Developing strong relationships with your guests is a great way to be sure they will consider coming back to your hotel. The key to those strong relationships is getting to know your guests well, really well, and then personalizing your service to their tastes.
Technology makes this easier than ever. Nearly every digital service personalizes its offerings to its users. Google Maps remembers the places users have previously searched for. Eventbrite recommends events users may be interested in, based on their location and events they have gone to before. TripAdvisor highlights the hotel and restaurant reviews users’ friends have made.
Guests now expect personalized interactions when they travel. Here are some ways hotels can provide guests the highly personal service they want.
Balancing Privacy and Personalization
Some hoteliers are be concerned about finding the appropriate balance between guest privacy and personalization. Yet increasingly, travelers are willing to provide personal information in order to receive a more customized experience.
According to a 2015 hotel loyalty survey, more than half of travelers said they “don’t mind when hotels use my personal information to offer me relevant deals, discounts and loyalty points.”
The key there is relevant. If guests are offered services that are of value to them, most will not mind providing personal information.
This trend is likely to accelerate as millennials spend more and more on travel. By 2017, millennials will overtake the Baby Boomers as the generation that spends the most on travel, and it will become critical for the hospitality industry to offer them the tech-driven, customized hotel experience they want.
Eighty-five percent of millennials own a smartphone, making mobile technology an important way for hotels to provide a better guest experience.
There are many ways hotels can use mobile technology to provide a better guest experience. Keep in mind, the first step in any mobile offering is consistent and fast Wi-Fi. With a mobile app, or mobile responsive website, hotels can offer many mobile services. A few to consider:
- Offer mobile check-in. If airlines can do it, why not your hotel? You can go as far as providing kiosks for incoming guests to receive their keys – or offer keyless entry via smartphone apps.
- Allow guests to order room service at the touch of a button. An app could also remember past food preferences and allergies to keep the guest from providing the same information many times
- Turn guest phones into remote controls. At some major hotel chains, guests can use their smartphones to open their hotel room doors and access fitness rooms. Some hotels make it possible for guests to use their phones to control the room temperature and lighting, and change the channels on their televisions. It is only a matter of time before hotels allow guests to customize these settings before they arrive, ensuring the room is set up just the way they want it the moment they step through the door.
- Offer a digital concierge service. Hilton and Marriott recently released mobile concierge apps to provide new, convenient ways for hotels to take care of their guests and give them the information they need. Consider deploying your digital concierge, keeping in mind these do’s and don’ts.
Many of these steps not only personalize the services for guests, but also make your hotel more efficient and even save money. Offering mobile check-in reduces the burden on staff at the front desk, while keyless entry eliminates the cost of physical keys.
The trend of personalization in hospitality is not to be avoided – it’s to be embraced. Done right, technology-enabled personalization not only leaves your guest happy their needs are understood and met, but also helps your hotel run more smoothly and efficiently.