Recently, I took a short getaway with my wife to see a concert and stay overnight in Dallas at a Hilton hotel. Since I’ve been a Hilton Honors member for 10 years, this isn’t the surprising part of the story.

I have the Hilton Honors app on my phone that I normally use to manage my reservations, check my reward levels, and book stays, but recently they have started to roll out digital keys to certain locations. Digital keys use your smartphone as a key card instead of the plastic cards you get at the front desk. I’m always eager to try new technology so I was quick to choose that option. The convenience is that you can check-in ahead of time and get your digital key delivered in advance of your arrival so you can go straight to your room.

This technology isn’t even the part of the story I wanted to focus on. Given the fact that you have to have the Hilton app to take advantage of the key, Hilton has a unique opportunity, they now have a captive audience in their mobile app and they know when you’re on property through geo-location and app usage.

Being a marketing geek, I was pleasantly surprised that Hilton took advantage of this.

Shortly after arriving, and conveniently timed around 5pm I received a push notification in the app asking if I was hungry, and it included a list of the restaurants in the hotel. Given this was a large Hilton property, there were a few options listed.

We were already planning on eating in the hotel for a quick dinner before we went out for the concert, but this was a nice reminder, and it was appropriately timed.

Shortly after we checked out from dinner, I received another message promoting the art exhibit in the hotel, if we were looking for things to do.

We were on our way to the concert so we left the hotel.

While I was gone, we didn’t receive any other messages. When we returned that evening it was late and my phone was silent.

But, when I woke up the next morning there was a message letting me know that breakfast was waiting downstairs.

These aren’t revolutionary activities or even messages, but they are core elements of the hotel experience and a great way for the hotel to drive incremental revenue while expanding the guest interactions.

Sitecore has a tool in its platform called Engagement Plans, and these are automated nurture streams that can expand across multiple channels. Leveraging an engagement plan, you can send automated email messages, personalize the web experience, send message to your mobile application, and even monitor online purchasing. As I was playing with the app, I was beginning to map out ways to leverage this tool with my customers and integrate it into their digital strategies.

So, the question is, how can you leverage these automated experiences in your brand to make your customers feel more connected, encourage incremental revenue, and drive greater customer experiences?

Here’s a simple way to get started:

  1. Think through your customer journey, and identify points where customers get bogged down, confused, or could use some guidance.
  2. Identify key messages you could deliver automatically that could guide the customer to the next step.
  3. Determine what will trigger that message to be delivered. Is it a customer action? A specific time or date?
  4. Test a simple message to see what data you can collect.

Hilton knew that after customers checked in they probably had an interest in dinner, but given there are lots of options they wanted an easy way to present their options. They delivered a simple message with the different restaurants, what they offered, and where to find them. They triggered them based on timing of dinner, and that I was geo-fenced within their property, so they knew I might be interested. And they could easily test their restaurant traffic before these messages and after, along with the rooms that received a message and those that paid.

These simple experience enhancements can add up when you start to layer them together into an overall digital strategy. How will you include them in yours?