"A home away from home" is the single standard that any excellent hotel should be offering clients. Providing comfort, uniqueness, and a variety of experiences is on the "must-do's" list of successful hotels. But how can one accurately know about guests and their lifestyle? How to reach their preferences and taste? The importance of acquiring this information is such that, nowadays, not having it means that your business is bound to become irrelevant.
Personalisation is not at all a new concept since the early days' hotel staff used to scribble down notes about their regular guests to offer them custom services during their next visit. What makes it such a vital concept for the current hospitality world is how fast and precise can a hotel tailor its offer to the client's needs. Beyond that, all hospitality players have now to take it to the next level – the tech level - to offer a personalized guest experience.
Tailor the tech world
Even though there is still a buzz around the words personalisation and/or customisation, those cannot be seen as hot trends. That is because not only the need to customize the interaction with customers has become evident across all industries, but it is also becoming a thing of the past. Knowing the speed of the travel and tourism industry functions, companies that are still caught up with the basics of personalisation are in serious risks.
According to American Express Travel, 83% of millennials admit they would allow companies to track their data and habits if it means getting a personalised service in return. With that, it is safe to say that personalisation is implied and expected. The next step for businesses is to develop creative ways to both acquire and use the information.
It's time for hoteliers to take advantage of the data and the potential that technology brings to anticipate travelers' needs and improve the guest experience.
What can hotels do to deliver a personalized guest experience in the digital world?
1. Make use of the data available online. Website cookies are a hidden treasure that every business owner should be utilising. It allows businesses to track website visits and understand the interests of the users. The goldmine can be found after analysing and understanding user behaviour to later implement actions in the right place and at the right time. So, if a visitor is checking out the family room on your website, it may be a good idea to promote a deal for kid-friendly activities, for example.
2. From IP addresses, you can tell where your customer is from and tailor your offer and content accordingly. If your potential guests can understand the terminologies according to their native language, they're most likely to choose your hotel for their trip. Think not only of the right language to display the content, but also try to anticipate what the user may be looking for on a trip. Is it a sunny vacation or a getaway to the mountains?
3. If you don't want to guess, ask. The booking process and pre-stay communications are great touchpoints to extract valuable information about the client's preferences. Asking the customer beforehand about their preferences, like an extra soft pillow, unique settings, meals, plan for the stay or any additional inquiries before they check-in, would give your hotel a big thumbs up. Moreover, if you have a loyalty program, it is imperial for hotels to save this data from identified customers in order to track their preferences and behaviour, for example, if they usually travel with family or for business, or if they tend to book a spa session every time they go to your hotel. This way, you will be able to offer a better personalised guest experience.
4. Offer personalised travel itineraries. Many travelers are skipping out on hotel packages that don't allow them to customize their stay. Travelers now prefer to tailor their activities according to their schedules, interests, habits, and needs. And of course, they rather do it in a digital and impersonal way. Having the possibility to personalize their itinerary not only adds value to their experience but also allows you to promote your 3rd party ancillaries in a less intrusive way. At the same time, having a professional trip planning solution that allows you to track the users behaviour, enables hotels to enrich their CRM with more defined customer profiles and offer them personalised plans and experiences according to their interests.
5. Staying in touch with the reality of your customers is also a way to customize. Using apps that allow guests to order room service, book activities, or even ask questions to the reception through a virtual concierge system is a great way to interact and deliver a personalised guest experience.
New and improved solutions are almost here
Even though it is highly important to keep track of the most innovative solutions, hotels cannot keep up with the latest tech trends. While today there are plenty of new ways hospitality players can enhance the guest's experience, these may become irrelevant soon. The fast incorporation of novel technologies in the travel industry present unpredictable changes every day and allows customers' expectations and demands to grow almost at the same speed. Hotels should not only pay attention to every potential creation but also align strategies in advance to act fast on what the future brings.