Not many companies have so effectively tackled the language barrier online, not even in travel. News from Flip.to last week tells of not only translating for guests, but interesting benefits for hoteliers too, namely conversions. Flip.to may just have figured a refined way to pay guests and hoteliers.
Designed to make for a more “personalized” experience online for guests, Flip.to encourages them to spread the word about travel intentions. While this is not a new idea, so many online startups have entered the “social space” intent on going viral, but this variant is differentiated in several ways. Despite the use of terms like “seamlessly integrated” in the company’s press (I hate that), this news is significant. Flip.to claims they can convert more online peeps into real world guests.
The new multi-language capability here is key to understanding how Flip.to’s platform may actually work. A hotel we reviewed last year, Phillipe Vour’s Hotel Le Seven Paris, is the focus of this new development, interestingly. Seeking to deliver brand advocacy aspects to their marketing effort, Hotel Seven signed on to message in both English and French. sought to deliver its Flip.to brand advocate messaging in both English and French.
According to the press, Flip.to helps boost ROI for hoteliers, and in a collaborative effort with edgy WIHP Hotels marketing, the latter’s ROI efforts are pretty well known. Internet Manager of WIHP, Sébastien Félix, commented in a release to Hospitality.net here:
“Flip.to is designed to be seamlessly integrated with a hotel’s booking engine and website, offering uniquely personalized experiences for each guest and their social connections. For Hotel Le Seven, that meant communicating in French, as well as English.”
We know from our own marketing and tech efforts that very few companies engaging via the web have truly captured the influence social media can have on their bottom line. One problem is ignorance. Not so many, not even experts, really have the time to engage via social media. This is a fact.
Now, for starters, factor in what Flip.to suggests are an average of 130 Facebook friends per hotel guest – then add 120 Twitter followers, and so on. Something called “amplified word of mouth” – basically how stuff goes viral – sits alongside another nebulous entity, brand evangelism. It is here ideas like this become interesting. Keep the focus on those friends and followers. From what we can tell so far, Flip.to enhances the connection between guest and hotel (at least one way) by offering coupons for social engagement. Essentially track-able “vouchers” for such things as free room upgrades, and the like.
What Flip.to is trying to tap into is the immense marketing power (nay sales) of being receptive. You’ve heard the term “getting your foot in the door”, well this is it. According to Flip.to, hotels that participate in their schema get something like 10X ROI or even as much as 66X. Real time analytics, tracking, blah, blah, blah, the benefit for Hotel Seven and others is occupancy rates. “Receptive” in this case means open to help generate buzz. We know from our discussions with Vaurs, Hotel Seven already has something on the order of an 80+ percent occupancy, boosting that means building another hotel for Vaurs’ Elegancia Hotels.
That is if the innovation meets the professed expectations. It seems reasonable given WIHP Hotels has proven out methods near that threshold and adding in “Groupon-like” aspects plus marketing channel mastery (mail marketing) – this would all positively influence Flip.to’s value.
We will get more data on this development for hoteliers. Stay tuned.