Personalizing the Guest Experience to Win Loyalty

Feb 4, 2014 10:37:29 PM

From having your favorite coffee brand in your room to telling the hotel staff exactly what type of pillow you would like upon arrival, hotels are stepping up their personalization game. Millennials get a lot of credit for demanding personalized serviced, but we think the most credit should go to technology.

It started with the emergence of social media and grew exponentially with the proliferation of smartphones. Facebook truly revolutionized the way we connect online. Jump forward 10 years and Facebook seems to be pioneering personalized advertising that users are actually clicking on.

As mentioned in this Forbes article, 25-30% of online shoppers, were interested in customization options, but only 10% had ever tried them. The article also suggests that Individually tailored messaging creates more engaged consumers; they visit businesses' websites more frequently, stay on pages longer, and are more brand-loyal overall.

In a recent HotelNewsNow.com article, John Wallis of Hyatt Hotels Corporation says, “We as an industry are at a turning point in our game...we haven’t changed structures in hotels for the better part of 50 years…” Traditional loyalty programs are morphing to include more personalized services. “Personalization equals loyalty,” says Lee McCabe, Facebook’s global head of travel. “You're not marketing to cookies...You’re marketing to people.”

Although personalization doesn’t come cheap, traditional marketing is quickly fading and hotels need to update their loyalty strategies in the next six to nine months to stay relevant says McCabe. Some great personalized services currently used in hospitality include self check-in, mobile apps, and social concierges.

“You can throw away the book about everything you did in the past….a lot of it is understanding how you use the data to effectively make somebody feel recognized, wanted, appreciated, and then they’ll come back,” says Wallis.

How are you personalizing the guest experience at your hotel?