Skill Sets Required to Manage the Hotel's (Digital) Customer Touchpoints: Collaboration Necessary

By Leora Halpern Lanz President, LHL Communications | November 18, 2018

Co-authored by Kimberly Kibler, Boston University School of Hospitality Administration

The Increasing Number of Hotel's Customer Touchpoints: The customer's booking and digital connection journey changes rapidly each day as new platforms are introduced and guests continually adjust their method of connecting with brands (as well as their expectations of the hotel companies). Thus, the number of touchpoints a customer uses to contact hotels, for a multitude of actions, continues to expand. From travel agent distribution channels to social media, online travel agencies and chat bots, the guest journey is far from linear. It is no longer a step-by-step process from marketing, to sales, to conversion. The journey has become an interwoven experience that guests expect to be efficient, positive, personalized, and value-driven.

Now more than ever, it is important that hotels maintain a cohesive, clear, and smooth experience for guests as they glide from platform to platform or hotel department to department. The customer's perspective is that all channels of online communication project one voice, whether the guest views content from the marketing team, discusses options with a sales representative, books over the phone, online, or through a distribution channel.

Technical advancements make the booking processes more detailed and personalized and allow hotel companies the opportunity to provide the highest level of customer communication.

In order for external and internal messaging to prove seamless, it is critical now than ever that hotels communicate as one integrated team and singular voice - focused primarily on the valuable guest experiences that lead to overall hotel performance growth.

The Multiple Skill Sets that Oversee these Touchpoints: Revenue management naturally, is an essential contributor to a hotel's performance, and its outcomes see opportunities grow with the number of consumer touchpoints. Unlike other industries, the nature of pricing dynamically allows hoteliers opportunities to provide the most fitting offer to a potential guest, but the trick is determining which offer best fits which guest, based on budgeting and performance goals.

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The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.