Getting to Grips with Content Management Systems: Q&A with Lastminute.com

In this piece, RetailTechNews speaks to Alessandra Di Lorenzo, CCO, media & partnerships, lastminute.com group, to discuss the company’s new content management system (CMS), and the role it can play in helping marketers design their own microsites and web pages. 

RetailTechNews: Can you explain how the new ContentHUB CMS platform works?

Alessandra Di Lorenzo: Brands of all shapes and sizes increasingly need to create micro-relevant content at scale that both helps their SEO and supports organic traffic growth.

This is why we’re really excited to launch ContentHUB, which is our very own content management system (CMS) aimed primarily at travel and e-commerce brands. Not only does it create the perfect place for marketers to house this type of content, which will attract, engage, and convert customers, it also comes with built-in monetisation capabilities, powered by our ad tech.

The tool is super simple to operate. Users can quickly and easily modify content without the technical or coding skills required by other platforms. And the drag-and-drop functionality allows them to customise layouts and create different web page structures to suit their needs.

Brands can also enhance customer engagement by easily integrating features such as parallax scrolling, video content, featured deals, and social widgets – linking to content from networks such WAYN, Spotify, and Instagram – as well as customised widgets.

Most importantly, powered by Travel People’s programmatic capabilities, users can effortlessly integrate IAB and native ad formats into their web pages to instantly start monetising their content, without the need to rely on the external plug-ins required by many other content management systems.

What is stopping more marketers using CMS systems to create their microsites?

ContentHUB is actually borne out of lastminute.com group’s own need for an advanced, but user-friendly, system for marketers.

We know how important it is for travel or e-commerce companies to have a solid content strategy that supports customer engagement and drives up customer return rates. Yet many brands we’ve spoken to face the same challenges as we did when it comes to managing their content and rolling out dynamic, data-driven and ad-optimised microsites at scale.

In fact, in research we conducted in partnership with London Research, more than half (51%) of senior marketers and business leaders surveyed said their companies don’t use their main web CMS to create microsites. Of these respondents, half (50%) claimed that it’s too difficult to create custom templates, while over half (53%) find it requires too much technical support. Meanwhile, over a third (37%) of respondents that abstain from using a different CMS for microsites put this down to the amount of time it would take to train their staff to use it. 

That’s why we’ve combined our competencies and experience in media monetisation, as well as travel, technology, and design, to produce a platform that is functional and aesthetically pleasing – but also very competitively priced.

How does ContentHUB help tackle these issues?

The technology ContentHUB uses means it is architecturally sophisticated at the backend, but very simple to use at the front. With no requirement for training or technical skills, anyone within a business can create and monetise content – empowering commercial and marketing teams to be very self-sufficient.

And we know it works. We launched this product after a successful pilot within lastminute.com group, during which we built our own branded microsites, hosting destination pages and seasonal campaign content, while simultaneously integrating digital advertising, travel deals, and content from WAYN, our travel social network.

Why is the platform particularly suited for e-commerce brands?

Being cloud-hosted means the platform is particularly well-suited to managing websites with multiple brands or languages consistently and at scale. Plus, the ability to integrate featured deals into the sites, which are conveniently optimised for mobile, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), and SEM (Search Engine Marketing), make it the perfect solution for e-commerce brands. Other companies can absolutely benefit from the platform as well, though.

What challenges do brands face when it comes to managing their content and rolling out ad-optimised microsites?

A lack of time and expertise is a real challenge for many brands. Setting up a website can feel like a huge task when it requires external training – and what happens when the website ‘expert’ isn’t around and something needs changing?

Likewise, the external plug-ins required by all other systems to integrate advertising make monetising content a more burdensome process.

From our own experience, we found that other CMSs on the market tend to either be super sophisticated, with a price tag to match, or a little too basic for what many brands need. That’s why we’ve tried to hit the sweet spot right in the middle by creating a platform that is smart, functional, and affordable.