How to seamlessly switch your service from Parse to OtherLevels

By Thomas Clayson

We heard the news that Parse will be shutting their service down on January 28, 2017.

For all current customers of Parse this is bound to be a stressful time. However, changing your provider doesn’t have to be difficult, and shouldn’t take time and resource that you don’t have.

Switching to OtherLevels is completely pain-free using our Parse wrapper SDK, which slots right in where your current Parse SDK sits and seamlessly switches you over to OtherLevels’ platform instead.

This means that there is no redevelopment or reintegration required. Just switch to the OtherLevels’ SDK and you’re ready to go.

We will even help you to migrate your data over to the OtherLevels platform meaning there will be absolutely zero downtime.

OtherLevels is the logical next step for those of you who are looking to get more return from your digital marketing. Our enterprise-level platform allows you to intelligently segment users and directly target 100% of your digital users through one of our messaging types:

Other Levels Opt Ins

For more information on OtherLevels, the products we offer and getting on board contact us here.

Filed Under: Tags: , , , , With: digital marketing, In the News, Marketing Techniques, Mobile Marketing, Otherlevels, Uncategorized

Plenty of Challenges & Opportunities Await Marketers in 2016

By Brendan O'Kane

The close of one year is a perfect vantage point for looking ahead to the next.

Marketers who are looking into the 2016 crystal ball know that key challenges await. Overcoming those challenges and turning them into successful marketing campaigns will require the right information, strategies and technologies – collectively poised for the omnichannel environment in which today’s consumers, travelers and app users now navigate, interact and transact.

A few thoughts on what’s ahead in 2016 for marketers:

Understand your consumers: Plenty of data is available to marketers, but it’s valuable only if used correctly. Underlying all successful campaigns is the ability to understand users across all platforms and channels of engagement. Without a firm user identity, tactics like personalization and optimum-channel messages simply aren’t possible.

Be where your customers are: Today’s shoppers, brand advocates, customers and app users are everywhere – online, offline, on smartphones, using wearables and active with apps. Sound marketing needs to be conducted on all those channels, and outreach must be informed by data that cues marketers about who and where customers are, which channel(s) they prefer, when they are most receptive to marketers’ communications, and when.

Good marketing, and effective mobile marketing, take time: Not all customers agree to opt in or sign up immediately. Some prefer email over texts, some prefer desktops to smartphones, and some have shifted almost exclusively to the mobile web apps. Some shop online and buy in stores, some do the opposite. Understand them all. Give them time, engage with them in the channel they prefer, and communicate in ways that build trust. Over time, follow customers to other channels as they expand and deepen their engagement and activity.

Measure, track, and measure: The best marketing campaigns are built on metrics around what works. If marketers aren’t tracking outcomes, they’re already lacking critical data that can help inform such critical strategies as personalization, omnichannel marketing, ideal communication formats and optimum messaging.

Marketing in today’s complicated, always-on, multiple-channel environment can be challenging…and incredibly successful.

Marketers should understand that experts with the data, tools, platform and advice they need are ready to help them get where they need to go.

Happy New Year…here’s to an incredibly successful 2016!

Filed Under: Tags: , , , , With: digital marketing, Engagement, Marketing Techniques, Mobile Marketing, Personalization

Armed with Robust Data and Better Bandwidth, Hotels are Poised for 2016 Success with Intelligent Digital Marketing Strategies

By Brendan O'Kane

Experts often tout the important role played by mobile devices in the travel sector, and among all the sub-sectors involved, hotels are most active.

According to travel data firm Adara, 80% of all mobile travel bookings are for hotel stays, and with online activity now shifting away from desktops and laptops to mobile devices, it’s imperative for hotels to deploy mobile apps to meet their customers with information, deals, offers and the chance to book while they’re searching. Last week’s blog post looked at app possibilities for hotels, and this week’s examines growth potential for mobile apps in 2016.

A summary look at mobile apps in Hotel Executive notes that mobile travel sales were expected to increase 60% in 2015 to $26 billion. And according to an executive quoted in HotelNewsNow, 30% of guests at Royal Hotel Investments properties now use mobile apps during their stays, up from 5% in 2014.

Furthering the popularity of hotel mobile apps is this tidbit, from the Huffington Post and other sources: 89% of the time spent by today’s consumers with mobile media is on apps.

The shift toward mobility makes it easier for guests to interact with hotels, whether they’re searching and booking or enjoying the property throughout their stay. Here’s what the hospitality industry might see in 2016 on the mobile front:

More apps: More hotels will get on board, especially as marketers become more familiar with the payoffs of combining data with intelligent messaging strategies. Because many hotels have active rewards and loyalty programs, they also have a lot of data to work from. By combining data from guests’ reservations, rewards, social media activity and app downloads, hotels can target and deliver the most relevant content at the right time on the optimum channel, regardless of how guests interact or reach out (desktop, social, mobile, online, email).

Better apps, such as concierge apps that function the mobile equivalent of the helpful person stationed in the lobby. As guests rely more on mobile apps to discover and use hotel services, a mobile concierge app can show the way, offer incentives and be available 24/7 with helpful information and friendly service. Apps can also help promote specialty services, including food, drink, dining, entertainment and spa services.

More bandwidth at hotel properties, including faster, more secure Wi-Fi connections in order to accommodate all the increased mobile activity. Hotels now understand that their guests are online 24/7, via smartphones, laptops, tablets, and wearables, etc. This boost in bandwidth also comes at a time when hotels are finally phasing out the practice of charging for Internet connectivity. According to S. News Travel, only 11% of hotels now charge for Internet access, down from 23% in 2012.

Hotels are similar to other businesses whose customers and customer activities are migrating from in-person and online channels to the mobile environment. The good news is that many hotels are armed with robust data that can make their digital/mobile marketing strategies successful, especially if they build their initiatives on relevant, timely content that reaches guests across multiple channels throughout the journey.

Filed Under: Tags: , , , , With: digital marketing, Engagement, Hospitality, Marketing Techniques, Mobile Marketing

Gaming and Entertainment Are Fueling the Continued Growth of Mobile Broadband and App Usage

By Brendan O'Kane

One thing is clear as 2015 rapidly moves closer and closer to 2016: the transformation toward the mobile environment is not slowing down any time soon.

Based on the vast growth of mobile technologies and activities, it’s also clear that marketers who have not kept pace with the tremendous growth in the mobile web, mobile app usage and mobile activities are in for a challenge.

The mobile evolution, in fact, has taken root so quickly that it is already presenting challenges to different regions, markets and purposes, depending on the depth of adoption and sophistication of the mobile infrastructure.

Some parts of the world are still catching up, while others are considered to be mobile-mature as they find new ways to keep excitement, usage and engagement with customers, users and consumers high.

To help prepare for the coming year, here are a few eye-opening stats and findings about the state of the mobile marketplace and predictions about its near-term future.

Nielsen: App Engagement up 63% in two years, with iGaming strong

A two-year analysis by Nielsen finds that from 2012-2014, mobile app users spent 37 hours and 28 minutes with apps, up from 23 hours and 2 minutes in 2012. That’s’ a 63% increase in app usage, with women spending slightly more time with apps than men. Also of interest: 70% of total usage comes from the top 200 apps – a finding that reinforces the need for marketers and developers to create truly compelling mobile apps.

A key factor in the growth of app usage? iGaming. Within the “entertainment” category and its 13% year-over-year increase in unique audience since late 2014, 76% of users played at least one game in Q4 2014, and monthly time spent on gaming increased as well.

ComScore and Go-Globe: Reinforcing the Digital Evolution

According to ComScore’s 2015 U.S. Mobile App Report, 62% of time spent on digital media involves smartphones and tablets (not desktops/laptops), and 54% of the activity involves mobile apps.

An infographic from Go-Globe, featuring data from numerous sources, includes several key “aha” mobile moments. In line with ComScore’s data, mobile apps now account for 52% of time spent on digital media – a 21% increase from 2014-2015. Smartphone users spend 89% of their time on mobile apps, and 2017 revenue from mobile apps is estimated to reach $77 billion. Among activities, 43% of mobile app time is spent on games (growing at 22%), followed by social networking (26%), entertainment (10%) and utilities (10%). Between app users, 85% prefer native mobile apps – those designed specifically for mobile devices – over websites that have been optimized for mobile navigation.

Mobile-Broadband Grows, But The Divide Remains

According to analysis from the ITU/Unesco Broadband Commission on Digital Development, 1 billion users worldwide have accessed mobile broadband services in just five years, with an estimated 3.7-5 billion people now considered unique mobile subscribers around the world – a number predicted to nearly double by 2020. This year, Unesco predicts that 121 countries worldwide will have 100% mobile cellular penetration. And while 43% of the world’s population can now access the Internet, Unesco points out that 57% cannot – a divide that creates difficult challenges for marketers. Some markets are vastly untapped, while others are reaching maturity and need new strategies, initiatives and ideas to keep consumer/user engagement high, relevant and profitable.

Filed Under: Tags: , , , With: Engagement, Games, Gaming Intelligence, Marketing Techniques, Personalization

Greetings, Hotel Guest. Meet our Concierge in Person…or Try Our Helpful Mobile App

By Brendan O'Kane

Hotels that are interested in delivering truly personal service to their guests have two assets to deploy in today’s mobile-enabled marketplace:

Friendly, well-trained employees, typically represented by an on-to-of-things concierge, always eager to help near the front desk

A mobile app that can be just as friendly and welcoming – and that rarely leaves the guest’s side.

The staff and concierge, of course, serve as the human faces of the company –greeters, helpers and informational resources for guests about nearby restaurants, entertainment, public transportation, child-care services, directions and more.

And a hotel’s mobile app can do many of the same things, but with one unique advantage: it can leverage readily available data about each guest, and be ready to communicate in real time with timely offers, helpful services and tips/reminders throughout the guest’s stay, anywhere on the property.

Hotel marketers who have not yet invested in a mobile app should seriously consider it for 2016’s to-do list, because today’s mobile-enabled travelers increasingly expect to find an app waiting, according to Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research. They’re most interested in room-ready notifications and room upgrade features, the ability to request amenities, and mobile access to hotel services.

At some hotels, apps enable guests to bypass the front desk altogether for check-in and checkout. Apps can serve as room-entry keys, room service (or poolside) order takers, and customer service survey platforms.

Hotel apps can tap into readily available information about each particular guest to deliver specifically tailored messages and offers. Information that fuels content can be based on a variety of data points:

Customer records and previous stays, including typical length of stay, room/bed preferences and likelihood of purchasing in-room food/beverages

Loyalty data, including current rewards status and proximity to the next level (which can trigger incentives designed to encourage movement to the next rewards level)

Geolocation data, based on where a particular guest is at any time. A poolside guest, for example, can receive a different mobile message or offer than a guest in the business center or a conference room. Likewise, a first-time guest who’s downloaded the app can receive a mobile invitation to a special at the bar or restaurant, while a long-time loyal guest can receive an even more personalized promotion on a favorite drink or menu item

Other known preferences, behaviors, special requests and spending activities.

Hotels’ mobile apps can keep real-time communications with guests interesting, relevant and unexpected, and messages can be delivered in a variety of formats: texts, in-app alerts, icons and rich inbox messages that are delivered within the app itself.

Few guests would want an employee trailing them 24/7 around the hotel, but a mobile app can provide the same kind of personalized service – always at the ready when a guest needs it.

Filed Under: Tags: , , , With: digital marketing, Engagement, Mobile Marketing