.J. DeGroat, Social Media Marketer, HotelTonight, "Everything is locked up in the app, so that led to [users] checking the app every single day and they still might miss out on some of the new, exciting content."

Facebook provided HotelTonight with the platform to share its content, such as videos or announcement of new hotels added to the app. Both Facebook and Twitter are used to announce specials or extra deals.

And Twitter and Facebook provide the company with an opportunity to respond to user needs, questions and concerns, as well.

DeGroat offered an example of a customer asking a question on Facebook, to which HotelTonight was able to provide an answer. But, along with the company's response, another HotelTonight user also shared a story about a similar situation they faced, and how HotelTonight solved that issue as well.

The customer gets a response to the issue at hand, and by creating an atmosphere where app users are satisfied and willing to share their experiences, HotelTonight received a positive affirmation of its customer support from another user.

DeGroat added just monitoring social media channels helps the company keep an eye out for potential problems.

"A lot of times we are able to reach out without [the user] actually directly asking for help," he said. "And that has proven to be very effective in how they view us."

- Use social media to target new market areas

The company started one Facebook effort that spilled over into Twitter, as well. Instead of targeting its main audience of early tech adopters, the campaign reached out to mothers encouraging them to take a "break-cation" and to share stories about why they deserve that break in the form of a night off in a hotel.

These stories began collecting anywhere from 15 to 100 comments on each post, and many "likes." Eventually everyone adding stories and comments to the campaign started sharing these posts with friends and family on Facebook and Twitter, introducing an entire new group of people to the HotelTonight app.

- Move outside the box with social media

Facebook and Twitter command the most attention, but HotelTonight does continue to identify social networks that offer a cross-section of its main target audience, the tech early-adopter community, such as Tumblr, Instagram, Foursquare and Turntable.fm.

Of these additional channels, Turntable.fm is most "outside" of HotelTonight's brand. Turntable is a way to connect people in listening to music, and the idea from HotelTonight's perspective is to, as DeGroat put it, "share a part of our brand with the music that we think exemplifies our brand."

"Turntable.fm is a non-obvious place that a hotel website would be," explained Shank.

He added it makes sense because its core target audience is using the channel, and, "It's just great visibility, and shows that we are not only giving in terms of great deals, we are also giving in terms of
being a community participant."


Step #3. Don't forget about traditional media outreach

Because the product is a mobile app and social media is such a main piece of the marketing pie, it could have been easy for HotelTonight to overlook traditional media outreach in the form of public relations and seeking organic media exposure. Overlooking this marketing area would have been a mistake.

HotelTonight hired an outside firm to handle public relations, and coupled that firms’ experience with Shank's online travel community contacts developed during previous business ventures.

One aspect of this effort that helped make it successful was what might be considered luck -- or maybe just taking advantage of an opportunity.

HotelTonight launched during a time where it could exploit the intersection of several trends that were grabbing media attention:

o Mobile computing in general

o Mobile applications

o The "deal" space (Groupon, etc.)

o The "instant commerce" trend (i.e., "I don't know what I'm interested in until right now")

Because HotelTonight combined all of these areas with a new product in a crowded travel industry market, it was able to get stories in major outlets such as: USA Today, CBS News, Forbes, TechCrunch and Time.

One way it grabbed that organic media exposure was by carefully crafting story angles for each media outlet's audience that offered a story beyond just the HotelTonight mobile app.

For example, the TechCrunch piece was a video story that involved walking around San Francisco for an hour and a half and booking three hotel rooms from the app interspersed with commentary about mobile and hotel industry trends.

"It worked out really well for both of us," said Shank. "It was really compelling visuals and a really compelling story for them. And of course for us it was really nice and immersive."

RESULTS

The most interesting result of the product launch effort is in a very crowded travel app space, HotelTonight has reached number one in the App Store category twice. Both occurred around media pushes that included organic publicity in major media outlets.

The app has ranked as the #1 download in the travel category on Apple's App Store, maintains a steady top 25 position in the App Store travel category, and even reached number 35 overall.

Other notable metrics include:

o HotelTonight's cost-per-download is $0.20

o 60% of customers come in through word-of-mouth or social media; 40% from mobile

o From 0 to 70,071 Facebook fans in around nine months

o One initiative in June to increase Facebook activity boosted average daily active users by 51%

o From 0 to 6,791 Twitter followers in around nine months

At launch, HotelTonight set a goal of $2.00 for loyal user acquisition, defined as someone who has taken action beyond downloading the app that can be directly tied to ROI, such as user registration or an in-app purchase. HotelTonight is achieving loyal user acquisition "well below" its targeted value of $2.00.

Shank said customer expectations are higher with mobile marketing or launching a mobile product compared to website commerce, and that customers are empowered to have a voice and share feedback, positive or negative, through social media or reviews at the App Store.

An important result of this effort for him was being ready to address this feedback, and preventing negative responses by providing what he described as, "a stellar experience."


Useful links related to this article

CREATIVE SAMPLES:
1. Example of HotelTonight deals
2. Customer interaction on Facebook
3. Twitter deal

HotelTonight

Fiksu -- HotelTonight's mobile marketing partner

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