The Power of Personalization: Where Are We Now with Customer-Choice Pricing?
By Paul van Meerendonk Director of Advisory Services, IDeaS Revenue Solutions | November 2019
Last year, I wrote about the developing trend of customer-choice pricing in the hotel industry. With the promise of both guest satisfaction and profit improvements, the notion of instituting a personal, choice-driven approach to the sales process had become a hot industry topic. So, where are we now?
Let's first take a look at the hospitality and travel industry in general. For my work, I travel a lot-visiting clients around the world who are looking for ways to improve the way they manage their pricing and inventory-supporting hotels with everything from changes in technology to addressing the people and processes involved in the art and science of revenue management.
Naturally, when I travel, I also need to eat. Eating is a big thing globally-not just out of the necessity to nourish (and, well, basically to stay alive), but also for its social aspect and ability to reflect the cultural habits and trends of countries and regions.
In Europe, restaurants tend to have strong cultural ties. Great restaurants are plentiful, and there are a lot to choose from. They serve up local dishes in the way the restaurant wants them to be served. Personalization here often works by chatting with the waiter or the chef (either of whom could very well be the owner of the restaurant). Many relish the opportunity to provide diners with something new or different to suit their tastes.
Now, in the US this is a little different. There is an abundance of choice right from the start. Choose your protein, choose you sauce, choose your side, choose your drink…I dare say even choose your plate. This of course gives great freedom and suits many tastes. However, sometimes there is so much choice I am left either not knowing what to choose or just defaulting to the same familiar dish I always eat. In Asia, there is also a lot of choice, but culture there tends to dictate you share all dishes. Therefore you can overcome overwhelming choice by sharing the burden (or benefit) across your fellow dinner guests.
What makes all this possible? In restaurants there is direct interaction between the diner and the kitchen. Kitchens can adapt to what clients want without too much difficulty. Choice is easy, and the concept of "menus" offering different options is, of course, well known. This is personalization at its best.