Can you give us a taste of your presentation at JUMP?

Everything starts with a purpose and ambition, the purpose leads to a journey and along that journey you learn to master the art of storytelling. 

My presentation shares the ups and downs of the journey Best Western are on.

Why is customer experience seen as more important in the digital age?

I don’t think it is more important in the digital age.

It has always been important but with the advent of reviews and social media we can measure the impact of both positive and negative customer experiences and therefore it becomes higher up the agenda on the board table.

What elements make up the customer experience?

In the hotel industry, in fact in any service industry customer experience consists of so many elements.

Whilst the Jump conference focuses on digital and technology you can’t forget the most important element in customer experience – great people sharing a common purpose.

What is the best starting point for businesses seeking to evaluate their overall customer experience? 

You must begin with the customer and the data.

At Best Western we have post stay surveys that have provided years of data about the experience, our first task was to analysis this data to determine what are the key elements in driving a customer’s intent to recommend.

Talk to people who have done it before. We have been working with a world leading expert in Smith+Co. Experience counts for a lot.

Is mobile a particular challenge in terms of customer experience? How do you adopt the booking process for mobile users?

I don’t see mobile as a challenge but more as an opportunity. An opportunity to deliver a deeper and richer customer experience. Sure there are challenges when it come to technology, integration, platforms, cost and keeping up with the pace of it

How is Best Western using storytelling in its marketing?

At the very centre of our marketing activity is storytelling.

The great thing about Best Western is that as a group of 280 independent and individual hotels each has a unique and very authentic story to tell, from the oldest hotel in Europe, to a place where Charles Dickens wrote for days, many ghost stories, hotels that make their own chocolates and honey to a hotel where you can go wild water swimming with the head chef.

These are the stories that differentiate our brand from the bland and the ordinary.

What are the most successful digital channels for Best Western?

Like many, the channels that deliver revenue are email, search, display, affiliates – but we also want to tell our stories and build brand preference and so our content is developing fast with You Tube and social playing a great role.

What are the particular challenges for your brand on digital channels?

It’s a big question, overall I think the biggest challenge is constantly being agile.

Like many organisations we have systems and resource challenges that mean it can take too long to get to market, so we are in the process of changing much of this now.