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Dolce Hotels transforms sales process with mobile solutions

Dolce began its mobile endeavors in 2011 with little-to-no budget following executive skepticism, but persistence from an ecommerce official led to internal and external tablet applications featuring simple designs and a strong use of photos, a company executive said during a presentation at eTail East 2014. Despite challenges regarding budget, the right people were in place to continue to push mobile until ultimately the strategy was given the go ahead.

“Our execs weren’t allocating a budget because they didn’t see a potential for ROI,” said Michael Goldrich, vice president of digital marketing and ecommerce at Dolce Hotels and Resorts, New York. “I kept saying it, and they kept ignoring it.

“I would say, ‘mobile is penetrating and we need to do something very quickly.’ Finally, it happened.”

Making it happen
In 2011, the company gained a new interactive Web partner and was finally given a promise by the executive team that mobile would happen. Mr. Goldrich presented Google analytics discussing the prevalence of mobile and charts representing the rise in mobile and tablet usage.

The team’s first project was a meeting planner tablet brochure. Vendors offered a price of more than $75,000, which was not a possibility given Dolce’s small budget and time frame. Mr. Goldrich then did some research and proceeded to build it himself without any financial funds in a mere two weeks.

The app featured number icons on the right-hand side of the screen, and users could go from one page to another by clicking the icons rather than the traditional use of swiping.

While the first model contained both text and photos, the first source of feedback presented dissatisfaction in Mr. Goldrich’s execution. There was a request to drop mostly all text and feature photos solely.

Early 2013, the team wanted to push mobile further through Web responsive design for its users. Again, Dolce was met with budget issues so the team once again acted independently.

Through a number of solutions, Mr. Goldrich and his team learned photos and simplicity were essential and mobile innovations must be easy to use. Furthermore, mobile optimization is a long process and must be continually renovated alongside the changes in technology.

Targeted marketing
The Dolce marketing team uses a variety of ways to fill rooms on the weekends, by sending email blasts through its CRM. Its capabilities even include segment based offers based on previous guests’ interests.

The team can send out certain offers to customers who are particularly interested in golf or the spa. However, the team does not utilize push notifications and does not have the budget to experiment with too many techniques.

All in all, mobile solutions have taken business endeavors to the next level.

“Keep the solution clean and people want photos,” Mr. Goldrich said. “Also, make it easy to support.”

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Commerce Daily, New York