Selling the experience – Are you using personalized selling to close the deal?

By: Sophie Talbot

We recently held our MICROS Users Conference, which was a great chance to meet with our customers, to talk about their needs and to hold a session with the OPERA Advisory Council. This year, one of the recurring themes was improving the guest experience.  There were multiple sessions on the options MICROS offers for guest loyalty, as well as all the other ways technology can enhance the guest experience.

Our super cool new webHotel offering actually has an ‘Experience Manager’ functionality built into it.  This is great for hotels to begin the process of individualizing your product offering by setting up experiences based on how people got to the hotel website in the first place, along with a lot of other really useful criteria.  For example, you can tailor your offering to me personally.  Let’s say that I got to your booking engine by searching “romantic Chicago weekends”.  The hotel can setup rules for different keywords or phrases and respond back to me with a picture of a beautiful dining table with champagne and roses for a special romance package.

I think I may have mentioned it before, but I tend to be a little on the impatient side :).  If, on the first look at the booking engine, I find a rate or package that appeals to me, I’m going to book it!   If you make me scroll through the pages of BAR, AARP and other rates then I will often lose patience and click away.

This got me thinking:  if we can do this from the results of my internet search, how are we presenting callers with packages tied to their wants/needs in our other applications?  Way back when I was a Revenue Manager and even when I moved to the Training and IT side, I would spend hours training agents on voice sales skills.  How to identify the customer, in order to change the offering based on the things that matter.  They could ask,”are you traveling for business or leisure?” to properly identify the market segment.  Or, they might ask, “are you traveling for a special occasion?” for identifying an opportunity to upsell and so on.

Working with the OPERA 9 team on our next generation of OPERA, our very kind customers have sent us hours of agent recordings.  This allows us to see where there are technical challenges and gives us the opportunity to improve workflows.  You can’t help but notice those agents who are creative and love the process of helping customers, use the rich information stored in OPERA to tailor the offering well, and those that miss the obvious queues like “it’s my anniversary”.

Whilst discussing our new Marketing module offering in our advisory council (more to come on that soon), we started talking about the ‘Amazon’ way of selling.  They welcome a customer back with: “Hi Sophie, here are some things you might like based on your previous purchases.”  OPERA has SO much great guest information.  Wouldn’t it be cool if we could come up with a way to package up the information and tailor an offering based on previous stays and spends?  Currently this is a fairly manual process with the agents building the package for the guest based on the information given on their screens and what the customer might mention at the time of the call.  Now the MICROS  team have their thinking caps on and we are looking at ways we can enhance this process.

After the guest has stayed, or used your services, that shouldn’t be the end of this experience process.  We have been discussing marketing opportunities a lot recently and observed that many companies seem to be using the ‘machine gun’ marketing technique.  It’s as if they are saying, “let’s send as many emails to as many people as possible and see what sticks.”  I once shopped online at a children’s toy store for my nephew’s birthday present.  Every day since, and until I finally found the unsubscribe button, I received multiple emails telling me about things that didn’t interest me in the slightest.  Quite frankly, they annoyed the bejesus (Irish Granny) out of me. Needless to say I don’t shop there anymore.

Anyway, as we think through this process of customizing the sale to tailor it to individual guests, we’d love to hear what you are all doing and if we are on the right track!  On a side note happy holidays and seasons greetings to all!

Find out more about what MICROS can do for you! For more information contact us at Phone: 866.287.4736 (US and Canada)

One thought on “Selling the experience – Are you using personalized selling to close the deal?

  1. Steven Lee
    December 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    That’s a great post! Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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