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Preparing for The Modern Guest

Nov 19, 2013 10:27:19 PM

A recent report from Hudson Crossing gives us a detailed look into how the online leisure travel market is changing as we prepare to head into 2014. Here’s a summary of their findings:

  • Millenials, who now make up a majority of the travel market, are largely brand-disloyal
  • The growth of mobile usage presents an opportunity for hotels to discover new marketing channels
  • Almost all guests shop and book on either OTA sites or via supplier (brand) websites, not both
  • OTA’s are usually used for last-minute bookings, while supplier websites yield more advance bookings

The main group consists of individuals from Gen Y, ages 24 to 36. They are mostly brand agnostic—staying at multiple chains throughout the year, and prefer personalized service, 24/7. The report says being data-rich isn’t sufficient and hotels should seek to understand shopping and booking habits to convert these “free agents” into loyal guests. Other demographics to note:

  • Most guests are of modest, middle incomes, earning less than $50k
  • Only 2 in 5 guests claim loyalty to a specific hotel brand
  • More than 30% of loyalty members booked outside of their brand
  • On average, guests do 5 to 9 Internet searches before booking

Connecting with Technology

Mobile is expected to be travel’s most important technology tool for the next 3 to 5 years. The consumer culture has shifted with the ability to customize mobile devices and the inclusion of geo-technology (think apps with personalized settings). Travelers spend hours every day on smartphones and other mobile devices communicating via social media, email, etc. Mobile-enabled marketing help hotels stay connected with guests through every stage of their trip, from pre-arrival to post checkout.

Top 3 Takeaways

Hudson Crossing’s report encourages hotels to leverage guest data to better target guests, which will ultimately improve the guest experience – here are the top 3 takeaways that will help accomplish just that:

  • Create a remarketing strategy to capture and convert site visitors that don’t finalize a booking
  • Collect, organize, and utilize as much data as possible to personalize the guest experience
  • Instill a brand standard of guest communication among your staff with ongoing reminders

Competition for hotels is high. By targeting guests and effectively personalizing guests’ experiences with technology, including mobile, hotels can elevate their brands’ visibility with travelers. In turn, consistent brand messaging and service will help keep and attract desired business.

How are you personalizing your guests' experience?