Meaningful engagement or just communication? What does it takes to genuinely connect with travelers?
With the rise of mobile and digital, consumers have higher and higher expectations for interacting with companies digitally.
To fill the need, a plethora of “engagement” technology companies have surfaced within the travel and hotel space. Some are exceptionally innovative, while others are just following along for the ride.
Type “Guest Engagement” into Google and there are a myriad of companies stating that their product will enhance guest engagement and help drive loyalty and revenues. It seems almost too easy.
The real question is whether these brands are indeed engaging travelers and guests – or just enabling communication? There is an enormous difference between the two.
Engagement using technology requires the enablement of a two-way relationship between the provider of the service and the user of that service. It supports the consumer’s need to feel special and it is tailored to their desired amount of attention.
Guest engagement is appropriately defined as “emotional involvement or commitment”. By providing interaction capabilities to connect with the traveler or guest on an emotional level, you can increase revenue and loyalty, without the need to entice them with fledgling loyalty memberships or reduced pricing for products or services.
The main problem lies with the fact that technology providers think that simply sending an SMS text message with an offer to a consumer’s mobile device qualifies as engagement.
This is not engagement; this is sending a one-size-fits-all message intended to upsell them. Though it may open up an opportunity for engagement, it is far from what is required to genuinely connect with the traveler or guest. The same principle can apply to the many online check-in solutions.