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El Cid Vacations Club executes poorly on new member services app

El Cid Vacations Club has released a free mobile application from which travelers can use their smartphones to become fluent in resort activities, dining, and amenities, but the service fails short by informing but not engaging users.

The app means to excite guests with hotel offerings and membership rewards, but functions purely as a brochure without allowing users to book activity reservations or even view restaurant menus. Web services have long taken advantage of Facebook, email, SEO, AdWords, etc. to drive growth, but the challenge in mobile is to create value around features that expedite or even surpass user abilities online.

“Mobile technology has extraordinary implications for hoteliers, as consumers expect a brand’s engagement to be ubiquitous,” said Djamel Agaoua, CEO of MobPartner.

“Within the hospitality industry in particular, guests prefer a self-service option.”

“Consumers want everything ‘now’, or as close to ‘now’ as possible. New technology has led towards an expectation of real-time gratification,” he said.

Mr. Agaoua is not affiliated with El Cid and commented based on his subject expertise.

Poor execution
The luxury vacation provider stated that as of July 7, 2014, over 2,360 members have downloaded the app and have been using it to stay up-to-date on the latest news and information regarding member services with El Cid Vacation Club.

There have reportedly been over 12,000 uses of the application in the four months since it has launched, and the numbers are expected to increase in the coming months as it is promoted and new functionality is added.

While the platform does allow users to make an airport transportation reservation and email inquiries to ECVC’s member services, its search and discovery factor falls short.

All activities, dining, and club offerings are sorted by resort location, and although members can learn about the various spots, there is no way to book a reservation to partake in sport and fitness events, or view menu options before choosing where to dine. The product pages have enticing images, but possess no call-to-action.
Vague description with no menu

Since the hotelier caters to wealthy travelers, one would expect more luxe features that relieve guests from seeking information on their own, and play digital concierge with more real-time services. Mobile coupons, with promotional codes or even bar codes that can be added to Apple Passbook or Google Wallet could also be beneficial.

“The most important thing to remember is that the app should be designed around the customer not the service or product,” said Declan Carney, chairman of BlueLink Marketing.

“Make it simple and make sure you are gathering actionable information for future marketing purposes.”

Reliance on tech
Mobile changes everything. And since apps command 80 percent of the time consumers spend on mobile, it is critical that to be successful they must drive engagement and CRM to build deeper, more valuable relationships between brands and customers by providing content that matters.

Push messages, rich app pages and in-app message centers deliver compelling, targeted content that drives revenue and boosts customer loyalty that is invaluable in hospitality.

Using audience segmentation capabilities, brands can deliver targeted, rich content to mobile app audiences based on their in-app behaviors, preferences and location while delivering  greater relevance by understanding users’ interests through explicitly stated preferences or implicit behavioral cues.

A prime example of mobile prowess is Marriott. Using geo-tracking and iBeacon technology, visitors and hotel guests with the Marriott Mobile Guest Services app receive personalized offers based on their precise location within in the hotel.

Members are able to choose from a variety of experiences during or between stays through push messaging to their mobile devices. The ability to serve target consumers with real-time offers that are relevant in context and proximity provides marketers with a hook to drive direct response.

Creating compelling individual experiences using beacons is the first step to convince consumers to opt-in and use an app. Individual location information in buildings is a huge opportunity and crucial to deliver experiences and guide individual customer journey’s.

Mobile apps also offer an opportunity to drive increased enrollment to a company’s loyalty programs. These loyalty programs are an important and growing marketing channel for businesses to execute, as creating an app without these features is a missed opportunity.

“Mobile apps can be used to increase revenue,” Mr. Agaoua said.

“A study of retailers shows that when a customer is in-store and sent a targeted notification, they buy three times more than they would have purchased otherwise.”

“Not only does this increase your revenue, but you then have the ability to track their interactions, learn their interests and establish what influences their buying decisions.”

Final Take
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York