Achieving Hospitality Excellence in Every Hotel Customer Journey
Hospitality today is centered around creating 1:1 traveler experiences. To do so, hotels, casinos, travel sites, and car rental companies must focus on nurturing travelers at each stage of their customer journey: delivering personalized and relevant offers and insight before bookings and arrival, providing value-added and timely information during their trip, and using post-trip data to follow up after their travels and encourage them to return.
Automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) allow hotels to glean information needed to deliver a relevant and timely travel experience from end-to-end. Let’s take a look at what personalization looks like throughout the three stages of a hotel guest’s journey.
Before the Trip: Proactive Intervention & Behavioral Information
The customer journey starts well before a traveler sets foot on a hotel’s property. As travelers begin to perform research for a trip, hospitality providers can pair in-the-moment insight with historical data to engage and delight potential travelers. An Epsilon study found that 87 percent of consumers are more likely to book with travel brands offering personalized experiences.
Consider the following scenario: Bob, a frequent traveler, often enjoys a long Fourth of July holiday weekend away with his 4-person family at the beach. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and has yet to book a trip this year.
Utilizing predictive insights, a travel site Bob has used in the past recognizes he is likely to book a beach vacation in the coming weeks. The travel site deploys an email that says, “Check out the top 5 beach towns for Fourth of July weekend.” Bob opens the email and clicks on a link to Hilton Head, South Carolina—providing the personalization platform insight that he may be interested in this destination. Later when Bob visits the travel site, the homepage has been tailored to feature hotels in Hilton Head. Bob subsequently books a hotel with amenities like on-site daycare, a playground, and family-friendly restaurants, indicating the importance of a kid-friendly environment for his experience.
During the Trip: Location-Based Services & Real-Time Recommendations
While many travelers book core aspects of their trip—such as flights and accommodations—ahead of time, they may wait until they are on-site to plan their day-to-day activities. According to a report by Google, nearly nine out of 10 travelers expect providers to share relevant information while they’re on their trip, and 67% feel more loyal toward a company that shares information that improves their travel experience.
To create memorable guest experiences, hospitality providers should leverage data from prior bookings, environmental context, and in-the-moment actions. For instance, after Bob and his wife drop their children off at the on-site daycare, they take a walk through an area with multiple restaurants and bars. Using geo-fencing, the hotel sends a notification to Bob offering a “2 for 1” drink special that inspires the couple to stop by the hotel’s pub. This in-the-moment outreach increases the likelihood of conversion—three out of four consumers complete an action after receiving a relevant message when approaching a specific location.
Environmental-based intelligence also empowers hospitality destinations to provide customers with relevant updates and alerts throughout their stay. If Bob booked a sailboat excursion and the weather indicates strong thunderstorms, the hotel could alert Bob and offer to switch his booking to the next date. This real-time insight and automated intervention eliminates the hassle of last-minute changes for guests.
After the Trip: Maintaining the Connection
The guest experience doesn’t come to an end when the trip is over—hospitality providers should extend the personalized customer experience even after they arrive home.
Reliving and memorializing the vacation experience is important for travelers in the digital era. Nearly one-third of millennials said that posting vacation photos online is just as important as the trip itself. Hotels should connect with guests after the trip encouraging them to upload photos, write a review, and browse hashtags that reflect their time spent at the locale. Reviews are especially important—49% of leisure guests and 43% of business guests regularly share opinions on their most recent travel experiences on social media, and 96% of travelers say reviews are an important part of their hotel search. Engaging travelers post-trip ensures positive memories remain, and encourage them and their friends to visit again in the future.
Personalization is the Key to a Successful Hospitality Experience
Extending personalization throughout the vacation planning, arrival, and post-trip experience provides a holistic experience for guests that encourages them to come back time and time again.
With ZineOne, hospitality leaders are enabled to understand and respond to every traveler’s unique needs and requests. Our AI-powered Intelligent Customer Engagement (ICE) platform allows hospitality providers to respond in-the-moment—whether that moment is before, during, or after a trip—with relevant 1:1 customer engagements that encourage outcomes. Contact the ZineOne team today to learn how our platform can help you achieve powerful customer insight.