Redefining Hotel Loyalty Through Guest Experience: Leverage Technology From First Touch To Last
By: Michael Dunn, VP Sales & Marketing | Co-founder
There’s no doubt that travel has changed exponentially in just a few short decades, and even more rapidly in just the past few years.
Within this decade alone, guests have gained access to mobile apps that allow them to book a hotel, flight, and car rental, then check-in for the travel. Many hotels have even gained technology that allows guests to bypass the front desk entirely (mobile check-in) and use their phones in lieu of a room key.
Naturally, this shift has left many hoteliers wondering where, and how, to best serve the needs of this nameless, faceless “guest” that they may not even see or greet. How does one develop guest loyalty if they don’t have a face-to-face relationship with their guests?
We couldn’t agree more with a piece that Skift recently wrote, detailing how concepts of loyalty need to evolve in the face of new technology. Hoteliers stand at a precipice, or, an “awkward adolescence,” as Skift deems it, of having more technology at their hands than they can effectively or easily leverage. But we don’t see this as a negative. We, like Skift, see it as a “golden opportunity to redefine what real hotel loyalty is like.”
We at Concilio believe that we know where the future of loyalty lies.
Loyalty lies in guest personalization and real, meaningful experiences, powered by technology, staff and infrastructure that already exists on property. But making the shift is more than just a physical change, like turning part of your lobby into a co-working space. It’s about making a mind shift—setting a late New Year’s Resolution if you will—to re-think the way you define “loyalty” at your hotel.
Loyalty is more than just about your most frequent travelers. It’s about reaching your customers when, and how, they wish to be reached, and making sure that you personalize each and every experience at the right point of contact.
With each interaction a guest has with hotel systems, your hotel has the opportunity to capture and act upon guest information and to create that loyalty.
For example, when guests ready themselves for travel, they typically search for properties based on their travel purpose with a close proximity to attractions, restaurants, or landmarks they would enjoy within their budget.
Next, they’ll turn to social channels for recommendations or read similar guest sentiments online. Throughout the booking process they expect to have an offer to enroll in your loyalty program (for added perks – immediately or for a later visit) and, at the least, to receive a confirmation email.
Through this process, you’ll naturally learn some basic information about a guest—their name, their home city, and, if provided, their room preferences. But what if you could also know more—their preferred cuisine, or if their favorite sports team is playing nearby? Hotels may already record this ad-hoc about their most frequent travelers. But what if you could get this data about every guest, even if they’ve never stayed at your property before?
Now, you can. It’s called a Guest Intelligence Platform. This technology can seamlessly sync with existing on-property systems such as your reservation database and PMS to flow in actionable insights from a guest’s social media channels, sentiment tracking, and buying tendencies.
For general managers, revenue directors and sales managers alike, it’s important to align investments with areas that will have both direct and long-term impact on guests and the bottom line alike.
A guest intelligence platform allows you to do exactly that. With a few clicks, hoteliers can seamlessly visualize, curate and leverage data from multiple existing systems and what already exists in the marketplace to serve up a personalized, custom experience for guests that starts from first touch and lasts long after checkout. It complements your existing loyalty programs, allowing you to further enhance the stay of a frequent guest, and to offer experiences that help convert a first-time guest into a repeat traveler.
It’s fair to say that one of the main expectations all guests have is that your brand understands them. With technology advancements with big data, machine learning, and guest intelligence platforms, hoteliers have all the tools necessary to get to know their guest in great detail prior to their stay. We at Concilio are truly excited to be at the forefront of this shift.
To learn more, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you and answer your questions about how we can customize a guest experience engine that works with your property’s unique systems.
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