How Hotels Can Be More Customer Centric

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Hotels need to move toward the experience where they put the guest in the middle, and the hotel communicates with the guest how the guest wants, rather than the other way around. Gone are the days where hotels send out general email blasts to their entire database in the hope of seeing results. It is about connecting with the customer at the right time, through the right medium and with the right information or offer.

Rather than looking at the customer journey as a linear model with the guest booking at the start and hotel checkout at the end, the customer journey is a cyclical process with every stage providing the hotel with further information about the guest to enhance future experiences and drive retention. Identifying potential customers can start early on in the consideration stage. Paid advertising can be targeted at customers based on past browsing behavior.

It is now pretty standard to receive an email a few days before a stay with further information. This is a strong upsell opportunity if the hotel provides the right offer to the right person, which again depends on the amount of information available about the guest. Being able to collect information about guest likes, dislikes and interests can assist hoteliers to deliver a greater personalized experience for their guests. AirRentalz, offers hotels this service through their guest experience program. Getting a better understanding of the guest's interests helps us to personalize the messaging but also allows us to deliver them targeted and personalized information in a timely manner.

During the stay, text messaging, and in-room technology can greatly increase the real-time interaction between guests and hotel staff, improving service and providing an opportunity to right any wrongs.

Check-out should not be the end of a hotel’s interaction. Email or in-app surveys offer additional information about guests and also provide an insight into those guests that are engaged and those who are not. Hotels should not just leave it to surveys to understand their guests experience. Allowing guests to provide video testimonials or use Instagram to leave reviews is another great way to allow guests to interact.

With the right technology and tools, hotels are presented with vast opportunities to anticipate their customer’s needs and deliver tailored experiences for them. If hotels make the effort to apply elements of personalisation to customer interactions, they are likely to drive more loyalty, engagement, positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations.

Besides advancing customer relationships, personalisation can lead to increased acquisition, conversion and retention of customers. A study by Researchscape International and Evergage found that most (96%) marketers agree that personalisation advances customer relationships, while 88% of respondents said that there’s a notable lift in their business from their personalisation efforts.

Providing personalisation throughout the customer travel journey can influence and accelerate purchasing decisions. With a plethora of travel options available today, personalisation has the ability to reduce information to a digestible level that’s useful and relevant to the travelers.  It helps to shift their priority from price to real value when they book their trips.