Alila Hotels and Resorts Case Study

Alila Hotels Guest Room

SynXis In-Context Ads and Retailing Insights: Creating Personalized Strategies at the Property Level

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Building a Story of Success for Alila Hotels and Resorts

The Alila experience is centered around a deep understanding of the needs of their guests to seek out opportunities for intimate cultural interactions within curated, global destinations. From vibrant neighborhoods to verdant hillsides and historical sites, Alila’s properties across Indonesia, China, India, and more, are truly designed for those seeking something exceptional.

To capitalize on the personalized experiences offered at each resort, Alila was faced with the challenge of promoting overall brand recognition, and consistent digital messaging that would add to, rather than take away from, their digital marketing efforts.

The Challenge: Promote Brand Loyalty and Property Personality

From a brand perspective, and to promote the goals of each property, the key challenges were to:

  • Generate brand recognition and loyalty
  • Centralize and utilize guest data to drive behavior-based marketing
  • Promote tailored experiences to key demographics
  • Drive direct bookings and website conversions

In 2016, Alila was limited by a lack of visibility and agility. Speaking with Alonzo Kaya, group director of digital & e-commerce at Alila Hotels & Resorts, Alonzo said “We wanted to personalize offers based on website behaviors, but not in generic ways. Our digital marketing efforts and customer data were highly siloed; we didn’t have a centralized source of data on all of our guests, so when we wanted to align on our digital marketing efforts, we didn’t know where to start.”

Alila knew that the key to driving direct bookings would be to centralize and leverage the customer data they had on hand, which would allow them to promote tailored experiences to key guest segments. Leveraging their data to provide consistently unique experiences would allow Alila to appeal to a demographic motivated, not by price, but by the draw of handcrafted luxury.

Ventana Big Sur – Alila Hotels and Resorts
Ventana Big Sur, Alila Hotels and Resorts

A Partner-Driven Solution: Digital Experience and Retailing Insights

Understanding Alila’s desire to move away from the industry-standard banner ads and to promote targeted, user-based advertising, was key in recommending the SynXis platform and the consultative expertise of the Digital Experience (DX) team. By using a globally-based team, Sabre was uniquely poised to offer agile solutions, shorter lead times, and real-time monitoring of ads currently in use.
SynXis In-Context Ads offer dynamic content insertions to online ads; utilizing key information such as rooms, availability, key moment messaging, and available promotions, to appeal to defined user demographics. This approach, paired with the data centralization offered by the platform, allowed Alila to create messages customized by property; which led not only to increased traffic, but to a marked increase in guest inquiries from Alila’s target audiences.

“We’re all aware that digital marketing and advertising are constantly evolving. There are so many technologies, so many channels, and so many ways to get your message to market. We needed to combine all of the data we have available, property-level data as well as third-party data.” said Mr. Kaya. “The goal is to have very personalized advertising. Each of Alila’s properties is very distinct – that’s our brand DNA – so it’s critical for us to have a personalized campaign and approach to retargeting.”

Combining the agility and dynamic marketing tactics of SynXis In-Context Ads with SynXis Retailing Insights allowed Alila to see the results of their digital marketing efforts sooner, and drive the evolution of their marketing strategies at the same pace as the evolution of their guest behaviors.

Ventana Big Sur Guest Room
Guest Room at Ventana Big Sur, Alila Hotels and Resorts

Results-Based Marketing: Data-driven Changes for the Brand and Properties

“We first worked with Sabre to do low-funnel marketing and direct conversions, since we could now better track conversions versus our digital marketing expenditure,” Mr. Kaya said. “Sabre DX team then came back with recommendations and ways to build specific approaches.”

By addressing the lack of visibility in their previous platform, the DX team was able to help Alila uncover a major error in their booking process. Prior to the Sabre Retailing Insights implementation, 72% of potential guests were experiencing “denied availability” a discrepancy between web availability and property availability, both for promotions and rooms.

Discovering this allowed the team at Alila to implement digital checks and balances to ensure the availability of each package and room was accurate, and able to be easily booked by prospective guests. In combination with the digital marketing efforts already in place, addressing the inaccuracy revealed by Retailing Insights raised website revenue by an impressive 82%.

In combination with the digital marketing efforts already in place, addressing the inaccuracy revealed by Retailing Insights raised website revenue by 82%

Coming off the strong success of their corporate website review, the DX team began an in-depth analysis of key Alila properties and their individual challenges. With the collaborative support of the marketing team at Alila, the DX team recommended the Alila Ubud Resort pilot a high-funnel, Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign. Ubud, Bali, is an area well known for its adventure and luxury tourism, and is a high-profile jewel in Alila’s crown. It’s also a competitive market for hoteliers, meaning driving consistently higher occupancy rates through direct bookings would be key to measuring the success of a campaign. The PPC campaign, which ran for six months, was designed to secure direct bookings at the search engine stage of travel planning, and drove a consistent web traffic increase of 54%.

The PPC campaign drove a consistent web traffic increase of 54%

The successes realized by the Alila website and by Alila Ubud helped trigger an increase in digital marketing interest at the property level, and resulted in a significant digital marketing budget increase. The increase allowed the DX team to complete further property level analyses based on individual needs and challenges. A research study conducted by The Neilsen Group shows that travelers spend an average of 53 days visiting 28 different websites, over 76 online sessions before making their final decisions. Understanding this, as well as other guest behavioral trends, led the DX team to focus on Alila Bangsar; a website receiving consistently high traffic levels, but low web conversions.

Based on their analysis, the team recommended that Alila Bangsar implement a mid-funnel retargeting campaign designed to capitalize on key moment messaging. Visitors to the property website received targeted Facebook ads focusing on a Black Friday promotion.

The Facebook-based initiative provided Alila Bangsar with approximately 23,000 targeted impressions, in front of 2,508 qualified users. Tactical efforts contributed to 2,508 clicks and bookings, with an ROI of 28:1. The campaign was launched in November 2018 for 10 days, when the hotel was only four months old. Revenue contributed by Black Friday digital campaign was 25% of revenue for the month of November.

Continued Success

Today, Alila can run targeted digital marketing campaigns, designed with the individual personality and performance goals of each property in mind. Instead of competing on price, or relying on third party Online Travel Agencies (OTA’s) to drive awareness, Alila now has the visibility and ability needed to leverage their guest data in driving brand recognition and loyalty wherever their guests may seek their next Alila experience.

In closing, Mr. Kaya describes his collaborative relationship with Sabre as providing value through technology, agility, and global support. Sabre remains committed to enhancing the evolution of Alila’s digital marketing strategies, and helping to drive innovation in tailoring guests’ experiences.

Contact us to learn how we can optimize your distribution channels and increase conversions for your hotel or chain.