Monday, May 9, 2016

Personalizing Guest Experience

To be perceived as a brand or hotel that personalizes guest experience, are hotels giving into the rising guest demand? Is this the only way to be omnipresent and to be popular choice among guests? With new technology, mobile apps and hotels in all brands and sizes evolving every day, the industry will have to be innovative and go all-out to give guests incredible experience to be competitive.
An online Personal Experiences study shows that 74% of users loose interest when they don’t find anything that can interest them or have their preference’s identified. Most of guest looks for things that can catch their fancy, read their minds and also be able to deliver the same. They expect a hotel to match up to their individual needs and not offer something that is readily available or can be bought off the shelf. So how can hotels personalize guest experience?

Property Management Systems can bring about enterprise level automation to any segment of the industry with the unlimited data storage. Information from reservation or during registration can be stored to be retrieved at a later time should they book again. Cloud data enables the information to be shared at other hotels within the chain leading to enhanced guest experience. Hotels today spend a lot of time and effort in creating guest history and updating guests personal information, studying guest behavior, mannerism along with their likes and dislikes.

In a survey done by Yahoo, 78% of guests desired for some kind of a personalization. The ways how a hotel can achieve this would be by:

1) Personalized emails
2) Courtesy calls in room
3) Post departure thank you emails
4) Online guest feed back
5) Guest designed services
6) Favorite newspaper/magazine addressed with name
7) Suggesting spa reservation
8) In-room check-in
9) Special services and amenities for women

However what could be a treat to one person could be inconvenience to the others. For e.g. an invitation for a dinner at the hotels premium restaurant to a family travelling with young children might not be interesting, but for a couple on their honeymoon this could be alluring.
Hotels are focusing on delivering a more intimate experience….taking it to the next level, while the physical structure of the room would remain the same, what changes is the services and amenities during the stay.

The “Mass” tactic to providing the same product to the entire guest cannot be a successful long term plan. Guest today is demanding and looks for products that define individual happiness. Streamlining the delivery mechanism around personalization will eventually lead to sustainability.

-Ms. Bindu Menon, Sr.Faculty, INLEAD

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