Thursday, April 27, 2006

Live from the Travolution Summit - Part 3


Tim Davis, senior vice-president for commercial development and IT of Hilton Hotels has told delegates one of the main reasons for pushing hotels online is for the opportunity to raise the profile of brands.

He seems at loggerheads with other speakers here today, in that personalisation – which had dominated conversations – is not a key factor in the Hilton strategy.

“We are not striving to personalise the brand,” he says.

Travolution Blogger at the Summit

1 comment:

Tim Walters said...

I don't know about personalising the brand, but Tim Davis did clarify his opinions about personalising the web channel during the discussion. In short, he said that he does not see the value in strategies that try to project (i.e., guess) what the visitor wants -- ala Amazon's recommendation engine, which infamously assumes that you've become a crocheting fanatic just because you once bought a Christmas present for your elderly Aunt Sylvia.
But Davis stressed that there can be great value in personalisation that is driven, or at least informed, by the user. The input can by explicit (filling out a questionnaire) or implicit (based, say, on refering site or real time site navigation).

The point (in my opinion) is that there is bad personalisation and good personalisation. The former isn't personalisation at all -- it's crude filtering, and Davis is right to suggest that it can do more harm than good. The aim of good personalisation is to mimic (as much as possible) the personal, face-to-face exchange in which the seller attempts to understand the buyers specific needs, desires, buying psychology, irrational fears, etc. -- and to create an environment in which those needs can be meet by offering the right product in the right way at the right time.

Tim Walters
FatWire Software