Personalization as a Competitive Advantage
Standardization paves the way to personalization.
The hotel industry has found it difficult to break away from traditional and austere strategies and embrace, in their stead, more dynamic strategies better adapted to the changing needs of the market. The exception has been in customer service, since hotels have worked progressively towards providing an excellent customer experience. So, hoteliers get ready. There´s lot of work to be done. Roll up your sleeves and let’s get started.
Today, personalization is no longer considered a luxury. It has become the norm. The cookie-cutter approach is no longer useful to hotels. Travelers are no longer easily satisfied and expect hotels to use their guest history to provide better service. The focus has changed for hoteliers and it is not about selling a bed anymore, but about distributing experiences within sets of actions that can be centralized from the hotel.
Customer data is the basis for offering a personalized experience.
Customer data allows you to tailor new products and services to customer needs. There are various touch points you have with travelers. You can use the valuable information customers provide to offer personalized experiences. For many hotel´s, this can be a challenge both at the conceptual and technological level. Many challenges can emerge when collecting data and synthesizing information. Software companies work to achieve continuous data aggregation between different systems. The final objective is to access structured information using business intelligence formats that facilitate decision making from a product more adapted to the traveler.
Technological socialization leads to a more fluid conversation with the traveler (although it’s not always relevant)
The avalanche of messages we receive on a daily basis has generated great distrust in people. Much of the information we consume lacks relevance, thus negatively affecting brands and their reputations. Travelers value a hotel’s ability to adapt. For this reason, you should consider applying the concept of on-demand marketing and offer personalized messaging. Technology has brought with it many exciting innovations such as Google’s search algorithm that helps search users find the correct information they’re looking for. A focus point for hoteliers in the coming years will be to impact travelers with the messages sent using acquired information.
When booking, guests should be able to provide more information regarding their stay such as their interest levels for certain services. In this case, it will be of great help to identify the correct market segment and consider basic aspects such as the communication channel that you consider appropriate for the traveler. Thus, you should focus on gathering the right data about your guests. The more data your hotel gathers, the more information you have to surprise and delight your guests by offering a personalized experience.
Mobile usage as a determining factor behind traveler behavior
Smartphones have changed everything about how we consume information and how hoteliers interact with travelers. Personalized service and mobile technology go hand in hand. The latest figures for mobile usage couldn’t be more revealing. Ninety percent of travelers check their cellphones 133 times a day! With this insight, you can safely bet on the growing importance of mobile marketing strategies and should, therefore, consider adapting to the growing demand, if you want to stay competitive in the market.
Technology is constantly advancing, thus improving communication between hotels and travelers. At some hotels, guests can easily access all hotel services at their fingertips. Starwood hotels are letting guests personalize their hotel experience. Among other things, guests can control room lighting and temperature, manage music playlists, and program when they want to have their coffee the following day. Currently, hotels can still wow their guests with latest innovations, but this may soon prove difficult to achieve with technology evolving at a faster pace than ever. Not to mention, for those who jump on the technological bandwagon too late, it will be nearly impossible form them to keep up, especially at the pace technology is currently advancing in.
The main objective of personalized service is guest satisfaction.
Technology not only allows certain hotel services to be readily available, but it also helps hoteliers better understand their guests. Finding the right balance between humans and technology is the essence of personalization. While technological innovation allows hotel operations to be carried out more efficiently (by providing faster services and reducing costs), there’s no doubt that the human touch is still an important piece for delivering an impeccable guest experience.