The Wired Hotel: Getting to Know Your Visitors

By Jerry Tarasofsky CEO, iPerceptions Inc. | January 27, 2012

Understanding who your web site visitors and customers are, what they want to do, how they tend to behave and if they've had a rewarding experience at your web site does not necessarily have to be a complicated process.

To develop a deeper understanding of who your visitors are and learn how to create a site that accommodates their wants and needs, you should now or in the very short time commit to the ongoing development of a solution to monitor customer satisfaction and their web site experience.

Let's face it - web sites are designed by people, for people. For a site to succeed, it must attract and please your visitors and customers. If a site is intended for, or targeted to a particular type of visitor, then the appeal and functionality of your site must be optimized for that type of individual. If your site is intended for a particular type of visitor ie. a business traveller, then an obvious measure of the site's success is the extent to which the business traveller's needs and desires are met. When you get right down to the basics, the best way to understand if that business traveler's needs were met is to ask them.

On the net, the visitor is king and you should be using your site to engage them in a dialogue. You can't assume by simply watching what they do that you know what they are thinking. Even more important, every opportunity you give your customers and visitors to interact with you is another opportunity to extend your relationship with them and increase lifetime customer value. It builds goodwill and fosters a sense of community that is so critical if you want to increase visit frequency to your site.

There are many ways to get to know your visitors.

The first and most obvious is to ask them for input. Why not place a "feedback" button on every page of your site or in the site's navigation bar. Every touch point is another opportunity to collect visitor feedback. Depending on the nature and structure of your site, you may want to solicit customers, visitors, or both. If you do provide this feature you must ensure that people who have submitted comments or require feedback receive response within 24 hours. It is also an excellent idea to acknowledge their feedback, even by using auto-responder type e-mail.

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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.