Technology Wake-Up Call
By Scott Rosenberger Senior Partner, Deloitte Consulting - Consumer and Industrial Markets | January 27, 2013
Co-authored by Maria Barton, a senior manager with Deloitte Consulting
New technologies (including mobile and digital, social networking, and "big data" analytics) are giving companies the power to get close to customers. For hotels, this can mean the end of generic post-stay surveys, bang-tail couponing, and promotion code prizes- offers that are a hassle to complete and non-engaging. Worse yet, old-style marketing says to a guest "we don't know you" and communication with that message may do more harm than good. When they feel they're not recognized and rewarded, today's consumers vote with their feet and wallets.
So, what can your business do now to wake up to technology's potential for promoting the brand, building guest loyalty, and increasing revenue?
Commit to a bold vision
In the hospitality industry, the "end game" of practical, applied technology is a 360° view of guest behavior - a view that provides insights about a guest's preferences and buying patterns; a view that enables personalized, targeted interactions which makes guests feel understood and special. With a 360° view, a hotel can connect with guests at multiple moments, in multiple ways, to deliver relevant offers. The vision is to be in perfect sync with guests, to anticipate their desires and respond with innovative service and, in doing that, forge bigger, better relationships. Both the guests and the staff are technology-empowered to act in the guest's best interests.
For example, while at the poolside a guest might receive messages on her smart phone - suggestions of dinner, a stop at the spa, family activities, or an evening at the nightclub - all based on the guest's particular interests and past actions. Reservations are made with a touch of the phone's screen or with a quick, direct tweet with a property representative or concierge. When guests are empowered with technology, engagement and revenue tend to increase. Every dollar spent can count towards credit in a loyalty account to make future transactions even more attractive. Certainly, technology is already enabling this kind of up-selling/cross-selling in retailing: why not in the hospitality industry? As consumers come to expect "special attention" all the time, what now seems radical - personal, in-the-moment, targeted messaging - likely becomes "table stakes" for hotels.