Hotels want to get personal with guests and need to use data to do so.
NB: This is an article from IDeaS
However, guests’ preferences have been in constant flux over the past three years, creating challenges for hotels looking to provide the new levels of personalization travelers are coming to expect in this new tech-dominant era.
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Operators, meanwhile, are finding the best way to connect with travelers personally by examining their spending habits on the road through data analysis, helping hoteliers identify what matters most to travelers, how they define personalization today and how to deliver it to them.
The unlikely part of this story is how integral revenue management has become to providing true personalization to the hospitality industry. Thanks to their position—at the crossroads of the majority of the most impactful guest data—revenue managers have been tapped to lead the charge for developing new levels of personalization across the industry. Pricing, sales, distribution and market mix channel data are vital to the essentials behind revenue management. As of today, revenue leaders are in one of the best positions to understand how data continues to impact the guest experience.
Suppose hoteliers want to connect with guests in 2023. In that case, they need to look at new key performance indicators and emerging data points impacting purchasing decisions to prioritize their efforts.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Why are guests staying at specific hotels?
- More importantly, what is drawing them to specific regions?
- Where are your ideal travelers originating from, and what is the cost of acquiring them?
- What is a traveler’s total budget while on the road, and where are they spending?
Once hoteliers begin to collect data that answers these questions and apply the foundational basics of revenue management to their findings, it’s possible to create microsegments that can be targeted and priced individually, increasing the level of personalization offered to guests in addition to growing revenue.
Serving Attributes in Small Doses
Revenue management’s goal through microsegmentation is to attract and appeal to guests and improve the distribution landscape, which is most effectively achieved by providing more personalized and relevant offers and packages during the booking process. A customized offer or package may include room types, amenities, services, and prompts based on a guest’s past experiences. Personalized packages can also exclude attributes these guests would be opposed to purchasing, and they do all of this on the back of a hotel’s revenue management data.
Personalization today is defined by flexibility and choice. By offering more enticing options, hotels can make selling these services to guests much more straightforward. When tied to a strong marketing campaign informed by consumer data, they can provide the personalization travelers are craving. Meeting these needs will take the form of attribute-based shopping (selling individual elements of a guestroom or hotel experience during booking) in small doses.
Attributes abound in the hotel guestroom, but operators must think beyond the guestroom to offer true personalization to guests. For example, hotels can provide an expanded prearrival experience before check-in, different options for extended checkout and other benefits. Every hotel can tap into these attributes as upsell opportunities in addition to any of the bespoke offerings each hotel uniquely provides. Operators should dig deep into their property, the local area, and the data informing guests’ desires to maximize their upselling potential in the new year.
New Era of Digital Maturity
Travelers, like hoteliers, have become much more accustomed to using technology throughout their daily lives. Before the pandemic, hotels may have expected guests to require some degree of handholding to navigate the booking process successfully. Today, travelers are much more digitally mature, and their first port of call when booking is the internet. Hotel companies and operators must commit more to investing in their digital presence to continue enticing travelers to their properties. Higher-quality images, direct messaging, and targeted packages will be necessary for hotels to remain competitive in this new era of tech reliance.
Most importantly, consumers are coming to expect this level of engagement across every business’ physical and digital real estate. Brands of every size and location expect to interact with guests on their terms. Offering guests agency, choice, personalization and more excellent service go hand-in-hand today.
Once hotels have adopted this mentality, they can look at their entire property as a total asset, not a collection of guestrooms connected by public spaces—and in some cases, a restaurant or two. This way, operators can tap into the full potential of a hotel asset truly, but to get there, it requires an advanced data creation strategy supported by good data hygiene, all supported by revenue management.