The keys to an ultra-personalised stay
Personalisation in the hospitality industry is by no means a new subject, however, travellers have constantly evolving expectations, and for hotels to keep up, the industry needs to be able to offer more than just personalisation; leading to ultra-personalisation.
What is “Ultra-personalisation”?
Personalisation has already been around for quite a few years, but as technology progresses, new possibilities appear. For hoteliers, technological developments around data, when used wisely, allow the possibility to offer an ultra-personalised stay to all guests.
Big data versus Smart Data
Historically, data collection gave us access to a huge amount of data: the famous ‘Big Data’. But alongside this came the problem of needing the resources to sort through all this data, selecting only what was useful.
Thus, data collection evolved with technology to become ‘Smart Data’ which only exports relevant data points, through which we can create a unique and personalised relationship and data profile, individual to individual.
How this leads to Ultra-personalisation
The correct use of Smart Data makes it possible to anticipate and accurately determine a customer’s desires. Where before, data collection was useful only for targeting similar customer profiles (business guest / leisure guest / regular or non-regular customer), it now allows for a more detailed analysis of each individual and how hotels can serve them specifically to offer an ultra-personalised experience and a more direct relationship.
Reasons to offer ultra-personalisation
The importance of ultra-personalisation can be summed up well by Richard Solomons, former CEO of IHG:
“Hotel brands have traditionally concentrated on being 2-D – how to be both global and local. But our research shows that the rise of personalization means brands must be 3-D [personalised, local, global] in order to build both trust and lasting relationships with guests and to win in a highly competitive global market.”*
With this change in customer expectations, hotels need to be able to satisfy them to hope to survive. Providing a personalised stay will meet some expectations, but going that extra-mile, using data cleverly and implementing them in all aspects of your guest’s stay, will help you exceed your guest’s expectations (ultra-personalisation).
In turn, the customer will be more satisfied, their desires having been met without even mentioning them. This fluidity of the guest experience inevitably generates higher levels of satisfaction and attachment.
… and loyalty
This attachment leads to loyalty. The more the guest is seduced, the more loyal they are, by either returning to your hotel, or recommending it in person or on review sites. These better reviews lead to higher prices, higher referrals, more direct bookings, and therefore a better margin.
How to offer ultra-personalisation
The first thing to do is to centralise all customer data, which is scattered in several places, into a single database. A CRM tool can collect data from the establishment’s PMS, emails & SMS messages, chats, restaurant software, wifi data, spa software, and even social media sites.
This data is then applied to the right customer, generating a unique guest profile that has gathered all the information available on the guest. These profiles can then, for example, be used to give a personalised welcome, or suggest offers or services pertinent to the interests of the guest.
The CRM tool not only allows you to gather customer data, but also allows the customer to make the most of their visit at each stage of their stay, thanks to emails and messages with activities, packages, services and offers, tailored to their tastes.
Adapting your messages will create more customer engagement and in return, recover lots of useful information to create a specific, high-quality guest profile. In fact, customers will most likely willingly give out personal data if it simplifies their life.
Teams in contact with customers can use useful information such as first names and birthdays to make interactions in your hotel more personalised and memorable. Additionally, emerging your hotel into the local area (creating links with businesses and people) can give you opportunities to suggest activities and visits to guests who’s guest profiles match the offered services.
Meet John Smith, 43
The easiest way to explain the concept of ultra-personalisation is by using an example:
John is a businessman
John is a Commercial Director, he comes to your establishment every 4 months to visit his biggest clients in Manchester. During his last stay he left a positive review on his room and his customer profile shows he ordered breakfast every morning at 08:30, thus we can assume he will do so again. Instead of sending him a standard email, the receptionist could, upon his arrival, directly offer to reserve him his breakfast for 8.30am and a taxi at 9am, as usual.
He liked the view in room 212
In the same fashion, once at reception, the receptionist could welcome him with a specific speech: ‘Welcome Mr. Smith, it’s nice to see you again, how are you since we last saw you? If I understand correctly, you liked the room you were in last time, would you like to stay there again?’
At the end of his stay, a personalized email can thank him for staying at the hotel again, as well as offering him a way to directly book a future stay at the hotel for a family weekend away.
Finally, why ultra-personalisation?
What all these actions have in common is that they intelligently use customer data from previous stays to anticipate guests needs, as well as provide the guest with a sense of being recognised and valued as an individual. It is also important to note that these are just a few ways in which you can improve customer satisfaction, and that many more are possible.
If there is one thing to remember about ultra-personalisation, it is that at its core, the guest needs to be addressed as an individual, rather than someone belonging to a profile.
Today, there are solutions that exist to consolidate existing data in the various hotel softwares and also data from interactions with customers. Customers are inclined to share data about them in return for an easier and more comfortable stay.
"guest experience" and "Customer data" are therefore closely linked.
Original quote: "Hotel brands have traditionally concentrated on being 2-D - how to be both global and local. But our research shows that the rise of personalization means brands must be 3-D [personalised, local, global] in order to build both trust and lasting relationships with guests and to win in a highly competitive global market."
- Fuel Travel: Travel Trends for 2017: Personalized Guest Experience
- Hospitality Upgrade: The Path to personalization - The Vision
- Forbes: This five star hotel builds fantastically loyal customers with seven memorable techniques
Written by Marylou
Photo Credits: Pexels
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