Personalized, Data-Driven SmartVideos Can Enhance Guest Experiences

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL—If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a thousand pictures. It’s a digital world and our screens captivate us, increasingly driving video to become a primary means to communicate with hyper-connected travelers. SundaySky is harnessing the power of this visual medium to produce SmartVideos, information-rich, dynamic, personalized videos for clients such as Atlantis, Paradise Island, in order to increase revenue per booking, foster engagement and enhance the guest experience.

“Video is a great storyteller. It gives you the ability to use sight, sound and motion to communicate a concept that is more difficult to do in spoken or written form,” said Jim Dicso, president, SundaySky, based here. “We are a software service company that provides a platform that allows our customers to enable data-driven, personalized storytelling using video. Our platform injects structured data, it runs against pre-designed content and narration, and pulls scenes from a library into a video so each person who watches a SmartVideo receives one that is personalized to them.”

The actual video doesn’t exist until the viewer clicks ‘play,’ Dicso noted. It works like this: SundaySky’s software pulls a data feed from the client’s database and decides which scenes are included for the viewer and then streams it. While the viewer is watching the clip, the remainder of the video is being rendered so that it’s complete ahead of the next scene.

Clients such as Atlantis, Paradise Island, AT&T and CitiBank seek out SundaySky’s services to accomplish strategic initiatives, such as retaining or gaining customers or getting customers to adopt self-service tools, according to Dicso.

“Companies contract with us to achieve a variety of goals: to increase topline revenue or revenue per booking; reduce costs out of service; reduce churns to avoid cancellations before a service is used; and to avoid a churn event after a service is used,” said Dicso.

For Atlantis, the company focused on helping the resort build anticipation and engagement with guests before arriving on the property by improving the pre-arrival experience. SundaySky delivered a multi-pronged approach that included customized video tools based on the customer’s profile—name, booking details, family or couple—to help guests become better informed and prepare to make the most of their stay at this massive resort, which includes a 14-acre marine habitat, 141-acre waterpark, 18-hole golf course and 30,000-sq.-ft. spa.

“If you go to Atlantis, there’s more stuff to do than time to do it. One of the frustrations often highlighted by guests is that they didn’t know they had all of these options they could’ve taken advantage of,” Dicso said. “By proactively explaining the app for managing the on-site experience and how the website has a host of different ways to learn about the resort, they’re trying to drive engagement to maximize use of the experience.”

For Atlantis, it’s all about the guest experience and that’s the main driver of repeat visits, referrals and advocacy, according to Adam Darnell, executive director of CRM, Atlantis, Paradise Island.

“It’s a vacation experience, so it’s hard to convey the property and the experience in words alone. We do that with photography and it’s fantastic, but there’s nothing that brings it to life more than video,” he said “We’re in the stage of the lifecycle where we can we plug in, interact with guests and add value by providing relevant information and content based on what we know about the guest.

The content for Atlantis’ customized videos can be segmented based on the resort’s CRM focus in the pre-arrival phase. For example, the resort may wish to accomplish specific objectives in terms of pre-arrival such as encouraging guests to book activities and dining in advance. At a property of this size, it’s easy for restaurants or special excursions to get booked quickly or a popular timeslot may not be available for last-minute requests.

“It’s beneficial for the guest. We wanted to address the pain points and give them as much information as possible in their booking window and drive guest satisfaction, so they have a better experience on the property,” said Darnell. “We have 20-something restaurants and there are celebrity chef restaurants travelers want to experience, but those are popular and reservations are required. If you don’t plan in advance, they could be full before you get there.”

SundaySky’s SmartVideos were integrated into Atlantis’ existing email-based, pre-arrival lifecycle, from reservation confirmation to check-in, and travelers received emails featuring the videos at three different points leading up to their arrival—seven days after booking; 14 days and seven days prior to arrival.

Based on a control group methodology, the resort improved upon its open rates and increased its click rates by 134% and the higher engagement within the email lifted the number of website visits by 129%, according to a case study.

“We’re impressed with their creativity and their approach of not trying to just sell us stuff. They really are true to that. It’s all about where does it make sense, let’s understand your business and how is it different from a national hotel chain… we spent a lot of time on that in the beginning,” said Darnell. “They’re here now trying to determine based on the data we collected in acquisition, how we can improve that. They’re good partners in that perspective.”

—Corris Little