SEATTLE—No one would ever expect to have the exact same experience at Colorado’s Mountain Lodge at Telluride or Pelican Grand Beach Resort in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. But both are part of Noble House Hotels & Resorts’ 18-property portfolio and, as such, both are part of the company’s commitment to unifying its brand through its digital strategy.
“Noble House last year added five hotels to the portfolio and as we look toward the future, we are trying to build up Noble House as a brand,” said Noble House’s Chief Creative Officer Scott Colee. Up to this point, we’ve never really made an effort to push Noble House [as a brand], but now that we have critical mass and are on an aggressive growth platform, we do want to try to get more loyal members to sell to not just one hotel but throughout the collection.”
To work toward these goals, the company recently launched a new app, designed and managed by Intelity, as well as The Noble Nomad blog, created and managed by Hawthorn Creative.
“We have noticed a higher percentage of bookings and conversions via mobile devices and tablets, and knowing that is the buying pattern for most consumers today, it seemed important for us to continue communicating with our guests and potential guests via a mobile device,” said Colee, noting that Noble House has been working on this for nearly nine months. “The impetus for the app was to, on the one hand, provide information very quickly and easily to guests who are staying in any one of our hotels, but then, at the same time, cross-promote and cross-sell the other properties within the portfolio.”
Colee noted that while each property gives guests a distinct experience, travelers do look for consistency when it comes to service, so it only makes sense to market the properties together and make it easier for guests to book at other Noble House locations. “Each property is unique; they are meant to all support and reflect the locations they are in, but people do have an expectation in terms of service and the quality of service that they get. That goes throughout all of the outlets—rooms, food & beverage, spa, other amenities—so we want to try to make each hotel completely individual and have its own distinct personality but yet provide consistency in the way we provide service and communicate,” he said.
Of the company’s partnership with Intelity, Colee said, “Intelity is the leader in hospitality apps. We looked at a few companies but it seemed to have the most experience in this space, the most robust platform.”
The app allows guests to book stays, check-in before arrival, make requests, order in-room dining and book services. “The number-one feature for us is for guests to be able to make a reservation. If you download the app, you can make a reservation at any of the other hotels,” said Colee. “We really do anticipate the app will have a direct connection to increased business and revenue. Once guests get comfortable with the app, it’s about enhancing the stay with the guest services features.”
There are two parts to those features: marketing and service. “There’s the marketing piece, which pushes out messages to guests while they’re on property—if we’re running a special at the spa, for example,” said Colee. “And then there’s the whole service piece where you can book the spa appointment, book room service, book all those types of things.
“I haven’t seen reports yet, but our expectation is that we can help promote the outlets while people are on property and create awareness and help the guest have a better stay,” he continued. “It’s really meant to enhance their stay while they’re there—not just within the hotel, but the app does have a concierge service where we partner with local attractions that can help guests explore and give them more immediate access and choices while they’re on vacation.”
The Noble Nomad blog represents the other half of the company’s commitment to digital strategy. The blog, which gives guests an insider’s view of each property in the portfolio, also features stories from Noble House Magazine, including corporate specials, destination pieces and industry analysis. In print for the past seven years, the magazine is available in every guestroom in Noble House’s portfolio. But, said Colee, “Digital is far more fluid than print. The blog allows us to continually share stories, activities and events we think will attract guests to come and stay with us. Hotels are one part of someone’s vacation; they’re traveling for the whole experience, and that can go well beyond what hotel you’re in.”
Reflecting on how the digital strategy—both the app and the blog—fits into the company’s overall engagement strategy, Colee said, “We feel this is another way to get Noble House’s identity out there and unify the collection by celebrating each hotel’s uniqueness. All have a common purpose: It’s really for those who are seeking something different, who are willing to take chances. We say this is for more of the adventurous types. They are independent thinkers; they like trying new things. It doesn’t mean they have to go paragliding, but they don’t need a Four Seasons flag to validate their stay or what they’re doing. They like trying something different and new. We try to provide that in all areas—whether it be the type of food we serve or the local partners we provide experiences with.” HB