What is a Digital Asset Management System and What Can it Do for Your Hotel Chain?
Before we jump in to what a Digital Asset Management System is and what it can do for your hotel group, it’s important to first understand the concept of digital asset management and why doing it right is becoming more and more critical.
What is Digital Asset Management?
Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a discipline to organize, categorize, search, retrieve archive and share digital files, such as images, documents, creative files, audio and video clips. We call these digital files “assets” because they’re valuable resources due to the fact that significant time, money and effort has likely been invested in creating them. The value of these assets can only be truly realized when they are accessible by everyone who needs them, when they need them.
Many companies haven’t yet developed effective strategies, or invested in the right solutions to efficiently manage and harness the true power of their digital marketing content. In fact, a 2015 survey of 1,000 executives from 17 countries and 14 industries by Accenture Interactive revealed that:
- 50% of companies have more digital content than they can effectively manage
- 53% spend more time on operational details of managing content
- 80% predict that two years from now they will spend more time on operational details than they do today
- Less than 1 in 5 marketing leaders thinks they manage content well
With the size of the digital universe doubling every two years, and consequently, the exponential growth in the number of digital assets and media files companies have, digital asset management isn’t going to be getting any easier – not without an efficient system.
What are the benefits of a Digital Asset Management System?
Companies that don’t have a system to centralize, organize and make use of the flood of digital content, are losing time, money and ultimately, opportunities.
For example, when files cannot be located, costs go into recreating or repurchasing them. Even worse, some files can be lost forever if not properly archived. To add to the chaos, many files never find their way off a local computer or file sharing platform, or are scattered across various social channels, and never added to the asset library.
In this scenario, the company isn’t getting full value from the digital marketing content that they’ve invested time and money into producing because it’s not centralized, and therefore, not being published anywhere or seen by potential customers.
Implementing a software solution called a Digital Asset Management System can alleviate unnecessary frustration and save countless hours and dollars by acting as a central repository that makes it quick and easy to upload, catalog, manage and distribute a large collection of valuable digital assets. It simplifies the management of your digital assets so that you can maximize their value.
What problems does a DAM like VScape solve for hotel groups?
In today’s multi-channel, complex travel shopping world, hotel groups are meeting travel shopper demands for better, always-fresh user experiences with digital media content. This digital media content has become the lifeblood of global competitiveness in the travel industry. As hotel digital marketing continues to become much more dependent on visual content, you have increasing amounts of high-resolution digital assets for your hotels in the hundreds and thousands (depending on the size of your hotel chain). Regardless, you need help to manage all of these digital marketing assets.
One of the most significant pain points that many hotel groups we speak to about digital asset management is the fact that uploading and managing images in multiple systems is costly for a number of reasons, including:
- Human capital and overhead
- Errors due to systems being out of synch
- Paying for multiple systems and licenses
The right solution is a cloud-based enterprise-level DAM that acts as a central repository and enables you to easily store, process and access these assets.
What sets leading DAMs apart from the rest?
There are a number of vendors offering DAM solutions today, yet many vendors just offer basic, static repositories with little more functionality than file sharing platforms or network drives. The true leaders in the DAM space offer solutions that help drive omni-channel experiences across the customer lifecycle and help drive greater marketing agility.
According to Forrester Research, DAM solutions must support:
- Automation of management of global and local versions of content
- Various renditions of content across channels
- Integration with key systems of engagement
- Greater business process management
- Automation for key content management tasks
- Integration with a greater enterprise marketing technology ecosystem[i]
If you’re familiar with Leonardo and VScape, it’s more than likely that image distribution is the first thing that comes to your mind. And yes, distributing hotel media to the largest global network of travel websites is a big part of what we do, but it’s just one of the many capabilities that VScape offers hotel groups. VScape is a complete could-based DAM that more than 150 hotel groups globally are using to organize, categorize, search, retrieve, share and archive digital assets.
Digital Asset Management with VScape
VScape is an effective Digital Asset Management System designed specifically for the needs of the hotel industry, making working with your hotel digital assets easy and efficient for any user, no technical expertise or specialised training required. Tasks like organizing, adding metadata, searching, and sharing are simplified and streamlined.
A visually-driven workspace called VScape Media Manager (the VScape DAM’s user interface) makes it easy to view and locate files. Configure your workspace to view assets and associated metadata in ways that best suit your workflow. By property, recently added, campaign or brand assets, for example. Having files organized in a coherent and understandable manner will make for an efficient workflow.
Previews of media are handy because they can save you time as you don’t need to download a file to view it. Previews are especially important if you are working with extremely large files, such as videos and TIFF files that can take a few minutes to download.
Easy Upload and Download
Adding digital assets to VScape is easy. You can log in to the Media Manager and upload a single asset or a whole batch at one time, or, you can add assets without logging in to the user interface through automated integration technologies. The same goes for downloading. You can download assets in their original, edited, cropped and reformatted states.
Supports all Media Types
The point of a DAM is to bring all of your digital assets into a single system. If a DAM doesn’t support a wide range of file types, you’ll still have to store digital assets elsewhere which defeats the purpose. Make sure that your DAM supports all the files you will be working with on a regular basis, as well as the ones you see yourself working with in the future. VScape supports multiple asset types, multiple formats, video, and custom content – a true single source for all of your digital assets.
VScape automatically extracts file metadata and allows you to specify and enforce required metadata fields as assets are added. Create your own custom keyword taxonomy or allow it to grow organically with your team. You can even add short and long descriptions and metadata in different languages.
Travel Industry Specific
VScape has travel industry specific metadata capabilities where assets can be categorized by property or Open Travel Alliance categories and the ability to associate media assets with specific Room Type codes.
Workflows and Approval capabilities
An efficient workflow is imperative to your digital asset management success. Most workflows follow a fairly standard path: get files, catalog files, define metadata for the files, and share/route them through the system. However, a truly flexible solution will allow you to set the specific parameters that align with your needs.
Since hotel groups have digital assets for their hotels, and the individual properties also have digital assets, it makes sense to centralize all of the media in the corporate DAM. VScape enables hotel groups to create workflows that allow individual properties to take on responsibility for uploading and managing their media through a seamless login. With a media approval process as part of the workflow, hotel groups don’t have to worry about irrelevant, low quality or non-brand standard media being stored in the DAM.
Automatic file conversion is another handy tool that some DAM systems offer. Conversion means that even if you upload a file in a specific format, you can download it in another format (if you need a lower resolution of an image, for example). VScape’s advanced algorithms take the manual labor out of identifying duplicate images, cropping images and converting media to multiple different formats, resolutions and sizes.
Tracking, Reporting & Analytics
We live in a data-driven world and while the main purpose of a DAM is to bring simplicity to storing, managing and sharing digital assets, the most innovative solutions also provide insights and information that is valuable to your business and answer questions like:
- What edits were made to metadata and by whom?
- Who logged in last week and when?
- How many times are assets downloaded, viewed, shared and repurposed?
VScape’s built-in reporting features enable hotel groups to understand how their digital assets are being managed and how they’re performing.
As with any SaaS solution, especially one that holds potentially millions of dollars’ worth of digital assets, security is extremely important. VScape is fully secured and monitored 24/7/365 with a world-class enterprise grade architecture and multiple layers of redundancy.
Given the exponential growth and demand for digital media, we know that the volume of content you have is only going to grow. We can also expect that the file sizes of your digital assets will increase due to continuing advances in camera resolutions and media production technology. And, the fact that anyone can create quality content with their smartphone today just means that the pace at which digital media is produced is just going to pick up.
This means that your DAM needs to be scalable to ensure your long-term success by allowing your digital library to grow and evolve as necessary. VScape easily holds millions of assets in a single system with no maximum on capacity to accommodate your growing library of digital content.
Cloud-based DAM’s do not require physical implementation, meaning it is not necessary to invest a big sum upfront for things like server infrastructure. You simply pay a yearly/monthly fee. Cloud-based DAM systems generally include automatic updates and system maintenance, as well as a team that will support the software for you.
VScape is cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS), for access anywhere and anytime, accessible from any computer with an internet connection and web browser. You don’t have the hassle or costs of having to install or maintain a program on your corporate intranet or computers.
Learn more about how VScape can help make media management so much faster, more accurate and cost effective for your hotel chain.
Modular and Advanced Connectivity
In addition to the media management and processing features included in VScape that substantially reduce points of failure, time management and expenses relating to media management, hotel chains also benefit from the option to add modules that connect with and display digital assets on the web properties where they retail their hotel rooms.
Third-party marketing channels
Many hotel chains use a DAM to automate the distribution of hotel media assets to travel websites where they retail their hotel rooms. VScape’s connectivity to a network of travel websites (VNetwork) allows them to match their properties across 200+ direct connections and ensure the timely and accurate update of their hotel images on tens of thousands of travel websites.
With VScape, you can ensure all your hotels images are available on the websites consumers use to research, shop and buy travel. The more images you have available online, the better. Simple things like doubling a hotel’s online pictures can result in 4.5% take-up and $3.50 higher ADR, revealed recent findings by Expedia.
What is the point of having a system that distributes images to third-party channels but doesn’t display them on your own websites? The answer is none. With the right DAM, the same images you’re distributing out to third party channels can also be embedded into your own websites, landing pages and displayed in fully-integrated multi-media galleries that match your look and feel and branding to ensure consistency.
Brand mobile sites and apps
Travelers are expecting to be able to properly evaluate hotels on their smartphone and tablet devices and hotel visuals are the key element in that evaluation. According to Google’s research, 61% of customers who visit a “mobile unfriendly” site are likely to leave and go to a competitor’s site.
With a true single source system, there is no need to upload images to additional systems for optimized display on your mobile websites and apps. VScape automatically optimizes and displays hotel media for consumption by travel shoppers on mobile devices.
Central Reservation Systems
Hotel room images top the list of most popular images viewed by travel shoppers. They want to see what the specific room they’re booking (King Room, Deluxe Room, Studio Suite) actually looks like.
Unlike generic DAMs not designed for hotel groups, VScape integrates with top Internet Booking Engines and Central Reservation Systems and has the ability to associate Room Type codes to specific assets for display in the booking path. This is an extremely powerful tool for optimizing your user experience and checkout process for maximum conversion.
External agencies and service providers
Quality DAM’s have the technology to enable you to share stored assets with external agencies and vendors. VScape’s Private Digital Library module is a branded secure, monitored and password protected environment that does exactly that, a much more effective way to share assets externally than a file transfer system. Plus, it ensures you always know who has access to what assets and when.
While add-on modules and connectivity features are great and essential for powering your hotels’ visual presence across the web, if you don’t have the right core DAM features and capabilities discussed in this article, you won’t get full value from your investment. Talk to our Enterprise team to book your demo of the VScape DAM features that can transform the way you manage digital assets, saving you time, money and a lot of headaches.
[i] The Forrester Wave™: Digital Asset Management For Customer Experience, Q4 2014