The importance of the social aspect in your client’s experience
Re-imagine your hotel as a meeting point
Today’s travellers want memorable experiences. Even if those mainly concerned are Millennials, this desire is becoming more and more transgenerational.
As the globalisation of trade and the digitisation of services is growing, there is a desire for people to discover local experiences with real physical interactions. Travellers want memories of an authentic trip, one that can be viewed as closer to the lives of the local population.
The hotel business, which used to provide just a bed and breakfast, has since changed what it offers thanks to a boom in new-generation hostels such as: Jo&Joe, Mama Shelter, Vib of Best Western,Vīb, Tru by Hilton, MobHotel... These hostels try to attract not only travellers, but locals too in order to turn the hotel into a living place full of life and encounters.
This socialization of a customer’s trip can be established in several ways.
AN INTERNAL SOCIAL NETWORK
The primary purpose of social media is to connect people: in the case mentioned above, it could be used to connect people who are staying in the same place. This would allow guests to make contacts with each other throughout their trip. As well as connecting guests to each other, it could connect them to the hotel reception too, and allows travellers to have a good time with fellow travellers centered around common interests (playing sports, eating out, going for drinks, talking about books…).
For example, the social platform could be presented in the form of a chat, integrated into an app that travellers can download if they want (Marriott Six Degrees). Certain messaging systems specialise in, for example, business clients in order to facilitate networking. These apps make a lot of sense since as most single travellers are business tourists.
A calendar could also be integrated into this tool, which would allow the grouping of activities within the establishment and gives the possibility for customers to create these activities (visits, car-pool, ping-pong tournament,…). This is the case of mmv CLUB, the application of mmv establishments, developed by LoungeUp. This offers residents of the resorts the opportunity to sign up for the activities proposed by the establishment as well as also proposing activities for other guests to participate in.
From the user’s point of view
Customers creating their own profile on social platforms have certain reasons for doing so: having a drink, playing tennis with another guest, meeting other globetrotters…
This tool is a facilitator for people to meet each other on the spot. The user would see people connected who have made the same decisions as them and who are willing to appear in the application and therefore interact with other travellers.
As the hypermobile world of today is often applied in the context of work, 70% of users would be professionals on the move.
For maximum usability, downloading the app and the creation of a profile must be free, along with its uses to facilitate the sharing of plans or activities and the creation of discussions within the community. Furthermore, it could be possible to activate the app in the days coming up to the arrival of the guest.
From the hotel’s point of view
The hotel can also fill its profile with photos and information about the reception staff and the proposed future activities. A social network specific to the establishment makes it possible to renew an offer and to propose a more intimate stay.
The app also offers content and interaction to travelers who do not speak French or English by automatically adapting to the language of the device or by offering an integrated translation tool in the messenger.
For the hotel, it is a marketing tool because it promotes the use of the establishment’s services, such as the restaurant, the bar, the gym… Travellers could even mention it in customer reviews. Unconsciously, it contributes to the unforgettable character of the hotel: people remember a place where they met someone.
The logic would be that these features are just as accessible as the rest of the hotel’s services. Solutions that combine just as well both a social function and the reservation of services are preferred by many establishments rather than the use of many platforms, all doing a certain individual task (reserving the stay, organising meetings, asking for room service…) and would go against the primary goal of enhancing the guest experience.
OTHER TOOLS FOR SOCIALISATION IN A HOTEL ESTABLISHMENT
Meeting travellers in the same hotel is always interesting, but meeting locals whilst abroad makes the whole travel experience much more authentic. Many start-ups are willing to connect travellers with locals who ask to meet globe-trotters.
A local tour guide
The idea is to get in touch with a local so that they can show you the city on foot or by bike. These personal guides would share their local knowledge and tips without necessarily being tourism professionals.
They allow the discovery of a city with real locals, whether artists or architects. This is the case for Meet June, a platform that connects travellers and locals to provide an original experience. Cariboo.co and Tours By Locals also offer this service, with local tour guides in around 100 cities.
Attract locals into the hote
The goal is to mix travellers and locals together by making hotels attractive to surrounding locals. To do this establishments must, for example, reinvent food and beverage offers and innovate in organised events. The interest is to entice locals to use the hotel’s services without necessarily staying there. Accor Hotels already offers this by listing all the services and offers of their hotels nearby. ‘’Enjoy the hotels without staying there’’ whether for breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea, the gym, sauna, laundry, etc.
Transform the hotel into an area of activities and events
This is about opening up hotels to local communities, as well as using and optimising hotel spaces for communal activities, especially in the low season.
For example, by welcoming outside and professional services into the hotel: shoemaker, grocer, hairdresser…
Furthermore, transforming the lobby into an art gallery or concert venue is also a way to create a unique atmosphere whilst enriching the whole guest experience at the same time.
The Mob Hotel in Paris and Lyon, for example, regularly organise various events, from an introduction to a sport, a live concert, gardening or a creative workshops, these events are for everyone and attract customers such as the locals.
The Terrass' Hotel also offers many Yoga sessions suitable for everyone that can be booked online.
Create a coworking space
This place would be one of collaboration and networking, that’s why lots of coworking spaces are springing up today.
By rethinking the space of the lobby or the lounge bar and encouraging collaborative work, in addition to understanding that there is a real need for for the socialisation of business travellers of all generations, why not facilitate their needs? Roomforday lists working spaces in hotels (lobby, meeting room, suite or room), BoB, is a hotel of the brand Elegancia, which combines hotel and coworking, BoB being the acronym for Business on Board.
The days of the impersonal lobby, where the traveller would only check in and out, are over. The lobby has become the epicentre of everything that happens in the hotel, where the guests can relax, play, eat or drink. Some establishments rely on design and architecture to attain relaxation and exchanges, with sofas and benches encouraging travellers to share space and initiate a conversation.
Hotels that open themselves to the outside are winners in many ways.
Indeed, the locals who come to the hotel consume (bar, restaurant, spa, …) and furthermore, the atmosphere of the hotel becomes more lively and interesting, increasing customer satisfaction and the overall reputation of the hotel.
- [FR] Les Echos Start: Comment le tourisme se transforme pour plaire aux millenials
- [FR] Blog Mes Meilleures Vacances: Cet été, mmv se lance dans le collaboratif !
Written by Marylou
Photo Credits: Pexels
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