Hospitality Trends: Here's How Technology Is Transforming The Guest Experience
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Technology is changing how we interact with brands, and brands need to embrace a customer centric strategy that personalizes interactions through technology and guest data to improve customer satisfaction and experience. Hotels and other hospitality businesses need to harness the power of immense data being generated by purchases and interactions to create hyper-personalized experiences that will keep guests engaged.
More importantly, the guest wants to remain in control of the experience - hospitality businesses need to anticipate guest preferences in line with data that is collected about them, and create end-to-end experiences that result in delighted guests, and increased revenue for hotels.
The advent of the experience economy
Modern travelers are looking for experiences, not just a flight, a room or an activity. There’s a definite shift in guest expectations - guests are looking for purchase options that cover a larger part of their journey including experiences outside the hotel, food and attraction recommendations, wellness options etc
Case in point, ‘bleisure’ was not a term that existed in previous years, but the term signifies guests that may travel for business, but are also looking for leisure activities. These shifts in guest expectations are what need to be addressed by hospitality businesses.
The experience economy spreads across accommodation providers, airlines, travel agencies (and OTAs),, activity providers and attractions. There is an opportunity around these players to collaborate and offer unified end to end experiences to their guests.
OTAs have been proactive in weaving unified guest experience. OTAs, for example, immediately begin to suggest taxis, hotels etc. after booking a flight. Hotels can also be a part of the experience economy, and add ancillary revenue or experience revenue in addition to room revenue.
Prediction vs. Anticipation
In the example of OTAs, you see personalized suggestions based on your destination of travel, and possibly even tours or experience packages in the destination city. ‘Suggestions’ here is the key. As predictive analytics are starting to be integrated into a lot of business processes, it is important to keep personalized suggestions close to guest expectations.
Hospitality businesses need to do a better job of anticipating guest needs before they have to ask for them, by offering relevant suggestions based on their past actions and behavior, instead of trying to deliver based on prediction.
For example, simply delivering a pre-ordered lunch to the guest room at the usual time without the guest asking for it is intrusive, and takes control away from them. However, if the hotel anticipates that the guest will want lunch of a specific cuisine within a specific time period based on collected preferences and sends them options they’re more likely to pick, the guest remains in complete control of their experience. What’s more, suggestions like these make guests’ stay more convenient, and they are more likely to order one of the options presented to them - generating more revenue for the hotel. This is the ideal win-win situation. AI enabled anticipation is the key here, not just predictions.
Looking ahead - Integration of AI and deep analytics
So what does all this mean for guest experiences? With the integration of AI, and data analytics models, guest experiences are going to become hyper-personalized, and will become increasingly curated to each guests’ specific preferences based on past data collected across multiple platforms. Subsequently, these types of experiences will increase revenue for hospitality businesses, and will give them insight into how to engage with guests at every point of their journey. Products accomplish this through AI and analytics, and allows hoteliers to create hyper-personalized experiences that exceed guests’ expectations.
Deep analytics will allow hospitality businesses to review their performance and identify areas of improvement - thus improving their operational efficiency. AI is here to stay, businesses that are implementing AI and predictive analytics within their processes are already reaping the benefits. Guests want convenience and are looking for great experiences; we need to make sure we’re ready to not just meet their expectations, but blow them out of the water, and the only way to do that is to embrace new technologies.