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Making the attractions more attractive: digital media helps hotel visitors select their leisure destinations
In 70 hotels across Northern Italy’s Riviera Romagnola, upgraded leaflet dispensers feature interactive digital screens that bring featured destinations to life.
It’s common practice for hoteliers to place leaflet dispensers in or near hotel foyers offering information on local points of interest, attractions, brands, restaurants and retail businesses. These dispensers usually offer between 50 and 100 leaflets at once. The more leaflets on display, the harder guests may have to work to identify what’s of interest to them, and the dispensers don’t allow hotels to make recommendations.
MuchMore, a leading Italian direct marketing agency, and owners and operators of a hotel leaflet dispenser network, recognized there were opportunities to utilize digital media to increase the amount of promotional inventory they could feature on the dispenser, even when the physical leaflet slots were filled. Additionally they could also offer current customers the opportunity to feature their business on-screen as part of a value-added marketing program.
MuchMore turned to Konvergence, a specialized digital out-of-home solutions business and a Scala Certified Partner, to work closely with them to design an integrated leaflet and interactive digital signage unit.
The first requirement was to determine what elements of the traditional format would remain and what needed to change. Upscale and up-market hotels wanted a more elegant solution than the traditional dispenser but also wanted to continue providing guests with printed material detailing key information.
The second requirement was to present up-to-date information easily via a graphical user interface that would enable a user to navigate through key categories quickly. The third requirement was to provide each hotel with the opportunity to put its own branding and messaging onto the system, from welcome messages to recommendations.This was essential so that each hotel could differentiate itself by the system’s appearance and in its recommendations. Also, hoteliers often sell advance tickets directly to guests and the public, so the system required clear messaging prompting visitors to buy their tickets through the hotel.
“For as long as most of us can remember, when we visit a new destination, the primary source for local information has always included a hotel’s leaflet dispenser. Working with MuchMore, we looked at the model and recognized there were many ways to offer better user, operational and commercial benefits. We’re very pleased with the solution developed so far and believe that we have an exciting platform on which to develop even more exciting products and services in the future.”
- Patrizia Cicognani, Marketing and Sales Manager, Konvergence
MuchMore and Konvergence worked closely to refine a design for the new interactive dispenser, enabling the screen and traditional media to work together. Each promotional message is designed by the hotel or MuchMore and encoded to predefined standards by Konvergence using Scala. It is then scheduled for play-out on one or more of the 70 existing units. The numbers of units and duration of a “live campaign” depends on the distribution package.
Typical promotional content types include retailing and branded goods, fun parks, recreation centers and excursions.
Content is stored locally on a PC installed within each unit and, if applicable, the system draws down live information from the Internet for content including local news and weather, event guides and updated pricing information.
All 70 locations can be controlled, adjusted and monitored in real time from a network operations center run and managed by Konvergence, so that they know which units are operational and which may require field visits. By planning maintenance visits, costs can be better managed.
In order to deliver this solution, Konvergence worked closely with Scala in three key operational areas:
- To design the multi-language, interactive graphical user interface and content templates within the Scala platform that would work seamlessly on the 17-inch embedded touchscreen.
- To manage play-out schedules and the content assets relating to the promotional material (text, video files, RSS feeds and live Web-based content).
- To provide a mechanism for hoteliers and featured brands to change or update their promotional content or pricing quickly and effectively through a ‘light touch’ system managed by Konvergence.
This process has created a significantly enhanced product for all parties. Users can choose higher-value, up-to-date, animated content depending on their interests. The host hotelier enjoys visibility through on-screen branding and an enhanced lobby environment, and has a greater opportunity to influence ticket purchases, a key revenue generator. Media owners and operators can significantly increase the amount of inventory they are able to promote, and can offer flexible packages based on number of locations and campaign durations that are not reliant on field-visit schedules. Additionally, they can create new revenue streams through additional services such as content creation, art-working fees, and the opportunity to sell screen media space to advertisers that perhaps would not have produced a traditional leaflet for a paper-only dispenser.
“Our guests are savvy users of technology and want to be able to access the information they are interested in when they want it. By using this system, we are offering our guests a higher level of information and service on a platform that is more up-to-date appealing and helpful than the traditional dispenser. This helps our business look better to our customers and, by virtue of the commercial opportunity, it will help us generate additional revenue.”
- Lorenzo Spadini, owner of the four-star Corallo Hotel, Riccione
“MuchMore and Konvergence have created an exciting and scalable business by identifying where value can be added, and at the same time, costs can be reduced. This formula is greatly improved through the use of digital media. It is an excellent development and a great case study for demonstrating how digital media can also enhance and improve traditional media businesses. We’re delighted to have been part of the original development and look forward to continuing that relationship as the network grows.”
- Oscar Elizaga, VP EMEA, Scala
“The Corallo hotel is a good example of how the service offers benefits to all stakeholders, guests, hotel operators and advertisers. In time, we may choose to channel this information on demand into other screens in hotels, including in-room televisions, to provide advertisers with greater reach and guests with a higher level of accessibility to local events, attractions and offers.”
- Mr. Giovanni Vitaliani, MuchMore
Konvergence offers a wide range of innovative IT solutions and services for the retail industry and is an Italian market leader in retail store solutions. Through its strategic partnerships, Konvergence is able to offer the best integrated solutions and services available in the market ranging from digital signage and strategic management surveys to comprehensive CRM and supply chain projects. Konvergence has local offices in Bologna, Milan, Ravenna, Rome, Pescara and Campobasso. More information is available from www.konvergence.it.
MuchMore was founded in 1993 in Bologna. The agency has significant experience in the direct marketing field creating and managing promotional campaigns in Italy and abroad. MuchMore is able to provide a full suite of marketing and operational capabilities, and its experience in direct marketing adds value to digital media developments. More information is available from www.muchmoresrl.com.