• EasyWay

The data at the frontier of the guest experience

Data has enabled hotels to reinvent products, provide insights to predict behaviour, delight customers, innovate and deliver exceptional guest experience

Roy Friedman, CEO and Co-founder of EasyWay, looks at the role that internal and external data and trends can play in the guest journey to take a proactive and engaged approach prior to their arrival and throughout their stay - to elevate the experience.

If the last decade can teach us anything, it’s that shifts in the dynamics of hospitality can occur in all shapes and sizes. As an industry, we are at the mercy of extrinsic forces. In the past it’s been due to weather patterns or security risks. Yet over the past two years we’ve had to navigate uncharted waters; react to changing government policy and travel restrictions, occupancy restrictions and implement new procedures to address health, safety and hygiene.

It’s how we address these situations internally that can empower our teams and deliver a positive guest experience. The industry is having to find robust solutions at pace to support overstretched staff while proactively responding to emerging situations to deliver an exceptional service. Simplifying the tech stack could deliver gains by connecting all data points, enabling hotels to communicate with guests more effectively.

Digitalising the guest journey

There’s already been huge advancement in evolving the guest experience. The development of digital touchpoints throughout the guest stay has provided timely information that helps guests feel attended to, eased operational challenges and enabled quicker response to changing situations.

However, for each guest their situations, their intentions and their expectations are all different. The more we understand how they’re feeling, the better we can provide a complementary service. As such, we need even more data in real-time.

Getting to know your guests to delight them

Once a booking is made, the journey moves from the booking surface to the first message the guest will receive from the hotel. That confirmation message already offers guests the ability to share the booking with other guests in the reservation. Each guest messaged can receive access to a unique URL with offers and experiences available to help them shape their stay and activities.

Hotels can ask guests, for example, what kind of minibar (Protein; Vegan; Organic etc) they would like in-room, and this enables hotel operations to tailor the room in advance of the guest’s arrival. When the guest arrives at the property, they are more likely to consume the minibar products as they are presented with preferred items. This has a direct positive impact on the Total Revenue, generating an additional $5-10 of revenue to the bottomline. The same applies for the offers and experiences that are offered to guests.

Why is guest sentiment important?

Guests are the lifeblood of our industry. Travellers are looking for more than just a bed to sleep in, they are looking for genuine experiences and to maximise the value from their hotel stay.

Delivering great experiences is what the service industry was built on. The more we understand and respond to each guest, the better we can enhance their experience and benefit from the knock on effects. Positive guest experiences help the hotel industry thrive. Customers are likely to spend 140% more after having a positive experience.

Tracking guest sentiment

Understanding guest sentiment hits your bottomline. Customer forgiveness alone can translate into a 4.2% revenue increase in a three-year period. Unfortunately, 66% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. We’re hoteliers not mind-readers but thankfully technology can help achieve this.

Guest sentiment can be tracked by identifying signals in messages; analysing words, phrases, punctuation and even emojis (in any language) to detect satisfaction levels or the guest’s mood. This provides staff with an immediate understanding of each guest’s situation, enabling them to respond accordingly. Through smart messaging, hotels are able to act to protect the brand’s reputation and prevent bad reviews by addressing a problem before it becomes a real issue for the guest. This is only possible through messaging, as 90% of all messages are opened within 3 minutes of receiving it.

Datasets generating revenue during the guest journey

The healthier your guest profiles, the more personalised you can make the guest experience. By building profiles from numerous data sets, you can support them in all situations.

Reservation data automates customer engagement touchpoints and segmentation can generate customised guest portals. These portals can feature relevant upsell experiences, provide online check-in and check-out, and review guest requests. Depending on length of stay, smart messaging can share updates or special offers tailored to the guest demographics. Data is helping hotels to better understand which products and services resonate with their guests. This intel can be used to package new offers, understand purchase behaviours and identify the highest value guests and, most importantly, adding and capturing value from every single guest.

Much like how users can inform Netflix of their preferred entertainment genres, one of our hotel customers wanted to better engage and tailor experiences with their LGBT guests through a Gay Thanksgiving campaign; within their Guest Portal guests could subsegment themselves to take advantage of relevant promotions.

Data is the future of the hospitality experience

When guest data is combined with external data sets, the digital guest experience can become a powerful tool for managing the in-person experience. The more we understand about the guest and preempt their situation before they arrive on property, the more chance we have to be one step ahead and provide seemingly intuitive customer service.

By integrating real-time flight data, we can monitor arrivals, delays and cancellations to proactively assist in rescheduling transfers or helping guests relieve their stress on arrival. Local traffic and transport reports can help executives grab a taxi when Uber’s busy. And hotels can improve their concierge service by tracking availability at local restaurants, attractions or events to ensure the guest doesn’t miss out on the ‘hottest’ experiences.

McKinsey reports that personalisation at scale can reduce marketing and sales costs by up to 20%, and if a hotel can respond to guests’ needs to deliver a positive customer experience, it can lead to a 10-15% boost in sales conversion rates.

Building the guest brand experience

Guests expect an experience. Automatic and scalable digital guest journeys free hotel staff from laborious tasks, giving them time to provide a more intimate and personalised physical experience. Smart messaging is enriching the guest experience with timely and relevant messages that can be triggered by guest engagement or through algorithms to detect changes in the guest’s journey.

Hotels are more than a bed. Aided by technology, hotels have the opportunity to be the central point of contact and experience for the traveller - from the moment they book to the moment they return home. Hospitality providers are able to utilise data to enhance guest satisfaction and drive revenues in a win-win for customers.

231 views0 comments