MARKETING-INTERACTIVE is proud to present Digital Marketing Asia – Hong Kong, a conference about uncovering transformative trends impacting marketing leaders and decision-makers that will arm digital marketers for 2024 and beyond. Taking place on 26 and 27 October at The Mira Hong Kong, our 39 speakers will share with us their insights and experiences on the post-cookie world, the new digital experience in North Asia, social commerce and putting AI into practice.
Joining us on the panel on how to formulate the roadmap for crafting a next-gen digital experience is Philip Chau, vice president, group head of marketing, Regal Hotels International, who currently heads up the group marketing department at the Regal Hotel Groups covering over 12 hotels across Asia. Chau has over 17 years of experience in digital innovation, performance marketing and advanced analytics having worked in corporate, agency and start-up environments.
As we enter the post-pandemic era, many brands in Hong Kong are trying to leverage digitisation to transform their businesses or tap into new audiences, including Regal Hotels International. Most recently, the hotel has revamped all of its websites, its loyalty programme, as well as launched a one-of-a-kind metaverse experience.
In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Chau said while the foundation of the hotel industry is offering physical offline experiences, its ultimate goal is to create a seamless, fully integrated online and offline journey to elevate consumer experience.
“For example, someone checks into the hotel, scans a QR code to input some preference, and then the preference is reflected in the room, then in the room, they talk to a chatbot, where that request is reflected when they go down to have food in the restaurant,” he added.
It's sometimes hard to get the necessary budget for digital transformation efforts in a world of shrinking budgets. As such, Chau said marketers have to be very clear with the objectives together with KPIs before getting to the budget.
"The second is quantify. So I think, put numbers wherever possible, that's relevant[...] If you're into a branding campaign, obviously, your impressions, your reach. If you're into an acquisition campaign, then it's the traffic, the reach and the sales," he added.
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MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What does a next-gen digital experience mean to you in the hospitality sector? What should the world of marketing expect next?
This is an interesting one. The hotel industry is very interesting. First of all, it is fundamentally physical. So it's about coming to experience the rooms, the food and beverage, all that at. The foundation of the business is offering physical offline experiences.
Now throughout the past few years, obviously with COVID, everyone is trying to do new digital kind of innovations. Same with us, just recently, just within this year, we have revamped all of our websites, we have revamped our loyalty programme, we have launched Metaverse, we're now looking into AI chatbot, marketing automation, all that stuff.
Moving forward, I think what would define success in this area is creating a seamless, fully integrated online and offline journey.
So the point is, when someone comes to experience something physical, before, after, and during that experience, there are online elements that they do not even feel or that they're not even aware of.
For example, someone checks into the hotel, scans a QR code to input some preference, and then the preference is reflected in the room, then in the room, they talk to a chatbot, where that request is reflected when they go down to have food in the restaurant. And then so I think that is, is the ultimate goal where online and offline are so blended together, that the experience is fully seamless and noticeable.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: How do you pitch the right KPIs and ROI expectations in order to get the necessary budget for digital transformation efforts?
That's a good question. Now, in fact, that's the golden question. So I think, which, you know, I am sure other marketers have done a lot in the past two years with budgets when you cut, how do we pitch new stuff? Right?
So a couple of things in this. First of all, you got to be clear about what the objective is of, you know, whatever you're going to pitch. Is it acquisition? Is it branding? Is it both?
So be very clear with the objectives together with KPIs. It's impossible to pitch something without a KPI. But before getting to the budget, get alignment with your top management on the objective first, before you even get to the numbers.
The second is quantifying. So I think, put numbers wherever possible, that's relevant. Of course, start with the basics. So everything that you know is trackable. If you're into a branding campaign, obviously, your impressions, your reach. If you're into an acquisition campaign, then it's the traffic, the reach and the sales.
But don't end there. Actually, going to create some numbers, create some new meanings to how you can interpret and present these numbers. For example, what are the search trends? What is the engagement you're targeting versus your competitor or versus the market? What is your marketing reach compared to different industries? So, create a unique KPI with different contexts to enrich your proposal.
And then finally, the key thing is, I think I'm sure this is not a surprise to everyone. Started with a proof of concept POC (proof of concept), a trial. It is always a good tool to start with a small budget, start with a small scale, but just get it going. And often case, the outcome of this trial is the solid or sufficient KPIs and data that you will then acquire to pay for the real big thing.
Sometimes you might find that actually, it didn't work. So it's definitely true that the test-and-learn approach is very useful.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: In your view, what is the most significant way that AI will influence the digital customer experience next year?
This is certainly a hot topic in the past couple of months. We started with metaverse, and now it's ChatGPT. I think it's important to be aware that there are fundamentally two main angles.
One is the internal angle. How can it help me do my marketing more efficiently? For example, with ChatGPT, we can do things quicker and more effectively, and it likely will save me money and time. For example, when creating content, creating creatives, making briefs and plans, we can use tools like ChatGPT to do that.
The other part of it is the real customer-facing part, which is the customer engagement.
With all this AI which we're also experimenting with right now, we can now create more efficient communication based on data. It can be more targeted, the content can be more personalised, and it can be more behaviour and data-driven.
The second part is normally if you were to pitch to your boss, it's the easier part, because it's touching the customers and closer to kind of impacting the bottom line, or the the revenue of the business. But the first internal part, once done properly, not only saves you the cost and time, it enables you to have more resources to do the second piece, which is the actual customer engagement piece.
We are bringing Digital Marketing Asia to Hong Kong from Southeast Asia! Hear all about the latest trends in the digital space with 200+ brilliant minds at Digital Marketing Asia - Hong Kong on 26 and 27 October at The Mira Hong Kong. Uncover thought-provoking and customised strategies that help brands connect with audiences effectively.
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