In recent years, technology has become exceedingly integrated into our daily lives and the hospitality sector is moving quickly to keep up with this pace of consumer technology adoption.
Driving this trend is that guests simply expect high-touch services, combined with a high level of personalization – at their fingertips at all times. Hoteliers now have a major opportunity to provide the right innovations for increasing guest loyalty and overall revenues. In other words, the expectation is a Frictionless Guest Experience™.
From booking to checkout and beyond, guests must be fully satisfied throughout the entire lifecycle. This often starts with tools that anticipate guests’ needs before they even arrive. Essentially, this means meeting guests’ needs before they even know what they want.
Traditionally, the guest data required to provide insights for delivering personalized top-quality services came from “post-experience” feedback. However, the challenge with using this method is that it falls short in truly understanding the customer’s persona and behaviors.
A better method is to use data and analytics from actual behaviors and in-experience reporting rather than post-experience surveys and pre-experience questionnaires.
This is where a Predictive Guest Marketing™ system (PGM) comes in. PGM looks not only at the persona, behaviors and experience ratings of the guest, but also takes into consideration the same data points gathered from guests with similar personas. It can also create an intelligent query for the guest’s persona that can be triggered on demand.
In a now famous example of PGM, a few years ago, Target, like many other major brands wanted to know how they could win the loyalty of pregnant women. The only problem was that they had no way of knowing which women were pregnant, or so they thought. As it turns out, before most women tell a larger population of friends that they are pregnant, they start buying particular products. By using predictive analytics and studying in-transaction data, Target was able to predict with a 90 percent degree of certainty which of their customers were pregnant long before competitors were able to learn from traditional data repositories.
PGM starts by enticing the potential guest before they plan a trip by applying analytics and CRM technologies to better understand the needs they have in common with others and those which are unique to the guest and or their family. It continues to anticipate and predict these needs through checkout and beyond.
PGM gathers the most important data during the stay. For example, it looks at whether a guest rated an activity within the brand community, if they stayed long enough to complete the activity, and if they rate the activity outside the brand community using other social tools. It also looks at how often the guest breaks appointments. All of these behaviors are used to enhance subsequent offers. Using the app and eConcierge, the guest can request extra pillows, and even make dinner reservations.
Finding new and innovative ways to enhance the guest experience is a foundational pillar of the hotel industry. What’s strikingly different today, however, is the ever-accelerating pace at which technology is driving such improvements. By using PGM, hoteliers can increase loyalty by anticipating needs and making targeted, timely and personalized offers to guests.