2012 Olympics: Chance to Generate Long-term Loyalty

The London 2012 Olympics will be a prime opportunity for travel, hospitality and retail companies to engage with a variety of new customers from all over the world. London is a central and more accessible location for the Olympic Games and will attract people who have never been to London previously as well as many return visitors. While there is no question that the Games will have a positive impact for many businesses in the lead up and during the event itself, businesses that take a longer term view of the Games may benefit from this monumental event for years to come.

In order to achieve maximum customer acquisition potential prior and during the Olympic Games, businesses must not wait until the Games have arrived to start building customer relationships. Many people are making travel arrangements and accommodation plans much further in advance than they usually would. This offers organisations a substantial period of time before the Games to build a dialogue with their customers and gain insights into their plans for their stay in London. Companies can use this period to collect information on a customer’s preferred channel of communication, engage via social media applications, discover what they plan on doing whilst in London, whether they have attended Olympic or sporting events before and so forth.

For customers who have already highlighted their intention to attend the Games, organisations can then look to connect with them personally using the Games as a suitable hook and also attract friends and colleagues of these new customers through the same vein. Utilising social media communications could offer themed updates regarding how the Olympic development is taking shape, what the fans favourite sporting competitions are at the Summer Olympics, a countdown clock to the Games with opportunities for prizes at different times in the countdown or perhaps even information for fans on how the athletes from their home country are preparing for the Games and competitions on how many medals different countries will win.

Organisations will need to take the time to establish the most effective channel of communication for each customer in order to deliver the right message at the right time to the right consumer. This allows companies to connect with the customer on an individual basis. Using this strategy can be a much more valuable way of generating loyalty and can transform a customer from a one-off visitor to someone who uses that brand time and time again. By using the insight gained from previous communications with the customer, brands have the opportunity to customise future communications to specific individuals based on past experience. This may even include identifying the optimum time or day to send out information to the customer to maximise reader impact.

By providing tailored communications to all customers, brands will be able to create value from their understanding of the needs of their customers, making informed suggestions regarding offers and deals, which will not only improve the customer’s time in London, but will engage them in a future dialogue as well. It is also an excellent opportunity to follow-up with the customer regarding future London visits and other offers based upon information captured pertaining to home and travel destination information.

The Summer Olympic Games only come around once every four years, but they do not need to be a one-off event for businesses in the hospitality sector. Through effective customer dialogue management, companies will have the opportunity to create a global database of customers that are likely to want to use the brand time and again, ensuring a truly loyal customer.

Robert King, general manager, Travel and Hospitality, ClickSquared

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