Capitalizing on the Convergence of Social, Behavioral, and Technological Trends

By Ashish Gambhir Co-founder , newBrandAnalytics | October 07, 2012

The convergence of social, behavioral and technological trends are defining a new way for hotels to interact with data and people. Will you and your business be ready? Hotels that use analytics to decipher online feedback are well positioned to deliver a superior quality experience and earn continuous customer loyalty.

A trio of trends is converging on the hospitality industry. One-way, brand-driven communication is being rapidly replaced by a wave of social, behavioral, and technological trends that are changing the way hotels do business. At the center of these converging trends is your customer. Connected, discerning, informed, and empowered, today's customer has taken control of their relationship with your hotel. Understanding how these trends are impacting your business, and being prepared and ready to capitalize on them, will give your hotel the competitive advantage needed to survive and thrive in a constantly evolving landscape.

Today's Customers are Social

Your guests are increasingly going online to talk about their experience at your hotel and, at the same time, travelers are tapping into their online network for advice on purchase decisions. With 77% of travelers saying online reviews influence their purchase decisions, social recommendations are today's most powerful marketing asset. (Source: Deloitte)

For Millennials (a generation that by 2017 will have more buying power than any other), the opinions of others like them-particularly those with direct experience with the brand, product, or service- carry even more weight than insights from friends and family members, according to new research from Bazaarvoice. Raised on a diet of social media:

• 86% say user generated content (UGC) is generally a good indicator of the quality of a brand, service, or product.

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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.