Special Offers Scoping Document V1.7
July 16, 2012
1. Overview Special Offers have been shown to be an effective tool for hotels to increase bookings. The purpose of this project is to develop a Special Offers Tool Special Offerthat will allow hotel clients to create and publish Special Offers across various online and other electronic channels so as to increase bookings on those channels, drive increased traffic to the hotelsâ€™ proprietary channels, and/or increase consumer engagement and interaction with the hotels. The Special Offers Tool will be an integral part of the Digital Marketing Manager (DMM) and will interact with each of the Merchandising, Social Media, Mobile, Web Marketing, and Lead Generation Modules of the Digital Marketing System. Initially, the Special Offer Tool will be developed within the existing VScape Media Manager platform. The intent is to design and develop the Special Offer Tool in such a way as to ease the transition to the envisioned Digital Marketing Manager platform, and it may leverage parts of DMM particularly on the back-end. Nonetheless, there will be significant components of the system that will have to be rewritten to enable the same functionality on the new platform. In the interest of delivering to the market sooner, the higher resource cost of this â€œbuild twiceâ€? approach is deemed acceptable.Special Offer
2. Definitions 2.1 Customer: A VFML customer. For this document, all instances that mention Customer are referring to a VBUP Customer. If they are not a VBUP customer, that will be specifically called out. 2.2 User: An end user or consumer that is using the products for their travel research. 2.3 Channel Partner: A 3rd party organization that VFML content is syndicated to. Ex. Travelocity. 2.4 Brand: A trademarked hotel that owns one or multiple chains of hotels. Parent to a Chain. Ex IHG. 2.5 Chain: Owned by a Hotel Brand. There may be multiple chains beneath one brand. 2.6 Manco: Management Company that has been hired by the hotel to manage operations and marketing. A Manco will have multiple properties that it manages. A Manco is also a customer, and may be referred to as a customer at times. 2.7 FC: Future Consideration. Not to be a part of this build but the product should be designed to accommodate it in the near future.
3. User Personas 3.1 Property Owner/Operations Manager: Garth owns his hotel property and manages the day to day operations. He does not have a background in hospitality, but rather decided that he wanted to invest in a hotel and run it. He may have a general manager that runs some of operations; however he is still heavily involved in all decisions and responsibilities. Garth has a lot of things on his plate, running his hotel is a full time job. He runs the hotel, reservations, manages the staff and many other things. VBrochure is a small item on his very long list of things to tend to. He probably learned how to use it while talking 2
to a Customer Success representative, set up his Player once, and has not logged into VScape for months thereafter, unless there is a pertinent change that he needs to tend to. His main focus is securing bookings, he rarely gives a thought to the whole travel shopping experience. Garth is not very tech savvy, nor is he a marketer, he does not even use personal email very often. He just checks the hotel email address for anything he needs to take care of. He wants to keep on top of the latest technological trends that can help him to increase bookings, but has very little time to learn about what he should be doing. Some members of his family help out with the business from time to time, and when he needs tech advice he tends to ask his kids about advice on the appropriate course of action. The main thing Garth struggles with is not always understanding the value of VBrochure. He is very price conscious and tries to spend every dollar wisely. Since he does not get any feedback on the ROI ( return on his investment) in VBrochure he sometimes second guesses himself on the purchase, and wonders; â€œWould I be getting the same number of bookings without VBrochure?â€? 3.2 General Manager: Susie has been hired as the General Manager of her hotel. She is responsible for a great many tasks at the hotel and is always running around trying to ensure that everything is up to standard while running smoothly. Susie is really hard to get a hold of. Because she is so busy, she often has to reschedule and/or cancel her calls with her Customer Success representative, because other things continue to pop up all the time. Time and resources are her biggest constraints, even when she sees the value of a product such as VBrochure, her key concern is having the time to maintain and manage it. Susie is up to speed with technology and tries to use it on a daily basis to make her job more efficient. She has experience in the hospitality industry and has worked at a few hotels prior to her current one. Customer Success generally has an easier time working with Susie because she already understand the industry and therefore does not need as much hand holding throughout the process. Though because she is so busy, she created her first player six months ago, and has yet to take another look at it or update it. What Susie really uses on a daily basis are conversion numbers. She wants to measure the impact of every program that she implements so that she can present the value that she brings to the hotel and to shape her strategies for the next year.
3.3 Manager at a Management Company (Manco) â€“ Ecommerce Director Chase is an Ecommerce Director at a Management Company. He has 15 hotels that he is responsible for. He oversees the day to day operations at the hotels and manages the marketing 3
as well. He is very tech savvy and is up to date on the latest technologies and marketing strategies that can propel his hotels forward. He is knowledgeable about the hospitality industry and does a lot of research on trends in the market. Spending a lot of time on SEO, SEM and PPC is typical for Chase. These are the areas where he can see immediate returns and track progress. Chase is critical and meticulous when evaluating any product because any purchasing decision made affects multiple hotels and is considerably more expensive than customers that only need to purchase VBrochure for one hotel. Due to his knowledge of the industry, Chase is an excellent resource to get information and feedback from. When he has the time, he is open to having a chat, as any improvements made, stand to benefit him at the end of the day as well. Chase places even more emphasis than any other customer group on analytics. He is tech savvy and knows how to pull reports. He wants to be able to slice and dice the data any way that he wants, so he can make his own conclusions about ROI. Although he focuses on â€œlast click attributionâ€? he does understand the total shopping journey for consumers but struggles to articulate this to his bosses. He needs analytics to justify any expenditure on his budget. In some cases Chase purchases VBrochure and then the property uses it. He still needs and has access to the property and its players in VScape. 3.4 Ecommerce Manager at the Brand Janice works for the Hotel Brand or Chain. She acts as a consultant to multiple hotels that are assigned to her. Janice is assigned to the entire Caribbean Region for her brand of hotels. She is a heavy influencer to her hotels and they take her advice and suggestions seriously. She is an expert at ecommerce and is always looking for new ways to grow the business, primarily focusing on PPC and other traffic building activities. Janice wants to make sure that even after a hotel purchases VBrochure on the account of her advice, that she still has access and visibility into how they have set up their player(s) and how the platform is performing for that hotel . Being a sophisticated marketer, she wants to see numbers and help the hotels to optimize their online presence to increase bookings. Once she understands the value of a product, she is a strong evangelist and works hard to convey the benefits to her hotels. She visits her hotels often to keep in touch with how they are doing. With a deep understanding of the shopping journey Janice looks to create stories that provide all the necessary information and visuals to a potential customer to convert them into a booking. Like the other users Janice is very ROI focused. She needs to see hard numbers to justify the continued purchase of any product, and she can use numbers to help propel business.
4. Product Goals To create and provide client hotels an intuitive, simple to understand and use Special Offers creation, publishing and management tool that will: 4.1 Enable hotels to create different types of online Special Offers, including â€œredeemableâ€? Special Offers, Special Offers associated to booking codes, and Special Offers associated with/contingent upon specific consumer actions; 4.2 Enable hotels to publish those Special Offers on various online and other electronic channels, including their own websites, their mobile sites, their Facebook pages, third-party channels (Vnetwork) and eventually other social media channels, , and as part of their lead generation efforts; 4.3 Enable hotels to create visually appealing and engaging Special Offers, including by enabling the use of rich visuals, while ensuring that each Special Offer can be published and displayed in an optimized fashion depending on the medium where it is being viewed (online, mobile, tablet, etc.) through appropriate display technology; 4.4 Provide hotels with a high-level of Special Offers management capability, including when, where, and how a Special Offer is to be published and redeemed; 4.5 Provide VFML with the ability to restrict the publishing of particular types of Special Offers to particular channels; 4.6 Allow hotels and VFML to track various consumer actions relating to Special Offers, including the number of redemptions; 4.7 FC: Eventually, permit VFML to charge hotels on a performance basis for redemptions of Special Offers. 4.8 Allow for integration of the Special Offertion tool with 3rd party Special Offertion software i.e. those Special Offertions created in another tool can be imported into the Special Offertion tool and from that state published and syndicated using through the Digital Marketing Manager. 4.9 4.10 FC: Eventually, Special Offers may be ported to new Digital Marketing Systems for other verticals such as Restaurants, activities and attractions.
5. Special Offer Definition 5.1 Special Offers as New Unique Content Object Type 5
(a). The System will view and treat Special Offers as Unique Media Objects of a new category of media Objects called Special Offers. That is, Special Offers will be akin to other media objects categories such as images, virtual tours and videos. And each individual Special Offer will have a unique object ID, a name/caption, and a thumbnail representation for display in thumbnail galleries etc. The Special Offer will also have specific associated metadata as described below.
5.2 The Special Offers Tool will support the creation, management, publishing and syndication of the following types of Special Offers: (a). Bookable Special Offers. These Special Offers will be associated with a booking Special Offer code set up within the hotel’s (or other applicable) booking engine. They will typically involve offering a consumer a special discounted price or a bonus amenity, upgrade, etc. if a booking is completed using the said Special Offer code. The Special Offer will have a date stamp along with other information such as expiry, unique ID number and conditions. To take advantage of the Special Offer a consumer will either: (i)
Click on a “book now” or similar button which will take them to the hotel booking engine and prepopulate the booking dialogue with the Special Offer code and, if available, the booking date range and number of rooms;
(ii) Go to the hotel booking engine and populate the booking Special Offer code to access the special discounted rate or other benefit. (b). Redeemable Special Offers. These Special Offers will not require an online booking to be made as part of the process in order for a consumer to take advantage of the Special Offer. Rather they will be in the nature of a redeemable coupon. They will typically be associated with offering a consumer who redeems the Special Offer some form of benefit such as free or discounted services and amenities. To redeem a Special Offer, a consumer will be required to either: (i)
Print a paper Special Offer coupon;
(ii) Send to their Email for later printing or presentation as a PDF or (iii) Send to their smartphone or tablet via email In each case, for presentation at the time of hotel check-in or some other time during the hotel stay when the consumer wants to take advantage of the Special Offers (example, free appetizer at the restaurant). (c). FC: Conditional Special Offers. These Special Offers will be conditional on the consumer taking a predefined action to earn the benefits offered under the Special Offer. These actions may include things like “Liking” or “+1” the hotel, checking-in through Foursquare, sharing something through Share-it functionality, uploading UGC content etc. The Conditional Special 6
Offers will be predefined with specific characteristics and requirements. Conditional Special Offers will be developed in later releases of the Special Offers Tool.
6. Special Offer Tool Overview 6.1 Component Parts of Special Offer Tool. At a high level, the Special Offers Tool will consist of the following main component parts: (a). A Special Offer creation Wizard that will allow a hotel to go through a step by step process to create, publish and syndicate a Special Offer. (b). A Special Offers Library which will contain all of a hotelâ€™s Special Offers (active, inactive etc.). The Special Offers Library will actually be a subset of the hotelâ€™s Content Library which will be part of the Digital Marketing Manager. (c). For each Special Offer contained in the library, a set of displays and dialogues allowing the user to see and edit (where permitted) the content of the Special Offer (description, image etc.), various metadata, and behavior characteristics relating to that Special Offer (e.g., permitted distribution channels, restrictions on maximum number of redemptions etc.), etc.. This dialogue will also allow the activation, deactivation, deletion and cloning of a Special Offer. FC: This will actually be part of the Content Management System (CMS) component of the DMM when it is built, and also in the current version. (d). A tracking and reporting tool allowing the user to view various usage and redemption reports for any given or multiple Special Offers. FC: This will be part of our Tracking and Analytics component of the DMM when it is built. There will be two systems for analytics collection. VScape internal tracking and Omniture tracking. Note: There will be no report on how many Special Offers were redeemed. There will be a click through report to show how many Special Offers were clicked on for printing or email. (e). A Special Offer publishing capability (incorporated into the wizard) that will allow the user to select the manner in which a Special Offer (or multiple Special Offers) will be displayed both in terms of (i) media player type (web, mobile, single purpose, FB App etc.) and (ii) in terms of certain Special Offer layout/design elements within that player type (image position, text fonts). This will be part of the VPlayer Publishing Platform. The display layouts will be fixed based on the device type. The initial phase will have pre-defined layouts, one for desktop and one for mobile.
7. Special Offers Metadata Each Special Offer will consist of the following elements and metadata: 7.1 Special Offers-Specific Hotel Defined Metadata Field
Special Offer Name/Short Caption
Mandatory for all Special Offers
Must be unique name for particular hotel. Will be used as caption for any menu system (e.g., caption next to thumbnail in current menu)
Option for Multilingual
Maximum of xx characters. [TBD]
Special Offer Type
Mandatory for all Special Offers
Forces hotel to select among a predefined set of Special Offers Types. In turn this will impact some of the other Special Offers functionality and syndication rules. Special Offer types are as follows: 1. Bookable Special Offer (requires booking code) 2. Redeemable Special Offer 3. Conditional Special Offer (if this is selected then user will have to select the specific predefined sub-type of conditional Special Offer which, in turn will determine additional fields and actions to complete)
Multi-Picklist (pick one or more of the available selections)
Forces hotel to describe nature of benefit offered (allows VFML to better manage Special Offers). Initial Picklist will be as follows:
Discounted/special room rate; Free extra night stay Free wi-fi Free parking Free breakfast Free Room Upgrade Other Free Amenity Discounts at hotel restaurant or Bar Discounts on other amenities and services Other
Note that in later versions we will need to support additional languages which means that each of these will need to be translated into each supported language. Key words
Free form text. Partly automated.
This is intended to provide searchable keywords that will be associated to the Special Offer. Presumably will be used in metatags for SEO purposes and for search functionality. The system should automatically include certain key words, including Hotel name and location, “Special Special Offer”, Special Offer name and benefit type, and any other words we believe are good for SEO. Hotel will also be able to delete or edit automated keywords and add its own set of key words
Provides hotel ability to check off some of the more standard conditions that would be used for Special Offers including: -Cannot be combined with any other Special Offers
Option for Multilingual
Additional Standard Conditions
-Special Offer must be redeemed/printed on or before date of booking -Booking must be completed on hotel website -Must be presented at check-in time Applicable for new bookings only Payment in full is required at time of booking and this is non-refundable. -[others to be determined] Additional Custom conditions
Free form text
Special Offer Code
Option for Multilingual
The hotel will be able to add additional conditions. Additionally, VFML this area with mandatory standard text which may depend on the channel where the Special Offer is displayed.
Mandatory but only for Bookable Special
Offers Booking Engine URL
Mandatory for Bookable Special Offers
Two scenarios: -We have integration in place to allow us to invoke booking engine and pass the special Special Offer code to the booking engine, in which case this field will not be editable/required -we do not have integration, in which case the hotel will need to add the url for their booking engine
Permitted Date Range of Stay (“Stay on/by”)
Date of Stay Black-out Date Range(s)
Offer valid for Stays on Specific Week days
- No restriction
Hotel is required to include the date range for the stay for the Special Offer to be valid
- Fixed Date Range (after x date, before y date)
Fixed date range allows hotels to set a fixed date range (e.g.: for dates of stay between January 1 and March 1) or set a before /after date
Allows a hotel to provide one or more black out dates/date ranges when the Special Offer is not valid (for e.g., Not valid for stay between December 21 and January 3)
M,T, W, Th, Fr, Sat, Sun, Week days only Weekends only (Fr, Sat, Sun nights)
Permitted Date Range for Booking made
Choice between: - No restriction
Fixed date range allows hotels to set a fixed date range (e.g.: for dates of stay between January 1 and March 1) or set a before /after date
- Fixed Date Range
(“Reserve by”) Total Maximum No of redemptions
Choice between: -Number
Hotel is required to include the date range for the booking being made for the Special Offer to be valid.
Optional -default is no maximum
Allows hotel to set the maximum number of redemptions of a Special Offer before the Special Offer is stopped. Can apply to all types of redemptions Allows hotel to set the maximum number of redemptions of a Special Offer during any particular month before the Special Offer is stopped. Can apply to all types of redemption. For these purposes, month is calculated as each 30 day period following the Special Offer activation. May want this to restrict to a number of redemptions per channel which could be different for each channel
-No Maximum Maximum No of redemptions per Month
-Number -No Maximum
-default is no maximum
Display Start Date
Default is activation date
Default is no date
To be implemented in later versions. Will allow hotels to set monthly budget for Special Offers charges where Special Offers are subject to a pay per click cost. Need
-Upon Activation Date -Specific Date Display End Date
Choice between: -No end Date -Specific Date
to set monthly budget on a calendar basis. May want to provide ability to set different budgets for different months or same budget for all months. Publish on (Channel Selector)
Specific channels and or channel groups
Allows hotels to select what channels to publish the Special Offer. Selection wizard needs to permit hotel to select â€œAll Channelsâ€?, or by Channel Types (e.g., Social Media and OTAs), or by individual channels. System will not allow selection of channels that would not permit a particular type of Special Offer (ex., a bookable Special Offer on an OTA or third party site)
Publish on Devices
Multi-Picklist - All Devices
Allows hotel to limit devices on which Special Offer is to be displayed. For later version of Special Offers.
- Online - Mobile - Tablet Other publishing restrictions
Future additional restrictions such as consumer geolocation (within e.g., in North America, or within 50 miles of hotel), date ranges relative to date of booking or date of research (e.g., limit date of stay to dates at least 7 days after today)
Special Offer background
Mandatory (default will be white)
This will be set as part of the Special Offer Creation process
Special Offer Image
Hotel will be required to add an image to the Special Offer. Image can come from hotel or from a library of VFM and hotel/chain standard images. Images will be in one of two permissible aspect ratios: Square or Horizontal (4:3?). Images that are not in required aspect ratios will be center cropped.
Special Offer Thumbnail
Image based on Special Offer Image
Once a Special Offer Image is selected, a thumbnail will be generated
Special Offer Tag line
Free form text (rich text)
This is intended to provide hotels the ability to create a short catchy tag line which will then be displayed in a differentiated way from other Special Offer descriptive text (ex., larger bold font and or as super on visual).
Option for Multilingual
Maximum of xx characters [TBD] Special Offer Description
Free form text. (Rich Text)
Maximum of xx characters [TBD]
Option for Multilingual Booking Button Name
Picklist -Book Now -Check Rates
This is where the hotel will provide a description of the Special Offer including any key terms
Mandatory for Bookable Special Offers
May start with default text then add ability for hotel to choose. Ex: Book No, Check Rates, Check Availability.
-View Availability -Reserve Now Redeem Special Offer Button name
Picklist -Redeem -Redeem Special Offer
Mandatory for Redeemable Special Offers
May start with default text then add ability for hotel to choose.
-Print/Save Share Special Offer Button On/or Off
Turn on or Off
Presumably could be a billable event so need to let hotel choose whether to enable sharing or not.
Share Button URL
Mandatory with default URL Set by System TBD
We will need to determine what exactly will be shared – i.e., a link to the Special Offer on the hotel site or FB page etc. For 3rd party Channels, this will need to be their page?
Various Special Offer Design and Publishing Settings
See Special Offer Design below
7.2 System Defined Metadata Field
Editable/transferable through sharing rights
Other Object Rights Holders
Org and/or User ID(s) with associated rights level
Editable through usage rights management
Date Special Offer Created
Auto generated date
Last edited by
Date Special Offer last edited
Auto generated date
Date Special Offer last Activated
Auto generated date
Special Offer last Activated by
Date Special Offer last Deactivated
Auto generated date
Special Offer deactivated by
Note that where Special Offer has some monthly publishing restriction (e.g., maximum number of redemptions per month or maximum budget per month), when that restriction is reached, the following month the system will automatically reactivate the Special Offer. In that case the system needs to log the User as “System reactivated – new month”)
Note that where Special Offer has some publishing restriction (e.g., maximum number of redemptions), when that restriction is reached, the system will automatically deactivate the Special Offer. In that
case the system needs to log the User as “System deactivated – Maximum redemptions reached”) Date Special Offer Deleted
Auto generated date
Special Offer deleted by
Permitted/not permitted Publishing channels
Specific channels and or channel groups
Automatically determined based on Special Offer type
Note (Deleted would be sent to recycle bin for 30 days before being permanently deleted)
Draft Pending Approval Activated Deactivated Temporarily Deactivated Deleted Archived
CPC by channel
This will be set by VFM and /or the channels. For each hotel and for each channel, the cost per click for a Special Offer redemption (presumably, cost will vary by hotel)
Additional Terms & Conditions Imposed by Hotel Chain
Longer term we may need to consider providing Chains the ability to set additional standard chain terms and conditions for all Special Offers by their hotels. If so these will be appended to the “Additional Terms and conditions generated and displayed by the system within the Special Offer based on the various standard Special Offer restrictions provided by the hotel (date range of stay and./or booking etc.)
Additional Terms & Conditions Imposed by VFM
For Special Offers which are syndicated to third party channels, we will most likely need to be able to append additional standard language based on each channel’s requirements (ex., “This is a hotel Special Offer, TVCTY is not responsible for this Special Offer)
7.3 System Tracked/Reported Events The system will track every view, sharing, and redemption of a Special Offer and, for each of those actions, record the following data: (a). Date/time (b). URL/Channel (c). Redemption type
(d). Consumer IP address Note: More research will have to be done into whether it is legal to track IP. We will have to look further into privacy laws. (e). Consumer Geolocation and other available demographic data (f). For any redemption of a Redeemable Special Offer, a unique identifier for that Special Offer (which will also appear in the Special Offer as redeemed by the consumer) (g). For any redemption of a Redeemable Special Offer where the consumer provided an email address or cell number or other identifiable data, that data 1 (i)
FC: Ability to collect email addresses of users who wish to opt in for Special Offers and email newsletters.
There will to be a database list that the customer will have access to download. There will also have to be opt out functionality for user When entering an email addres the user will have to fill out a captha form
(h). FC: Cost per redemption (based on channel and redemption type) (i). Geographic data on the user.
8. Special Offer Publishing & Display 8.1 Special Offers will be available for Publishing/Display on the following channels: (a). On the hotel’s own website through either (i)
a VPowered Multi-Media Player which will either be imbedded in the page (in vertical or horizontal format) or (ii) invoked as a pop-up (typically in horizontal format); or
(ii) in a stand-alone single purpose Special Offers player/display, likely to be embedded in the hotel website but potentially displayed as a pop-up (will allow hotel to seamlessly publish and manage all Special Offers on its website from the Digital Marketing
Note: need to think about privacy issues here… Can we store the data securely? Whose data will it be? Can we share it with the hotel or others?
Manager); The stand-alone special offer display would be used to display all the special offers a hotel has at any given time (i.2. it would be a multi-Promotion Player); (b). On the hotel’s mobile site either as a: (i)
Special Offer media item within a Special Offers Tab/List within a VFML powered mobile site; or
(ii) VFML Special Offers Mobile Player invoked as a link from the hotel’s own mobile website; (c). On the hotel’s other Social Media channels either: (i)
FC: Through an App or similar implementation (TBD) depending on the channel in question (likely in the form of a an embedded single purpose Special Offers player or within a full multimedia VBrochure-type hotel player);
(ii) Or as a link to a landing page (presumably on the hotel’s website or FB page which, in turn, will display the Special Offer as described in 8.1(a)6.1(a); (d). On a third party web site through any of the following: (i)
Through a pop-up full multimedia player (typically horizontal);
(ii) Through an embedded multimedia player (horizontal or vertical); (iii) Through a pop-up single purpose Special Offers player; (e). On a third party smartphone or tablet site through either: (i)
A tab within the VPowered Smartphone Website and The VPowered Tablet Website;
(ii) Or a standalone single purpose Special Offers player invoked as a link from the hotel’s mobile website. 8.2 Accordingly, the Special Offers Tool will need to support functionality that allows any given Special Offer to be displayed in each of the following formats [Note: designs to be considered/developed for each of these]: (a). As a media item within a Tabegory in our current standard horizontal layout VBrochure player; (b). As a media item within a Tabegory in our current standard vertical layout VBrochure player; (c). As a standalone Single purpose Special Offers player in horizontal layout (that can be used embedded or as a pop-up to display a menu and details for of multiple Special Offers);
(d). As a standalone single purpose Special Offers player in vertical layout typically embedded in the page (on the hotel website or on their FB page) to display a menu and details for of multiple Special Offers; (e). As a media Item accessed from a tabegory in our current standard mobile phone VBrochure player/website; (f). As a standalone mobile phone single purpose Special Offers Player with menu of Special Offers and access to each Special Offer detail (really should be same as 8.2(e)6.2(e)); and 8.3 From a practical perspective, the foregoing display functionality will be achieved by developing templates for Special Offers display for each scenario listed above as part of the VPlayer Publishing Platform. Initially we will develop a single template (i.e., display) for each basic scenario. (a). FC: Later we can develop additional templates that a hotel can select in displaying their Special Offers. The key, however, will be that Special Offers (as media items composed of various pieces) will be architected in such a way as to be displayable under each template, regardless of Special Offer type etc.. 8.4 Additionally, also as part of the VPlayer Publishing Platform which will permit the publishing of Special Offers through different types of players, any Web-based display (whether the on the hotel’s website, social channels, or a third party site) will also either have a sub-version optimized for Tablet display, or a separate, Tablet-specific, player will also be developed. 8.5 Note that for each Special Offer media item layout for one type of medium, there should be a corresponding one for the other types. For ex., one horizontal web player layout template may have an image showing at the top left corner of the item while another may have the image at the bottom left corner. For each of those there may be a corresponding vertical version, a mobile version, etc. Specifically, when selecting a template for a Special Offer display, the user will actually be selecting a set of templates being comprised of a template for each medium/device player. So if you choose Template A with the image at the top left for the web player, you will automatically choose a similar template for the vertical version of the viewer. Etc.
9. Special Offer Content, Layout & Design 9.1 At a high level (subject to ultimate design input) here are the main components of a “Special Offer” and their characteristics/variables: Element
This is the (visual) background of how/on top of which the Special Offer is displayed.
Mandatory -Default will be white
Initially, there should be the following options made available through the Special Offer creation wizard:
Should follow color defined for text/media
Standard backgrounds. The user will be able to select from a
number of preset backgrounds created by VFM through a standard background selector.
background for phase1
Custom backgrounds – the user will be able to create their own background as either: o Plain color and/or with basic visual effects. The user will be provided a basic color palette to choose from together with some basic visual effects (such as shading etc., similar to those offered when doing shapes in Power point) o Image2 also with basic visual effects. Will allow the user to either use an image from their image library or import an image and then, optionally, apply some standard visual effects such and shading and fading. Also where an image is used we need to provide cropping ability to size the image to the aspect ratio of the display area. This would be for a later version.
Image/ Media Element
It is common for a Special Offer to be accompanied by an image (product image).
The Special Offers Tool will initially allow a hotel to add one image to the Special Offer display from either:
If no media is loaded, then layout will change accordingly
Its own image library (which may include standard Special Offer images provided by their Chain [this will require the creation of a new brand asset category called Special Offer Images]); or
A library of VFML provided stock images that would be appropriate for use in a Special Offer (e.g., image of champagne bottle for use in a champagne Feb 14 Special Offer).
In future versions, the hotel will also be able to include instead of a single image, a video, a virtual tour, or a slide show created from multiple images.
VFML image library only for this phase. Could include brand images Image crop: maybe (stretch goal) for phase 1
The position of the Image within the media display will be determined by the default display layout associated with the Player within which the Special Offer is being displayed. The Hotel will also be able to select a left/right and top/Bottom preference in the positioning of the image for those Player Layouts that permit it. The user will also be able to crop the image through an image editor. Special Offer Tag line
This will be the tag line (call to action) for the Special Offer. It will be subject to the character limits set in the tool [TBD].
The user will be able to draft the text in a rich text editor being able to set, font, size (up to some maximum), color, bold, underline, italic. Special Offer Description
Free form text. Subject to character limit [TBD]
Additional terms & Conditions
This will be additional auto-generated series of terms and conditions based on some of the Special Offer limitations set by the hotel when setting up the Special Offer. For example: “Additional Terms & Conditions:
The user will be able to draft the text in a rich text editor being able to set, font, size (up to some maximum), color, bold, underline, italic. Also, will be able to use paragraphs, bullets and indents. Automated
Reserve by: January 30, 2012; Stay between January 1, 2012 and March 1, 2012. Not valid with any other offers. Special Offer must be redeemed/printed on or before date of booking.”
Need to consider whether this is feasible. That is if an image is used as background, what do we do if the layout aspect ratio changes
In addition, VFML may add channel specific terms such as “This Special Offer is offered by the hotel independently of Travelocity. Travelocity assumes no responsibility for this Special Offer” Redeem Special Offer Button
Redeem Special Offer button will only appear for redeemable Special Offers. If consumer clicks on it, a new window or overlay will be launched giving consumers options to redeem (email, send to phone, print)
Special Offer Code
Will only appear for Bookable Special Offers
Only if a hotel has integrated booking engine. Otherwise only a book now or check rates button will appear
Share this Special Offer
Share-it functionality button or link.
9.2 The exact layout and design of each Special Offer (based on the components set forth above), will be determined by the layout template selected by the user. The Special Offer Creation Wizard should contain a preview window that will allow the user to see how the Special Offer looks before finalizing it.
10. Special Offer Creation & Management Wizard 10.1 Until the new DMM is built, the Wizard will be built as an overlay to the current VMM with the view of making it easily portable to the new DMM when it is built. FC: The Special Offers Tool is intended to be part of what is now referred to as the StoryMaker Content Creator component of the Digital Marketing Manager. The StoryMaker Content Creator will include a Special Offers Creation Wizard (Wizard). A link in VMM [Naming and positioning TBD] will launch the Wizard. 10.2 The Wizard will be set up in steps designed to walk a user through the process of creating a new Special Offer. A user will also be able to Edit an existing Special Offer (or clone one and the edit it) using the Wizard process. VFM will also provide a library of preset Special Offers templates for use by a hotel. 10.3 The Steps of the Wizard will be as follows: (a). Step one (i.e., first screen after a user clicks on Launch Special Offer Creation Wizard): (i)
Initial screen will provide user following choices [Wording is indicative only]: “what do you want to do? Select one:
Create a new Special Offer from scratch
Create a new Special Offer by cloning one on my existing Special Offers
Create a new Special Offer by using a standard Special Offer template 18
Edit one of my existing Special Offers
(ii) Depending on the response the user will then be taken to:
In the case of the first choice (new Special Offer from scratch), the 2nd step in the Special Offer creation path as described below;
in the other cases, to either (i) the hotel’s library of Special Offers for selection of one of those Special Offers or (ii) VFML’s library of template Special Offers for selection of one of those Special Offers
(b). The next few steps will provide the user with a series of screens containing all of the metadata fields to be completed (or edited) by the user to create/edit their Special Offers. The following is a depiction of the type of dialogue the user will see (this is intended as a guide only; note that sequence of fields is wrong, actual design and functionality needs to be developed).
(c). The actual fields depicted will actually be based on the fields listed in Section 7.15.1. Some fields will be dependent on other entries. For e.g., if the user selects the Special Offer Type as being â€œRedeemable Special Offerâ€? then the field with the Special Offer Code will be grayed out (ie. Not editable). (d). In general, the sequence of fields to be filled in should be similar to the sequence shown in Section 7.15.1. Namely, the sequence should follow the following categories of fields: (i)
General Special Offer metadata (name, type, keywords etc.)
(ii) Conditions for redemption (dates, maximums etc.) (iii) Publishing date ranges (iv) Syndication channels and devices (v) Main Content and Layout elements of Special Offer (vi) Deployment to Players
10.4 The Main Content and Layout portion of the Wizard should be as some form of wysiwyg set of steps/dialogues that allow the User to “build” the content (background, image, caption, textual description etc.) of the Special Offer while previewing the results in a “preview” pane based on one or two separate standard templates. I.e., ideally the user would complete the input/editing of content would happen on left side of screen with the preview pane displayed on the right side. 10.5 The Main Content and Layout portion of the Wizard should consist of the following steps: (a). Selection of Special Offer background – default background will be white but user will be able to change the background by selecting either: (i)
A Standard/template background. The user will be able to select from a number of preset backgrounds created by VFM through a standard background selector.
(ii) A Custom background – the user will be able to create their own background as either:
Plain color and/or with basic visual effects. The user will be provided a basic color palette to choose from together with some basic visual effects (such as shading etc., similar to those offered when doing shapes in Power point)
[TBC if feasible, for future versions in any event] Image also with basic visual effects. Will allow the user to either use an image from their image library or import an image and then, optionally, apply some standard visual effects such and shading and fading. Also where an image is used we need to provide cropping ability to size the image to the aspect ratio of the display area.
(b). Selection of Special Offer image. User will be able to either: (i)
Upload an image
(ii) Select an image from their own library (iii) Select an image from their Chain Brand assets (iv) FC: Select an image from VFML provided standard Special Offer-related stock image library (c). Editing of Special Offer image (optional). The user will be able to override automatic cropping of image to required aspect ratios (one square one Horizontal). There should be two resulting images – one square and one horizontal (4:3) (d). Select Image positioning and aspect ratio preferences (for display purposes where the selected Player permits the preferences to be applied): (i)
As between left and right (for Horizontal displays) 22
(ii) As between top and bottom (for Vertical Displays) (iii) As between square image and horizontal rectangular (4:3) image (e). Writing of the Special Offer Tag Line (Optional). (i)
Caption will be limited to set number of characters.
(ii) The user will be able to draft the text in a rich text editor being able to set, font, size (up to some maximum), color, bold, underline, italic. [TBD Will also be able to center, right and left justify.] (f). Writing of the Special Offer Description (Mandatory). (i)
Description will be limited to set number of characters.
(ii) The user will be able to draft the text in a rich text editor being able to set, font, size (up to some maximum), color, bold, underline, italic. Also, will be able to use paragraphs, bullets and indents. (g). In later versions, for each of the foregoing text fields, the user will also be able to created alternative language versions of the text. (h). Checking whether user wants to add a “Share Special Offer Button” in the Special Offer and if so, what URL the receiving party will be directed to. (i). Note that Special Offer preview will include the automated “Additional Terms & Condition section” which will be auto populated with all applicable terms and conditions. (i)
Note that depending on the display type, and specifically the amount of space available, the Additional terms and conditions may be partly hidden and accessible by either scrolling down through the Special Offer display or by clicking on a + button or similar (as in an accordion)
(j). Similarly a “Book Now”, “Redeem Special Offer” button will be included in the Special Offer (depending on the type of Special Offer) (i)
Initially we may want to make these buttons by default. Eventually we may give hotels choices as to the language used in the button as well as choice with respect to Font and button color.
(ii) Positioning of the call to action Button will be determined by the Player default Special Offer display /layout. In any event the Button will have to be in a visible (not hidden) position.
10.6 The next step of the wizard will ask the hotel to save the Special Offer in one of the following states: (a). Save and Activate Special Offer; (b). Save but not Activate Special Offer (Special Offer will not be displayed on any channel until activated); 10.7 As a last step in the Wizard, the user will be asked whether they wish to add the Special Offer to any existing Players. If so they will be taken to the Player Creation and editing Wizard and be presented with available Players for editing. Presumably the User will then be able to click on any viewer they want to add the Special Offer and then do so by dragging and dropping it into the wiziwig Player editing tool (part of the VPlayer Publisher).
11. Special Offer Checker/Validation 11.1 The Special Offers Tool will need to include internal checks and validation mechanisms to ensure (or try to ensure) that a hotel does not attempt to distribute and/or that VFM does not distribute non-permitted Special Offers to third party channels. Specifically: (a). For each syndication channel we will need to provide whether: (i)
Special Offers are allowed at all
(ii) If Special Offers are allowed, the types of Special Offers that are so allowed (based on Special Offer Type and Special Offer Benefit type) (iii) FC: To the extent that there is a PPC fee associated, the fee for each Special Offer redemption (actually one for Redeemable Special Offers, and one for Bookable Special Offers (part of Lead Gen)) (b). We will also need a mechanism that will, for any Special Offer which is to be syndicated to third party channels, do a final check before a Special Offer is activated and look for any potential text that may constitute a non-permitted call to action such as a url or a telephone number. In the event of a suspect Special Offer, we should institute workflow which will send the Special Offer for internal VFML review/approval.
12. Special Offer Display 12.1 Special Offers will be displayed in one of the following three scenarios: (a). As a standalone item in a standalone display (Player). This could be where there is only one special Special Offer available. In this scenario this would either be through the Player being launched as a single item pop-up display or as a landing webpage; 24
(b). As one of several Special Offers within a Special Offers only display (i.e., a single purpose – Special Offers – display containing multiple Special Offers). This would be the scenario where the Player is embedded in a hotel webpage under Special Offers or as a FB Special Offers App. In this scenario, the Player will either display all of the Special Offers at once (for e.g., as an expandable accordion display) or will display a navigation menu of available Special Offers within a Player; or (c). As media elements within a tabegory within a multimedia Player (in which case the tabegory will in essence be akin to the single purpose Player contemplated in Section 12.1(b)10.1(b). In this regard, while the hotel will likely want to put the Special Offer in a Tab called Special Special Offers, there is no reason why they cannot included in other tabs (for example a Special Offer relating to free appetizers at their restaurant could easily be included in the Dining tab). 12.2 The manner in which a Special Offer will be displayed within a particular Player will be determined by the settings of that Player. In other words, each Player template will be designed to display Special Offers in a particular manner. 12.3 Generally, this will mean that while the Player will respect the Special Offer background and text formatting (font color size etc.) made by the user, the layout of the individual components of the Special Offer will be determined by the Player. Having said that, this will be subject to the following exceptions: (a). The Player may even override some or all of the content formatting selections made by the hotel when displaying the Special Offer. For example, if space is restricted, it may reduce font size. (b). Conversely, the Player may position the Special Offer Image based on the preference of the hotel (left vs. right, or top vs. bottom)
13. Redemption of Redeemable Special Offers 13.1 Any Redeemable Special Offer will include a “Redeem” or similar button. 13.2 When clicked by the consumer, the button will launch a Redemption dialogue in the Player (most likely as a pop-up overlay. The Dialogue will provide the consumer the following options: (a). Email to self (b). Send to Phone (c). Save to computer. (d). Print 25
13.3 The above options will presumably be accompanied by language that states something like (a). “in order to take advantage of this offer, you must save it by either emailing it to yourself, sending it to your mobile phone, or printing it now and presenting it at the time of checkin or other time of redemption.” 13.4 If the consumer selects email, they will be asked to provide their email address. Note, we will need some form of privacy statement. We will also need a mechanism to verify that email address is in correct format (email@example.com etc.). If the email address is not valid the consumer will get a notification on the page that they have not entered a valid email address. Once consumer provides the address and presses “send”, we will: (a). Generate a coupon-like form in pdf format containing all of the following info/content: (i)
The Special Offer content (including caption, description, entire terms and conditions,);
(ii) A unique Special Offer redemption number/ID (which will be tracked in the System) (iii) The Source of redemption (i.e., what channel it came from (Hotel site, TVCTY, etc.) (iv) The date and time of the redemption (v) FC: Eventually, a QR Code that would take the consumer (or the hotel) to a static online page with all of the same redemption details. (b). Send the pdf coupon to the email address provided. Email address should include a reply link stating “this was sent to me in error”. Also system should track any bounce backs. 13.5 FC: If the consumer selects send to phone, they will be asked to provide their tel number (note, we will need some form of privacy statement and phone format verification). Once they do so and press send, we will follow a very similar process as for email. We will obviously need a mechanism for sending an SMS. 13.6 If the select save or print, we will again generate the pdf coupon and provide a save and print dialogue. 13.7 For each of the foregoing, we will need to ensure accurate tracking of all actions to ensure that we only count redemptions as redemptions if the consumer has completed one of the required methods.
13.8 Lastly, we need to consider privacy and security implications of obtaining the email address or tel. no. of a consumer. Most likely (especially if we charge on a PPC) we will need to keep this info to “validate” to the hotel that a consumer has indeed redeemed the Special Offer. Alternatively we can discard/delete the info at some point in time.We will validate the user using a Captcha.
13.9 Once the process of redeeming the Special Offer is completed, there should be some final thank you dialogue. If the redemption was by email and phone, tell them they should receive it momentarily and if not to redeem again. Also remind them to have a copy of the coupon at checkin time.
14. Redemption of Bookable Special Offers 14.1 Bookable Special Offers require a booking to be made with a special Special Offer code. As such they will be “redeemed” by clicking on the Boo Now (or similar button) and then going through the booing process. 14.2 In this regard, there will be two main scenarios: (a). Where we have direct integration with the hotel’s booking engine AND are able to populate the booking engine’s Special Offer code field; and (b). Where we do not. 14.3 If we do not, then when the consumer clicks on the book now button we will open a new window based on the URL address provided by the hotel for that booking engine page. In such case we should make sure that the terms and conditions include language that reminds the consumer that they need to book on the hotel site and insert the Special Offer code.
14.4 If we do have integration and ability to pass the Special Offer code info; we should consider supporting two alternative ways of directing the consumer to the booking page: (a). The first way would simply open the booking page as per Section 14.312.3 but including (populating the booking Special Offer code); (b). The second way would take the consumer to a full booking widget dialogue which would be pre-populated with the booking Special Offer code but would require the consumer to fill in the dates of stay and the number of rooms required. They would then be able to click check availability button or similar and then be sent to the availability results page. The one advantage for this method would be in the context of a PPC model where we charge based on the number of room nights per booking. 14.5 One thing we should consider is whether there is anything we should/can do to avert or deal with scenarios where the hotel has input an incorrect Special Offer code or forgotten to properly set it up in their CRS so the consumer is unable to complete the booking as desired.
15. Management of Existing Special Offers 15.1 Existing Special Offers will be stored in the CMS’s Content Library as “Special Offers”. Until we have replaced the Current VMM interface, Special Offers will be found as they currently are in the 27
Special Offer Accordion Folder of the Media Section of the Middle Pane. There they will be displayed as thumbnails with a name as other media items are. 15.2 Once the Digital Marketing Manager is built, all content will reside in the CMS’ Content Library and will be accessible through key word searches or through filters. A User will be able to view all Special Offers by accessing the Content Library and selecting “Special Offers” as the type of media to be displayed. 15.3 [TBC] The display of Special Offers (like other media items) will consist of two panes (similar to the current VMM). The first Pane will include a list view or thumbnail gallery of all available Special Offers, together with some associated metadata. The second Pane will provide various information and metadata about a particular Special Offer which has been highlighted. FC: The following is for illustration purposes and will be modified as the new DMM is designed:
15.4 In the Details area, the User will be able to view the following attributes of any given Special Offer: (a). Details - Basic metadata, including Name, Description, Content Basic System Metadata, etc. (b). Settings & Conditions – Publishing Settings and Conditions of Special Offer. For example (for illustration purposes):
(c). Syndication â€“ Where the content is distributed to. For example (for illustration purposes)
(d). Used in â€“ allows user to see where the Special Offer is actually used in (i.e., what Players and what Channels); and
(e). Reports - i.e., analytics, including basic stats about number of views, redemptions etc.. This will really be a part of the Analytics package that will be accessible with respect to this particular Special Offer right from the details pane about the Special Offer. 15.5 In each of the foregoing, the dialogue will allow the user (provided they have the requisite permissions) to view and edit/change those metadata fields that are editable. Some fields will be editable in line by double clicking on an edit icon (typically for text (non-rich), date, checkbox and similar fields). For other metadata, including rich text, image, and the channels to which a Special Offer is to be syndicated, a different type of editing mechanism will be required â€“ presumably some form of pop-up dialogue that allows the user to make the desired changes. 15.6 Note that one of the elements on the DMS/Content Library, will be the ability for a user to Activate a Deactivated Special Offer and vice versa: (a). If the user deactivates a Special Offer, then that Special Offer will automatically cease to be shown in any Player that contains it. Note however that the Special Offer will not be removed from any Player where it is contained unless it is deleted. If it is deactivated only, the Special Offer will still be in the Player but will not be shown until and unless it is later reactivated. This should be a principle for all Media items. (b). Similarly, if a Deactivated Special Offer is reactivated, to the extent it was previously included in any Player and not removed from it, it will automatically start being displayed in the Player from the time of reactivation.
16. Publishing of Existing Special Offers 16.1 The publishing of existing Special Offers will actually occur through the VPlayer Publisher tool. The VPlayer Publisher will include functionality that will allow a user to either: (a). Create a new Player form one of the available templates; or (b). Edit an existing Player. FC: The publishing of Special Offers will be a part of the functionality of DMM. 16.2 In the instance of the creation of a new Player, as part of the workflow, the user will be able to add various individual Media Objects (including a Special Offer) or preexisting groupings of Media Objects (Note: a Tabegory containing multiple Media Objects is, in essence, a grouping of Media Objects) from the Content Library to the Player either: (a). Directly into the Player, in the case of a Single Purpose (i.e., no Tabegory level of navigation); (b). Or in one of the Tabegories within the Player, in the case of a multi-Tabegory Player.
16.3 In the instance of the editing of an existing Player, the user will be able to select the Player they wish to edit and as part of the editing process be able to: (a). Add content from the Content Library to that Player in the same manner as in Section 16.214.2; (b). Delete (remove) the Media Item from that Player/Player Tabegory; or (c). Move/re-sequence a particular Media Item within the Player or within one of the Playerâ€™s Tabegories. 16.4 Obviously the foregoing will apply to any type of Media Object (or group of objects), including Special Offers.
17. Automated Notifications 17.1 We should consider what automated notification we should build into the system. Specifically, we should definitely give the User the ability to request to be notified about a Special Offer having reached a maximum allowed number of redemptions.
18. User Permissions and Approval Workflow 18.1 We will need to modify User permission and roles settings to include a specific category relating to the right to create/approve/manage/ Permissions. Since Special Offers may entail liability (costs to the hotel if not done properly), we need to ensure additional safeguards. Specifically, Special Offers should be subject to approval workflow. We may also consider (at least initially) workflow for VFML internal review/approval of new Special Offers created.
19. Acces/Use of Special Special Offers Tool 19.1 For the reasons mentioned in Section 18.116.1, we will require that any person accessing Special Offers (whether to create or modify them), agree to special terms and conditions. We will need to track when the person so agreed so we can force them to agree again whenever we change those.
20. PPC Tracking, Reporting & Invoicing 20.1 Initially, Special Offers functionality will be provided as part of the current product offering without additional charge. However, it is the intent that they may be later offered on a PPC basis. As such we will need to start thinking about building mechanisms to provide billing reports and invoicing client hotels for redemptions of their Special Offers. Part of this will likely also involve reporting and paying revenue shares to our syndication channels. So that too will need to be contemplated for future versions of the tool. 31
21. Future Considerations 21.1 Developing a library of stock images that customers have access too and can purchase.
22. Assumptions 22.1 This product will be available to VBUP customers only. Booking parameters are passed only for the brands or representation company that connect with our system. Bringing on additional brands requires the cooperation of the brand or representation company. Current brands that connect with the VFML system are: Hilton, IHG, Marriott and Best Western. Refer to the document: FB â€“ API Enabled Chains 20120531 for a full list of hotels that have been integrated. There will be a separate initiative headed up by Amaresh and his team to engage and connect with the booking engine representation companies, such as Sabre Hospitality Solutions, SynXis CRS, Genaraes gBooker etcâ€Ś