Tapping The Data Revolution – Top Tips For Investing In The Guest Experience
Anticipating, meeting and exceeding customer expectations are at the core of achieving guest satisfaction, but what is the best way to invest in the guest experience today and to help increase brand loyalty?
Leveraging data is the answer. To gain a more holistic 360-degree view of the customer, take the relevant information that has been collected throughout the entire customer journey in order to successfully provide personalized hospitality, cultivate deep guest loyalty, and raise revenue. Hospitality remains a people-centric business, and how properties interact with guests and deliver service as a result of the data is crucial. Here are top tips for how to invest in important consumer data and achieve game-changing results.
Capitalize On Loyalty
Loyalty programs are a treasure trove of opportunity. Create a meaningful loyalty program that stands for value, recognition and reward, and then maximize its potential by collecting guest preferences and compiling detailed profiles that drive market strategy. Offer customers specials based on their loyalty status and curated experiences shaped by their interests, especially ones that tie-in the local community for an enhanced sense of place.
Be cautious not to dilute the power of a loyalty program. One that is built on letting data sit stagnant, offers rewards that do not resonate with members, or doesn’t provide meaningful recognition whether guests are on- or off-property will not generate significant results. Best Western® Hotels & Resorts’ award-winning Best Western Rewards® loyalty program, which numbers nearly 40 million travelers, is one of the few programs where members earn points that never expire and can be redeemed at any Best Western-branded hotel worldwide, with no blackout dates.
Amass Data At All Touch Points
Gathering pertinent guest data is an on-going process across multiple channels. Collect information at all points during the customer journey – from pre-arrival, during their stay, and post-stay. Know why they are staying at your hotel, and examine booking behaviors, guests’ social media channels, trip reviews they’ve posted, and more to build comprehensive guest profiles, truly the new holy grail of hospitality. Appreciate that today’s travelers have many ways to communicate with a brand, so stay on top of your hotel’s Facebook and Instagram pages and other social media channels in order to improve service and satisfaction.
Attaining and examining customer insights gives way to predictive-based, targeted marketing that has a higher chance of delivering impactful results. By making sense of this abundant data, hoteliers empower themselves to proactively create appropriate offers, personalized campaigns and special experiences that resonate with customers’ interests. Connect with the customer before their stay, and start building the guest-hotel relationship. Amass as much guest data as possible, so hoteliers can adapt to evolving needs and expectations.
Follow The Feedback
Listening to your guests is paramount, but hotels can’t effectively do this unless they have a way to communicate with the customer. A guest feedback system creates an important two-way dialogue that allows hotels to anticipate guests’ needs based on data and past preferences, make personalized suggestions to enhance their stay, and execute unrivaled service delivery. Requests for services, like extra pillows or ordering room service – done. Need to ask the front desk or concierge about local experiences – done. Another benefit is streamlined operations to deliver greater efficiency, which makes for happier guests.
Best Western’s “mobile concierge” has been successfully implemented at more than 1,200 hotels in North America. It provides guests with a pre-arrival e-mail; the opportunity for mobile check-in prior to arrival, make requests, and purchase upgrades and amenities; capability for text messaging with hotel staff while on-site; a local digital concierge feature through TripAdvisor; and easy mobile check-out.
Security Is Paramount
With so much data being collected from consumers, hotels must ensure the safety of that information like never before.
Investing in data to elevate the guest experience demands that hotels guard that data with the highest possible security measures because breeches have devastating impacts. For some consumers, the loss of trust is irreparable. Customers may think hotels know more about them then they actually do, so it’s imperative to protect the data they give you. The more comfortable guests feel about giving information, the more information they’ll share with a trusted entity.
Invest In Face-To-Face Actions
Even with a focus on technology, hospitality remains a people-centric business. The wealth of customer knowledge collected must reside in a single source that can easily be accessed by staff members in order to enhance the guest experience during in-person interactions.
Guests appreciate and expect technology – from mobile check-in and in-room casting to using in-room tablets that let guests order room service, shop and more – but the human component is essential to enriching the hotel stay. Understand and document past preferences, so hotels can achieve unrivaled levels of personalization and attain loyalty.
Savvy hoteliers are gradually embracing the power of customer information and preparing for the travelers of today and tomorrow like never before. Invest wisely in mining, managing and maximizing the data to remain relevant to the consumer and both meet and exceed their expectations – it’s the “new normal” driving guest loyalty, hotel sustainability and profitability.