The Heart of the Florida Keys
Hawks Cay Resort is an island resort destination like few others on earth. The 60-acre property offers inspiring amenities in the heart of the Florida Keys.
With nearly 300, multi-bedroom suites and villas and over 175 rooms, guests enjoy activities that are truly unique to the region. Guests unwind at the saltwater lagoon, take advantage of the full-service marina, dine at one of six restaurants, enjoy chartered fishing excursions, kayak, paddleboard, swim in one of the five pools, or hang out with the dolphins.
The Hawks Cay Resort vision is rooted in offering guests a truly iconic Florida Keys resort experience. From the moment a guest first inquires, the Hawks Cay marketing and reservations staff leverage data and key insights to create a personalized experience for each guest.
“We want to connect with potential guests as if they’re already guests. If they’re booking a return, we know a lot about them. Those insights and preferences enable our team to interact with guests on a more personalized level. We couldn’t do this without NAVIS.” says Reservations Manager April Melendez.
A need for real-time guest data to offer customers exactly what they want and anticipate their future needs
As with the entire travel industry, Hawks Cay was greatly affected by Covid-19. The resort was closed in March and didn’t re-open until mid-July. Even prior to the shutdown, leadership knew they were losing sales. Calls were being abandoned during periods of high call volume and it was difficult to respond to the flood of emails in a timely fashion.
Hawks Cay realized that their communications and sales efforts weren’t as cohesive and effective as they could be. One of the challenges to solving this issue was ensuring they had accurate, easy-to-use data and customer information to meet the needs of their potential customers.
A unique setting, unique offerings, and complex questions
The resort’s unique setting and wide range of offerings also inspire more complex questions than many other resorts encounter. And as Covid restrictions eased in some parts of the world, inbound call volume occasionally spiked when staffing was low. This resulted in longer hold times and higher call abandonment rates.
With the Covid shut down upon them, Hawks Cay realized they needed integrated solutions that could increase the effectiveness of their communications and sales tools, including their website, social media, advertising, email marketing, and call center sales staff. The team determined that it needed to reassess the technology Hawks Cay used to manage inbound calls, optimize email engagement, unify their teams, and covert as much demand as possible.
Using data to improve the internal culture and reach the vision for the company
Hawks Cay needs good data every day to empower their staff and foster their team culture. “They have a hard job and I’m always asking them what they’re seeing and what they’re hearing from prospective guests,” said Melendez. “We catalog every question and answer.
“We needed data to understand how the team could offer exactly what the guests want and anticipate their needs in the future.“– April Melendez, Reservations Manager
“I like to share this with the entire company,” Melendez said. “Because it informs how we can all live up to our vision of providing the perfect union of solitude and convenience for our guests.”
One platform, engineered to streamline information and inform all communications tools
Six years ago, Hawks Cay adopted the NAVIS Marketing Suite email marketing platform. “One of my first initiatives here was transitioning some of the old solutions over to the NAVIS Direct Booking Platform. Really, the beauty of NAVIS is that it’s a partnership solution,” says Hawks Cay Resort’s Director of Marketing, Matt Lawrence.
“NAVIS provides one platform that brings all of our booking transactions together, and offers actionable data, that helps us refine our targeting and messaging in every way possible.”– Matt Lawrence, Director of Marketing
“At the time, we were using a lot of different partners. We’d go back and forth to coordinate the creative with our ad agency and streamline our offers. Now we can pull a list based on an offer or something we see happening in the market and quickly target it geographically, based on an offer, or any other variety of ways. With NAVIS we know what potential guests are considering when they’re considering it, and we can put messaging in front of them that motivates them to act,” says Lawrence.
Deeper customer engagement helps grow sales
“The NAVIS Direct Booking Platform provides tremendous advantages to drive both deeper customer engagements and bookings,” Lawrence noted, “We engage guests with new experiences and educate customers on our offerings as we learn about them during the sales process. For example, we can inform them on how to book ahead if they’re considering a high occupancy time and help them reserve experiences ahead of time to make sure they enjoy the activities they love and reach them with specific messaging and offers we know they’re interested in. It’s a communications tool as much as a sales tool.”
Of course, longer conversations can lead to longer wait times for other callers. So, despite all of their efforts, some calls are still abandoned by customers. “With NAVIS Reservations Sales Suite we’ve been working hard to handle high call volumes. We try to review the abandoned call data every 60 to 90 minutes to see if the customer has actually reached someone rather than simply assuming it’s an unresolved call,” said Melendez. “Those who haven’t spoken to anyone are placed on a callback list and we rotate reps in to call them back. We used to check the data twice a day and learned that people had often already booked elsewhere. Now we are able to reach out quickly and capture bookings before they’re lost.”
It starts by using the software to monitor customer hold times. Melendez then rotates her staff toward calls to avoiding the loss of a customer’s call. It’s a process she calls ‘buffering.’ When she finds a customer who has been on hold over a certain time, she either lets them know someone will be with them shortly and rotates someone toward the call or handles the call herself. Melendez says, “It’s important for customers to be heard. The more we show them they’re important to us, the more we can connect with them, and the more we succeed. The NAVIS solutions are what help enable that deeper customer engagement.”
Actionable data that informs marketing and sales.
NAVIS delivers data to inform all aspects of marketing and sales. “The end metric is obviously revenue generation. But I think what NAVIS offers goes a step further through data mining. Things such as where are the bookings for 1st Quarter coming from. Then inside that, where those exact points of origin are and what the variances are. That helps us understand where to place our digital ad dollars, how to guide our social media, and put it all together all while staying flexible enough to adjust when opportunities arise,” notes Lawrence.
Capitalizing on Existing Demand
Lawrence also offers an example of how they’ve been able to use detailed data to drive more direct bookings.
“Once people have made it to the Hawks Cay booking engine, they can still be reluctant and leave the site without completing the booking.”– Matt Lawrence, Director of Marketing
The NAVIS Shopping Cart Abandonment solution has been highly effective at capturing and re-engaging prospects to book. NAVIS Shopping Cart Abandonment captures prospective guests that abandoned the booking engine. The captured lead data is immediately available for re-marketing through your reservation sales teams or email campaigns. Automated emails are filtered prior to sending to avoid duplication in case the prospect returned to finish the booking prior to any remarketing effort. In most cases, leads will begin generating in as little as five hours and are ready for follow-up in less than an hour.
“The solution also integrates with our call center and lead database. If they have booked with us in the past, agents are able to see key details about them in case the guest needs any additional information,” notes Lawrence.
Real-time data and customer insights enable Hawks Cay to improve customer engagements and increase direct booking revenue.
By actively reviewing NAVIS call data Melendez was able to quickly garner insights to optimize call center performance. Looking through call abandonment data, Melendez learned guests would rather stay on hold longer rather than be sent to voicemail and waiting for a return call. With this insight, Melendez re-redeploys staff. ‘Buffered’ calls are sent to an agent that can speak with prospective guests right when they call and reassure them that someone will be with them shortly. Efforts by her team have led to a decreasing in abandonment rates by over 15% – even as call volumes have increased.
Additional insights and optimizations, and the implementation of conversion tools have also led to increases in direct booking revenue. Lawrence notes, “we attribute over $2,861,635 in booked revenue from NAVIS Engage Email sends.”
“We attribute over $2,861,635 in booked revenue from NAVIS Engage email sends.”– Matt Lawrence, Director of Marketing
Customers who were once lost are now quickly captured and converted.
During the rebrand, Lawrence also integrated the NAVIS Shopping Cart Abandonment solution which quickly began paying dividends. “We implemented Shopping Cart Abandonment in July and it quickly added a $495,245 in additional direct booking revenue,” says Lawrence.
The NAVIS platform gives Hawks Cay specific insights about what customers are looking for to book their vacation. The result? Email content that is personalized and more accurately targeted. The proof is visible in Hawks Cay’s engagement rates. “One of our management’s favorite metrics is our email Open Rate and our Click-Thru-Rate (CTR). We consistently beat the average Open Rate by at least 10%, and the average CTR, by at least 10-15%,” say Lawrence. Between March 2020 and March 2021, Lawrence and his team reported Open Rates as high as 55% and Click-Through Rates nearly 30%. For perspective, NAVIS best practice is a 30% Open Rate and a 10% CTR.
Lawrence has now presented the NAVIS solution to three different management teams during his tenure at Hawks Cay. “We can respond to specific guest questions so accurately and quickly and use the knowledge to motivate guests to book. Our management company is now actively considering bringing NAVIS on with additional properties in the company.”