Welcome to the “Age of the Customer.” As we witness the ongoing rise of digital trends, hyper-personalization, and value-driven marketing initiatives, we realize that it is increasingly the customer, not the company, driving business decisions. So, how can businesses get to know their customers? By spending time where their customers are—online. Social platforms and online mediums represent a thriving hub of valuable data, providing a wealth of customer insights. In a time where understanding customers is the primary key to a company’s survival and subsequent success, tapping into data streams is more integral than ever before.
This is particularly true in the hospitality industry, as a hotel’s success can be directly attributed to their ability to provide value in the form of a positive and unique guest experience. In fact, in a recent survey, more than half of the travelers interviewed said they were happy to provide personal information if it meant getting relevant deals, discounts, and personalized service. This really comes as no surprise. Look to the success of ventures such as Airbnb, a travel platform that has truly mastered the modern art of consumer personalization and mobile functionality. However, the concept of guest personalization extends far beyond email and message interactions. It should drive all aspects of the guest experience that a hotel provides, making data one of the most valuable currencies available to hoteliers. Don’t believe us? At a recent EyeForTravel tradeshow, 67% of representatives indicated customer loyalty could be improved by investing more in data, analytics and the resulting opportunities for personalization.
Of course, the need for a data-driven and personalized guest relations strategy can be a double-edged sword as well. Hotels cannot fulfill that need without quality, actionable data. Moreover, with such an influx of data now available to hotels via online channels, the demand for an insight-driven data platform to unlock meaningful insights becomes paramount. Why? Because data can’t provide any value to hoteliers unless it is properly collected, intelligently applied to various segments of the guest experience and made accessible to staff and other systems.
Think of it this way — the data is the lockbox, and the data platform provides the code. It is one thing to understand your guests and quite another to be able to act on that data.
So the question becomes; how can hotels utilize various data streams through a centralized platform to drive more value into their guest relationships and inspire long-term guest loyalty?
Utilizing a cloud-based platform that combines various data streams to act as a centralized hub of guest insights, hotels can effectively shape their guest engagements with information from multiple systems (PMS, CRM, POS, etc.). Your hotel is producing and receiving an enormous amount of data at any given time across various tools and touchpoints. An effective data platform isn’t meant to act as a copy or snapshot of existing, standalone data. Rather, it should be an integration across all platforms used by the hotel to provide a collective profile of each guest. While the hospitality industry has notoriously fallen victim to the creation of data silos in the past, due to legacy systems lacking integration capabilities, modern technology prioritizes seamless, cross-platform integration. This integral update to a traditionally limited infrastructure puts hotels in a position to provide carefully curated value to each and every guest.
This, in itself, can mean the difference between a hotel simply addressing a returning guest by name and looking up the details of their stay, and having the data-backed advantage of automatically setting default preferences for their room and preferred upgrades. Further, hotels with a native app can change the in-app, user experience to recognize that the guest is physically in the hotel and make leisure activity suggestions based on what they know about the guest. In some cases, hotels reward their most frequent and valuable guests with specialized access to amenities, upgrades, or even ‘personal ambassadors’ that help to manager travel needs and have a deep understanding of what that guest values. Let’s consider the case of a returning business traveler — with the harmonization of their guest data into a collective profile could help hotel staff to anticipate their needs before they arrive on property. This could include even seemingly minuscule gestures, such as altering them of close-by Wi-Fi enabled work areas, free conference rooms or spare charging docks for their handheld technology. With insight-driven prompts (for personalization, upgrades and cross-selling opportunities) built directly into a data platform, your staff can easily provide an enhanced experience to guests, every time.
Why is the curation of a personalized experience so important? Providing value to guests is rewarded in revenue and repeat stays. Further to those memorable guest service interactions, hotels can utilize guest data to target their marketing campaigns and offers in a truly intelligent way. With communications that are specifically tailored to each guest and their preference set, hotels not only show that they are paying attention but empower their revenue opportunity through enhanced guest interest and engagement.
With modern, insight-driven data and largely affordable platforms finally available to hoteliers everywhere, hotels no longer have the excuse that personalization is too expensive or beyond operational reach. Personalization and data-driven guest engagement isn’t just a thing of the future, it’s here and now — and hoteliers finally have the tools to use it to their advantage.
The capability to understand today’s hotel guest is a priority for Concilio Labs. Terri Miller and her team developed a way to leverage hotel and public data to help hoteliers provide exceptional relevant experiences to its guests. As CEO of Concilio Labs, Terri is responsible for driving the strategic and tactical growth of the company, while ensuring innovation is at the forefront when delivering solutions hoteliers truly need. Her wealth of experience in business, management, and technology guides all facets of the company’s success. Prior to Concilio Labs, Terri was the Vice President of MICROS eCommerce leading the creative, delivery, and technical departments. With a passion for delivering results, Terri continues to grow Concilio Labs with a focus on becoming the leader in developing and delivering smart hotel products and services.