Just give customers what they’re looking for.

headshot image of Gina Genna, Director of Marketing at InterContinental Miami Hotel

A digital marketer’s job is to think like the customer. What do they want? How do they shop? What would I want if I were them? And then from there, we build digital experiences that speak directly to them. 

One of the things we set out to do at InterContinental Miami, IHG, was to really segment our customers into clearly defined audiences and then give them a dedicated experience that makes the most sense for them. 

For example, the leisure guest who comes to our hotel website looking for a room is different from the engaged man or woman who comes to our website looking for a wedding venue. The local who visits our website looking for our restaurant is different from the meeting planner who visits our website looking to book a corporate event. 

These are not the same buyers. They have completely different motivations. The website shopping experience cannot and should not be the same for each one of them. 

As hotel marketers, we’ve historically prioritized room revenue on our hotel websites. We build a multi-page website for the leisure traveler, but what do we do for the meeting planner? A hotel guest is a $299/night guest, but a meeting starts at $20K. Don’t meeting planners deserve an equally compelling experience? 

This shift into audience or segment-based marketing has been a real game changer for us because when you consider each audience specifically, you can really hone in on improving that specific customer experience. And not surprisingly, this directly translates to better conversion rates. 

When we focused on our restaurant audiences, we realized that guests are going to be comparing our restaurant to every other option in downtown Miami. So, a small quad on our hotel website was never going to be enough to compel out-of-towners to give us a chance. We built a dedicated website, or micro-site, experience that elevated our hotel restaurant and spoke directly to diners.  

In a similar fashion, we completely re-invented the meetings section of our hotel website, opting for a dedicated website experience just for meeting planners. A meeting planner has a hundred tiny decisions to make, so information needs to be accessible and easy to find. Instead of burying key meeting planner information, we prioritize it with dedicated site navigation. Now we have a beautiful place for the sales team to house all of their room diagrams and 360 tours. In addition, we’ve optimized conversion rates with simple, easy–to–use lead generation forms. 

In the end, when you put yourself in the mindset of the buyer, you realize we all want the same thing from an online shopping experience. We want the experience to be tailored to our needs. We want it to be easy and intuitive. And finally, we want the experience to instill trust and confidence to book directly.

Gina Genna