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“80% of guests are willing to share their information to get a more personalised stay” - Maud Bailly, Chief Digital Officer at AccorHotels
The emergence of mega-personalization and customized experiences is no surprise. What is shocking; however, is the customer’s demand for these offers. Hotel guests expect their stay to feel like home-away-from home and travelers now await personalized itinerary suggestions. Integrating technology and strategies that not only engage customers, but deeply connect with them, is now a necessity.
Hotels are incorporating data science and artificial intelligence to better understand their guests. Aberdeen Group Inc. reveals that organizations with the strongest customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% retention for companies with weak omni-channel strategies.
As we explored in our A Look Back at 2018 post, many hotels began integrating technology that provides guests with a “digital receptionist”. Guests have the ability to order room service and request a variety of services all from the convenience of a mobile app or in-room tablet. Artificial intelligence is taking things one step further by remembering these preferences to replicate at future stays. AI technology is the new concierge by creating personalized suggestions and itineraries for travelers based on their demographics, behaviors and preferences.
Angie Hospitality explains that “59% of hoteliers think voice assistants can play a valuable role in increasing property revenues and 43% think voice could play a significant role in reducing labor costs and streamlining operations” yet “only 7% of hoteliers report having a voice strategy in place.” Moreover, “60% of guests think it is “very or extremely important” for hotels to continue investing in technology to enhance the guest experience [and] 49% of guests say their hotel selection is influenced by high-tech features in the guest room”.
Hotels are not the only industry welcoming these technologies. Destinations are also integrating AI to deepen the relationship with travelers. In fact, Visit Orlando was one of the first tourism boards to integrate artificial intelligence into their website and mobile app. This intelligence was able to directly respond to even the most specific and complex questions and requests of users.
Demand now influences supply as consumers are willingly paying for personalized experiences. Google Research reports, “57% of travelers feel that brands should tailor their information based on personal preferences or past behaviors” and that “if a travel brand tailored its information and overall trip experience based on personal preferences or past behavior, 36% would be likely to pay more for their services.”
Customer-centric strategies are integral for businesses. Following and engaging with your customers throughout their customer journey is a valuable practice for any hotelier, destination or business manager. It starts at the awareness level, when consumers first discover your brand. Follow them through their need, consideration, purchase and post-purchase stage. Ensure you are engaging with them and making their experience seamless, personalized and enjoyable.
Social media plays a crucial role for the hyper-connected guest. Consumers around the world are glued to their phones and the use of social channels to research hotels, flights and travel inspiration. To maximize engagement and connect more closely with your guests, download the FREE eBook: Hospitality in the Age of Social Media, the ultimate guide building the relationship with customers online.