A Checklist for Guest Intelligence
What would be considered the primary indicator of long-term success for a brand, regardless of industry? What makes one brand stand out against a competitor and, better yet, what moves the dial the most when it comes to affirming customer loyalty? Is it the product or service itself? Is it a perceived ‘cool factor’? Is it the way the offering is marketed to the masses?
Today, people have become accustomed to the instant gratification that technology provides, as well as the expectation for personalization. With each new platform or technology advancement, brands are more receptive to removing the barriers between their offering and their customers. Enhanced connectivity and the plethora of accessible data have created an exciting opportunity for companies to cultivate more genuine engagements in a more meaningful way.
The hospitality industry is in the business of selling individualized experiences, through personalized engagement. These experiences are not a ‘one-size fits all’ model, but instead designed to cater to the desires and preferences of each and every guest. How can this be achieved? The answer is simple… guest intelligence. By harnessing the power of data and leveraging the right guest intelligence technology, hoteliers can finally understand their guests. Studies show companies using analytics are five times more likely to make faster decisions and 85% of business leaders believe big data will dramatically change the way they do business.
As more hotels strive to optimize their data strategy, we’ve compiled a 6-item best practices list that can help hotels get the most value from their hard-won and important guest data and set the stage for the value of marrying data with guest intelligence.
1. Utilize Insight-Driven Analytics to Put Your Data in Action
We’ve said it once, and we will say it again. Data is meaningless without context and action. Guests are constantly sharing potentially valuable information at various touchpoints throughout their engagement (pre-stay, on-property, and post-stay), but hoteliers are unable to act on this information if they can’t organize and understand it. With this in mind, it becomes critical for hotels to invest in a platform that not only collects and store data but also provides insight-driven information based on that data.
Hoteliers should have access to a tool that helps them monitor and improve service, better understand their guests, and serve each guest in a more responsive, attentive manner. Being predictive allows staff to be more proactive and, in the case of hospitality, the relevancy of the service provided will represent a key indicator of guest satisfaction. Access to a visual and interactive dashboard also allows your team to dive deeper into guest data in a way that is most meaningful (for example, grouping certain data sets together to quickly identify key performance indicators).
2. Visual Analytics: Get a 360-Degree View of the Guest
How can hoteliers gain access to a more holistic view of their guest? Through data. How can hoteliers utilize data to piece together that 360-degree view? Through the intelligent collection of data from every available source. Guests today are especially active in the digital sphere, meaning they have a predominant (and data-rich) footprint that lends itself to a better picture of their preferences and expectations.
The ability to explore data is something every hotelier should be able to do without having to be a data scientist. Piecing together insights from social media, online reviews, past purchase behavior and other channels, your guest intelligence software should seamlessly integrate, cleanse, and store data. More importantly it must present smart data, utilizing machine learning/AI, in a way that creates a comprehensive guest profile. This complete view of each guest allows hotel staff to personalize their efforts and also demonstrate to each guest their true value to the hotel.
3. Respect Guest Privacy: Use Data Responsibly
Guest privacy within this era of personalization has become a rather important discussion point as of late, especially with the roll out of GDPR. Guests crave a more personalized experience, but they also want to ensure their data isn’t being misused or falling into the wrong hands. This doesn’t mean guests are inherently against sharing data. Salesforce indicates that 63% of millennial consumers are willing to share personal data for personalized offers or discounts. However, modern guests do expect to exercise more control, as well as the ability to consent or opt-in to how their data is used and collected.
It’s imperative to remember guest data is the responsibility of all hotel staff and hotels must be transparent with their guests when it comes to how guest data is being used and protected. Utilizing the right guest intelligence software, hoteliers can find a happy medium between personalized service and guest privacy while earning their trust and long-term loyalty.
4. Guest Personalization & Guest Experience
Personalization is often a challenging practice to put in motion within a manual environment or by relying on a CRM. How can any hotel expect every member of their staff to know the name(s) of each guest and also deliver their expectations? Simply segmenting guests by category certainly doesn’t qualify as personalization. Luckily, guest intelligence software can complement CRM technology specifically with this need in mind. By streamlining the path to personalization with intelligent insights and interactive guest profiles, staff is empowered to focus their energy where it matters most – the genuine, in-person engagement with (and service of) each guest.
5. Analytics for Enhanced Revenue Potential
For hoteliers, predicting guest behavior doesn’t simply allow for more responsive service, it also allows hoteliers to reach their guests when they are most receptive. With the help of predictive analytics and built-in, insight-driven prompts, hotels can enhance revenue potential with more effective upselling and cross-selling. The payoff for getting your business processes aligned via data and analytics is better experiences for your guests, enhanced loyalty and increased sales.
6. Seamless Integration
While this all sounds great – a guest intelligence platform can only do its job if it integrates seamlessly into your hotel’s operational infrastructure. The ideal guest intelligence technology should align with (and add value to) the existing systems and tech stack of the hotel, to ensure a more efficient and scalable model – now and in the future.
How did your existing data strategy measure up? Is it time to invest in a much-needed guest intelligence upgrade?
About the Author:
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.