CO - Markinnovation

It’s the stakeholder, stupid!

It’s the stakeholder, stupid!
Why it took me four years to build a website...

This week marked an important milestone in my professional career as a Digital Marketer. Although I left Resorts World Sentosa a few months ago, my former team earlier this week pushed the button and launched a new, state-of-the-art Website and eCommerce Platform (have a look at >rwsentosa.com and see it for yourself). I couldn’t be more proud of my team as they managed to complete the project that we started almost four years ago. “Four years to build a website?”, I hear you ask. Well not exactly, let me explain.

When I joined Resorts World Sentosa on Boxing Day (!) in 2012 my first job was to complete a face-lift of the previous Website. Unfortunately, the scope of work was limited to the front-end of the Website as senior management had not signed off on a revamp of the back-end. This meant I inherited a Website that looked pretty good, but a Booking Engine that looked antiquated and wasn’t fit for purpose. Soon after the initial refresh I therefore proposed a full revamp of the Booking Engine & Website to senior management. This was critical as the new mobile-responsive eCommerce Platform was going to be one of the building blocks for the Digital Transformation process at Resorts World Sentosa.

Novelty factor

But this was 2013 and eCommerce was not very important to Resorts World Sentosa yet. The various attractions (Universal Studios Singapore, SEA Aquarium and Adventure Cove Waterpark) were doing quite well, mainly because of traditional Travel Agents who were driving millions of customers to the resort in Singapore. The resort also benefited from the novelty factor as it had only been open for less than three years. More importantly, when 80 percent of your revenue comes from the casino, the “non-gaming business” always plays second fiddle. On top of that, two senior managers who had sponsored the project, left the company and we had to start all over again.

For me it was obvious, eCommerce started to boom in Southeast Asia and it was difficult to understand why an organisation like Resorts World Sentosa wanted to rely so heavily on Travel Agents and other intermediaries. Apart from the obvious reasons (profit margins!), any organisation should try to own the customer relationship. In other words: I was keen to grow the Direct Sales Channel and wean ourselves of intermediaries.

Sitecore

But frequent management and strategy changes meant we didn’t manage to start the pitch for a technology partner until late 2014. After numerous internal and external meetings, we appointed a local vendor at the beginning of 2015 and agreed to build the new website on the Sitecore-platform. Unfortunately, our new vendor had under-estimated the complexity of the project and quickly realised they had under-quoted for the job. As a result, the project made very little progress and after a few months both parties decided it was better to terminate the contract.

By then Sitecore 8 had been released which meant we had to increase the budget and go through another lengthy internal procurement process. Procurement wasn’t the issue though. The biggest challenge was to sell the project again to senior management. The departments involved had different opinions in terms of priorities, budgets and even designs. Many boardroom meetings later we were finally given the green light and restarted the project again in June 2016. The challenges didn’t stop: newly appointed senior managers forced us to change the design even during the build of the new website. On top of that, the integration of our in-house bespoke Booking Engine with the Sitecore-platform turned out to be a major headache. Not many technology partners realise how complex the product mix of an Integrated Resort is, especially when you’re trying to bundle Attractions, Hotels, Spa and Food & Beverage using multiple languages, promotions, sponsors, partners and loyalty programmes.

Perseverance

It is only because of the perseverance of the Digital Marketing/eCommerce and IT Teams at the Resorts World Sentosa – and POSSIBLE – that the new Website and Booking Engine went live this week, seventeen months after the initial kick-off. So, what have I learnt from this experience? Well, the guys at Econsultancy always tell me that Digital Transformation is about Technology, Processes and People. The “Technology” and “Process” elements turned out to be difficult enough, but the most challenging element turned out to be “People”. I’m not talking about the IT and Digital Marketing/eCommerce Teams (who are excellent by the way), but throughout this transformation process I probably should have invested more time and effort in managing stakeholders. It would have allowed me to get company-wide support for this Digital Transformation Project from the start and move faster.

I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learnt during my career at Resorts World Sentosa and I’m hoping to apply my learnings in a new exciting role in Asia soon. Watch this space!
  • John Sinke
    John Sinke
    Director, Marketing at Hong Kong Disneyland

    John Sinke is an experienced (Digital) Marketing and e-Commerce Professional having worked with various businesses in Travel, Telecommunications, Finance, Recruitment and Automotive over the past twenty years in Hong Kong, Singapore, London and Amsterdam. He is currently the Director, Marketing at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (>hongkongdisneyland.com), responsible for digital marketing & social media, CRM and media buying & planning. Before joining Hong Kong Disneyland in 2017, John was in charge of Digital Marketing & e-Commerce at Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore. John has worked for several other blue-chip companies, including CMC Markets, >lastminute.com, easyCar.com, France Telecom, Renault, Manpower Group and KPMG.

You May Also Like

Brand Equity – How can the credit function help?
Brand Equity – How can the credit function help?

Investing in Brand Equity is becoming an effective business strategy not only to retain customers an...

Innovation-Driven Marketing vs.  Marketing-Driven Innovation
Innovation-Driven Marketing vs. Marketing-Driven Innovation

Is your company adding value or are you pretending and trying to make a name for yourself? Why do I...

Why Is Corporate Identity  Important For Any Business?
Why Is Corporate Identity Important For Any Business?

Corporate identity is quite similar to what we talk about our own identity, and the specifics that d...

Out-of-Box, In-the-Box,  New-Box, Other-Box, No-Box
Out-of-Box, In-the-Box, New-Box, Other-Box, No-Box

Thinking For years supporters and detractors of creative thinking in the workplace have talked about...

Pricing Strategy
Pricing Strategy

In general, the pricing strategy is very important for retail companies in order to achieve the sale...

Why Content is the true north of Account-based Marketing? – Final
Why Content is the true north of Account-based Marketing? – Final

We began exploring the four-legs of the content strategy tool, and uncovered just why context is eve...

5 Trends and Challenges for the Agency Industry
5 Trends and Challenges for the Agency Industry

One of the trends to continue will be brands bringing agency work in-house. As Ramchandani writes, &...

Why winning customer trust is key to startup success
Why winning customer trust is key to startup success

Interview of Philipp Kristian, author of 'The Trust Economy’ What are the top three emerg...

How to choose a domain name?
How to choose a domain name?

A domain name is the website name that people can type into their browser like >google.com,&...

How to promote your Business on Google Maps with Google Posts
How to promote your Business on Google Maps with Google Posts

Google has just rolled out yet another useful tool, especially for small business owners: Google Pos...

Tactics to increase conversion rate
Tactics to increase conversion rate

ALPHA Sales System Most sales systems focuses on the presentation, objection handling and closing...

Challenges in Deep Learning technology
Challenges in Deep Learning technology

Although the estimated market growth for Deep Learning is $10.2 billion by the end of 2025, it has s...

Content Marketing Phooey
Content Marketing Phooey

I agree "Content Marketing" is a VITALLY important component of the Promotional Mix and es...

On Becoming Customer Centric
On Becoming Customer Centric

On Becoming Customer Centric     Some say “customer centricity” has become ...

UltraCreativity -
UltraCreativity - "Cannot" does not exist in my vocabulary!

I’ve decided long ago that the word “cannot” does not exist in my vocabulary. For ...

Platforms And Content – The Business Model Of The 21th Century
Platforms And Content – The Business Model Of The 21th Century

Amazon is buying the rights of UEFA Championships, Disney is launching/expanding its own content pla...

Tools & Resources Every Marketer Needs To Navigate COVID-19 Crisis
Tools & Resources Every Marketer Needs To Navigate COVID-19 Crisis

It’s clear that COVID-19 has drastically altered the advertising and marketing landscape as mo...

The Hidden Truth In Creating Best Airbnb Experience
The Hidden Truth In Creating Best Airbnb Experience

Here are Questions That I have Got This Week Around Airbnb Experience From Fellow Friends and Contac...

What is the future of Programmatic Advertising?
What is the future of Programmatic Advertising?

Data in the 21st century is like oil in the 19th century. Data is currently seen as valuable asset w...

From PR to e-PR - Future of media relations
From PR to e-PR - Future of media relations

Imagine if 20 years ago, someone told you that every organization will need accounting software, wha...

When personal brands go to war...
When personal brands go to war...

The start of this past weekend was highly interesting for Twitter users. It wasn’t actually a ...

Surviving and soon thriving again: what you're doing now really matters
Surviving and soon thriving again: what you're doing now really matters

Five weeks ago, before any of us really knew ‘how bad things would get’ I wrote on Linke...

Good Brands Sell Products; Great Brands Tell Stories
Good Brands Sell Products; Great Brands Tell Stories

If you need to survive in this dog-eat-dog business world, then you need to connect with customers i...

Customer Experience lessons we learned and applied in our Art Gallery
Customer Experience lessons we learned and applied in our Art Gallery

WE OPENED OUR ART GALLERY IN 2011 We learned a lot of Customer Experience lessons in the 7 years si...

Stay Connected With Us