Accor is the European leader and one of the world's largest groups in travel, tourism and corporate services. With over 4000 hotels worldwide, Accor Hotels covers all segments from economy to upscale. All Seasons, Dorint, Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure, Suite Hotel, Etap Hotel and Formule 1 are just a few of Accor’s hotel brands.Accor online
Many customers locate and book their Accor hotel accommodation through http://www.accorhotels.com and associated brand-specific web sites, where they are offered the opportunity to opt-in to an online communications programme.
Accor’s online relationship marketing strategy aims to convert prospects into customers and build customer value through increasing the depth of relationship and growing revenues from repeat bookings, cross-sales, up-sales and referrals.
Customer relationship and marketing director of Accor Hotels, Mathieu Staat, said, “Online relationship marketing is an important, but complex activity for us.
“We have several hotel brands and offer online communications in up to five languages to subscribers across 15 target zones. We also run six different loyalty and subscription cards.”
Conducting effective campaigns against such a complex multi-brand environment requires a degree of automation.
Prior to Neolane, Accor used a service-based application solution to plan and manage its online campaigns. However, Accor was dissatisfied for a number of reasons.
Campaigns were taking an inordinate amount of time, effort and resource to deliver and once finally launched, reactivity rates left room for improvement. The process simply couldn’t scale to cope with Accor’s online marketing demands.
"In addition, we had to pay the service provider for each campaign and there was no way of linking these operations in real-time with our in-house information systems", explained Staat.
Room for improvement
Accor began the search for a new licence-based software solution offering:
- Support for an international, distributed, multi-lingual and multi-brand environment, allowing collaborative working, yet centralised control
- In-house control of customer data
- Sophisticated targeting and segmentation
- Cost-effective generation of large numbers of small, focused campaigns
- Easy real-time integration with other information systems
- Data security
Accor set the constraint that any new process would have to have a short learning curve and begin to deliver a return on investment (ROI) within 12 months. It would also be required to contribute to a corporate-wide objective of driving and supporting an ever-increasing rate of online reservations.
The choice of Neolane
Accor benchmarked a series of potential solutions. It eliminated products that were technically incompatible and also those from the CRM domain that required substantial investments with typically long term ROIs. It also rejected solutions that required burdensome levels of integration.
Accor selected Neolane as practical, affordable and encompassing.
Neolane now provides Accor with a unified campaign database. When once customer data was stored across a variety of data silos and was of sometimes dubious quality, a cleansed single customer view is now presented.
Analytical and statistical tools allow sophisticated segmentation of the campaign database to support focused, well targeted and personalised communications.
Ready-to-use template-based documents enforce brand identity consistency and graphical charters. The Neolane integrated and collaborative content-management infrastructure allows local input to support regional campaigns, ensuring ‘multi-local’ relevancy.
Many standard communications can be automated, for example ‘welcome’ style emails to new customers or new rewards offers triggered by reaching set point levels.
Neolane also tracks Accor campaign responses and customer reactions, allowing action-reaction mechanisms to be triggered and profiles to be updated in the centralised datamart in real-time.
Of course, opt-in and opt-out requests are automatically catered for too. Managers can analyse reports to evolve their campaign strategies.
The right result
“Neolane has strongly supported Accor’s targets for growing internet-based reservations,” said Staat.
Online revenues for 2006 are expected to exceed €800m (euros), having reached €710m to end October; 12.5 percent of total revenues for Accor Hotels. 2005 online revenues were some €619m; 9.8 percent of revenue.
“Neolane is helping us to improve campaign finesse which is increasing frequency of web site visits and conversion rates. Since implementing Neolane in 2004, we have more than doubled reactivity rates to nearly 30 percent."
Campaigns in 2005 and 2006 were smaller, more frequent and better targeted with all email content fully personalised depending on customer profile.
“In 2005, our first year using Neolane, we sent almost 20 million emails in five languages and actually carried out two and a half times the number of campaigns we ran in 2004. In 2006 we sent in access of 35 million highly targeted, personalised emails”, explained Staat.
Not only is Neolane helping to boost online sales, but according to Staat, campaign costs are actually down too. “The time taken to create communications has been cut by half and we are saving an estimated €300,000 per annum in marketing costs.”
Since implementing Neolane, opt-out rates have fallen too. Accor has revealed that its database, of more than 1.2 million people, continues to grow.“Implementing Neolane was an excellent decision! No doubt about it,” concluded Staat.
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