BTL Baatein with Ravi Rai, Novotel… Powered by VISCOMM

31 Mar,2017

Ravi Rai brings over 15 years of hospitality experience to the Novotel group, spanning operation management, staff development, customer service and P&L management. He has been instrumental in strategising business operations through comprehensive business initiatives. Having worked with various hospitality brands and across hierarchies, he carries a strong hospitality acumen. In this edition of BTL Baatein powered by VISCOMM, we speak with Ravi Rai, General Manager, Novotel Vishakhapatnam…


How important is BTL in the hospitality space? Novotel is a well-known hotel, so why promote in the BTL way?
BTL plays a paramount part in the hospitality sector. Yes, we are a well-known brand and hence it is even more important to ensure consistency in our offerings. When you target a particular fragment of the market, BTL becomes inevitable.


Are there certain types of vehicles that you prefer to employ BTL promotions?
We choose our conduit basis the concerned event, activity or promotion taken up. Relevance becomes the key here. When we are test marketing a product or a service, depending on the target clientele, we may encourage distribution of pamphlets and presence of brochures at various points of sale as well as guest interaction areas. Our dedicated sales team acts as a catalyst in ensuring a speedy reach.


Specifically, how important is BTL to the overall marketing plan at Novotel Vishakhapatnam?
In the hospitality business, the services are extremely personalised. It is of prominence that our esteemed guests are briefed about each and every promotion and ongoing or forthcoming events & activities. Without the guest being informed, our efforts would go futile. Every initiative brought up is with an intention to ensure that the customers are taken care of and their expectations met. We customise our offerings for different business entities so as to suit their needs. BTL adds the required personal touch, without which the concept of hospitality would be hollow.


What is the ratio of ATL to BTL in your promotional plans?
We have incorporated ATL activities as part of our marketing plan. However, I believe that digital communication is the way forth, not to forget that we already are in an age of TTL. The hospitality sector is one where the target will always be niche in its own way and hence, BTL will be carried at its heart.


Do you prefer to do this through BTL agencies directly or via your existing creative/media agency or inhouse?
We do have an agency on-board to assist us in developing some creative pieces of work. I personally believe that our in-house talent is capable enough to take care of the rest. We have a dedicated sales and marketing team which works in tandem to address guest requirements, expectations or grievances. Our promotional assets are carried, displayed and briefed via the enthusiastic team in-house.


In terms of generating results especially from consumers and in B2B, do you find BTL a more sureshot avenue than ATL?
Both play their respective roles. When it comes to B2B, new clientele does work on word-of-mouth, and mass media vehicles help spread awareness. However, many a times, the queries or the interest may not reach us. When the same offering is carried personally, we have noticed the engagement levels are much more satisfactory. When it comes to walk-ins and new customers, ATL helps make up the minds of those who may be in the decision-making phase. But, those who have decided on their loyalty may not move. Our endeavour is to consistently keep coming up with nouvel ideas to mobilise the footfall and ensure repeat clientele.


While sales and salience are good indicators of its success, what are the attributes you look at to measure the success of a BTL campaign?
When it comes to BTL, the outcomes are slightly easy to quantify as compared to ATL activities. The conversion numbers are easily reported by our sales and marketing team in case of direct reach. Also, we can quantify the use of promotional materials such as brochures, pamphlets, flyers, tent cards, etc., which gives us a rough indicator of engagement. We also receive feedback at the shared co-ordinates and are able to get approximations.


There are many organisations that often do new launches almost entirely on BTL aided with an outdoor and/or digital blitz? Your view on this. Given rising media costs, do you see BTL managing on its own, without ATL?
As I have mentioned earlier, we are sailing through TTL. With the coming of the digital age and widespread use of the social media, a digital blitz is inevitable. Simultaneously, OOH plays a major role in top-of-the-mind recall. The customers today are very well read and aware, they do not wish to spare even a minute for something that couldn’t catch their attention in a few seconds. Unlike olden days, a marketing strategy today needs extensive market research and employment of relevant media vehicles to reach out to the TG without consuming too much of their time.


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