With the advent of technology and ever-rising competition in the hotel industry, the next-generation hotel guests demand frictionless stays, wherein their needs and requirements are anticipated and taken care of automatically by the hotels. Thus, as a hotelier or an accommodation provider, it is imperative for you to fine-tune your digital strategies to deliver a hyper-personalized and seamless experience to your guests. This will not only help you drive loyalty but will also ensure escalation of repeat business.
The Boston Consulting Group(1) notes, “Personalization is not a perk – it is an imperative. Brands that create personalized experiences by integrating advanced digital technologies and proprietary data for customers are seeing revenue increase by 6% to 10%—two to three times faster than those that don’t.” So, how exactly can you enhance customer service by offering tailored guest experiences with the help of digital technologies?
Here, we’ve listed the five most effective digital strategies that can help you deliver an optimally customized guest experience:
1. AR/VR and Wearables
Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and wearables let the users immerse into a digital environment with the help of sounds, images, and other physical sensations. Although AR/VR and wearables have a long history, they have recently gained a lot of traction in the mainstream consumer technology, enabling a lot of hotels to experiment with these digital experiences.
According to the Adobe Digital Insights (ADI)(2), “At least eight of the largest hotels have tested some kind of VR experience.” AR and VR experiences can include virtual tours of hotels and hotel rooms, thereby enabling the guests to take their pick. AR can also help the hotels introduce more interactive and immersive elements into the hotel, for example, wall maps when viewed through a smartphone can work as a tourist information tool.
2. AI Chatbots
AI chatbots and virtual assistants can help create a customized experience for your guest, right from handling the customer service enquiries to sealing the potential booking process. With the help of chatbots, you can make sure that you stay well-connected with your customer.
You can also compile and leverage data about your guests based on the context and their intent. This can help you provide the next generation of frictionless experience in an authentic and personalized way. For example, with the information collected, you can offer family discounts, suggest rooms and facilities for business trips, or recommend special dishes at the hotel.
3. Metasearch Engine
Metasearch engines follow a comparative rate model that show the rates and features of various hotels at a given location. Given their popularity, credibility, and smart price- and feature-comparison tools, most of the people search for the hotels on Metasearch engines. So, if you are not on a Metasearch engine yet, chances are you are already lagging behind your competition.
In addition to reaching your potential customers, Metasearch can help you acquire, process, and own the customer data as the booking is made through your own booking engine, unlike an OTA. This can, in turn, help you build more customized relationships with your guests.
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4. Cloud-based Management
The Boston Consulting Group in its ‘How to win with Big data’ report(3) mentions that “big-data strategy is not only useful in developing internal processes to ensure compliance but also in engaging external customers.”
Gathering guest data and using it in the right manner has been a major goal for hospitality entities in recent years. Thus, initiatives related to cloud-based management, wherein you mine data, record it, interpret it, and use it for sending out personalized notifications and offers, based on the guest preferences and behavior are essential for enhancing the overall guest experience. Additionally, cloud technology is useful in centralizing property organization within one platform, which implies that every aspect of the hotel business can be managed from it, right from reservations to duty assignments.
Adopting cloud-based technologies and going paperless will also be an added advantage for your hotel as you can provide an environment-friendly guest experience.
5. Beacon and Geolocation Technology
Beacon technology works through Bluetooth and is very effective in sending customized push notifications or enabling certain functions whenever people enter a specific location. This technology can prove to be especially useful for the hotels in making the guests spend more and more time within the hotel and use in-house services and facilities with the help of contextually relevant and personalized communication.
Useful cases for the beacon technology are notifying the guests of complimentary spa services or happy hours in the bar. Geolocation technology can also enable your guests to check-in via smartphones among utilizing many other facilities.
Implementing the latest digital strategies to interact and engage with the guests can help you know what they require and offer them exactly that for more repeat business and referrals for your hotel.
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