LONDON: Hilton Hotels is grabbing the opportunities offered by new technology to deliver faster and more controlled interactions between the brand and customers, according to a leading executive.

At the MMA Forum in London, Geraldine Calpin, CMO of Hilton Worldwide, described this approach as "speed dating" – with short attention spans and the goal of building a relationship.

The hotels business has been one of the sectors that has experienced most disruption from technology, not least the rise of Airbnb.

One consequence for marketers has been an enforced rethink of how they address their customers as the old methods are consigned to the dustbin.

"Grouping people together as millennials, or by socio-economic group is crass," Calpin stated. "With technology and mobile you can talk to every one of your customers individually and personally."

"It's about having a relationship with customers as individuals ... customer segments don't exist anymore," she explained. (For more, including how Hilton successfully redesigned its app, read Warc's exclusive report: How Hilton Hotels builds relationships to beat industry disruptors.)

The key to that one-on-one relationship, she added, is not what a brand says or does but how it makes the person feel.

"It all starts with dreaming," said Calpin. "What we've done is look at our customer journey, which goes from dream to advocate."

And having identified the key points in the journey, the focus of Hilton marketers then becomes to ponder what they want to make customers feel at all of those points. And from there, how Hilton can use mobile and technology to achieve those feelings.

Calpin then applies three filters to assess the ideas the team throws up, the first of which is impact – "What is going to impact most of our guests? For example, check in – 100% of guests go through that".

Value is also considered: "What is going to be most valued by our customers if we were to deliver it – no gimmicks."

And then there is what Calpin described as "added sparkle … what will make them go 'ahh, that's good'."

Data sourced from Warc