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Consumers today have grown to expect personalized experiences carefully curated to meet their needs as travelers. But, while better access to data and an increasing shift towards customer-centric thinking has enabled hoteliers to better understand their guests, most hotels are still behind in terms of being able to give guests what they really want.
The problem is that most hotels are looking at guests too generally, merging all guests into a single archetype when in reality there is an innumerable amount of defining characteristics that make up a customer’s persona. Forward-thinking marketers and hoteliers are finding ways to segment customers and build custom experiences around guests’ interests and preferences. This way, a business traveler meeting a client isn’t receiving the same activity recommendations as a family of four on vacation, and the rambunctious wedding party is getting a very different set of welcome emails than the weekend warrior in town for a marathon.
All guests are different, and in order to succeed in the increasingly customer-centric world, hotels need to customize experiences to meet a variety of needs. The first step for hotels to create better experiences on a more personal level, is through targeted guest marketing – an intelligent way to strategically group and predict the needs of customers. It’s a user story that can give insights to how the guests’ journey might take place. Take the following examples:
1. The Business Traveler
Always on the move, the business traveler is constantly jet setting to meet with clients and closing deals on the go. Hotels need to enable the business traveler to do what he needs to do: great business.
A personalized stay for the business traveler might start with the pre-arrival email, alerting the guest to the hotel’s mobile app, which offers all hotel services at the guest’s fingertips. He might also be notified of the hotel’s business center and offering upgraded Wi-Fi options. Before the business traveler even arrives, he’s put at ease knowing that if he needs a printer at the last minute or a reliable Internet connection to upload a presentation, he’s covered.
During his stay, the business traveler gets another email asking, “Need your suits dry cleaned?” and offers the hotel’s pickup dry-cleaning service. It’s followed up by another email – a list of the highest-rated restaurants and activities in the area where the business traveler can take his clients.
2. Leisure Travelers
Leisure travelers leave their worries at home. They’re out and about with friends or family, looking to explore and make the most out of a trip. Pre-arrival, the family of four receives an email recommending a local street fair with activities for the whole family. Back on the premise, they get another message about the hotel’s restaurant – which just so happens to have an amazing kid’s menu, plus a live band that the whole family can enjoy.
3. Group Travelers
Unsurprisingly, one of the most difficult trips to personalize doesn’t pertain to an individual, but to group travel. With more people, appealing to everyone becomes a more difficult task. However, with the right tools and targeting, hotels could effectively create custom experiences tailored to the audience.
Take a wedding for example. Before the big day, an email is sent out to the guests of the wedding with the time and venue information. A special message is sent to the bride and groom congratulating them. The twenty and thirty-somethings in the wedding party get an email the next morning with a list of hangover-friendly brunch restaurants, followed by a pithy follow-up reading, “Anyone else thinking about getting hitched? We’d love to host your wedding as well!” It’s the personalized touches that bring surprise and delight moments to guests and create opportunities for hotels to create long-term relationships with customers, all stemming from targeted guest marketing.
Looking towards the future
Looking forward, travelers will continue to expect a higher level of customized service and hoteliers who strive to bring that level of service will see the benefits of increased customer loyalty and revenue, since offers will be more relevant to the guest. New, forward-thinking software platforms such as inGuest, by Revinate, are enabling hoteliers to target guests more accurately. inGuest is a guest engagement platform that brings together social data, PMS data, POS data and customer feedback, among other data types, to build rich guest profiles, enabling hoteliers to better understand their guests and offer relevant services and communications.
At a time when guest-centric thinking and personalization has become a must for the travel industry, hotels have to stay ahead of the game in order to meet the needs of their customers. As technology continues to evolve, it’s clear that hoteliers have a pivotal choice to make: stick with tradition or take advantage of the solutions that will enable them to create the custom-tailored experiences that their guests really want. Targeted guest marketing is the first step.
This content is created collaboratively in partnership with our sponsor, Revinate.