Staying Relevant with the Guest is the Holy Grail of Personalization
By Nancy Wiesenfeld Vice Presidentt of Strategic Accounts, iPerceptions | April 02, 2017
The hospitality industry is in a constant state of evolution. As new players enter the landscape, from properties to boutique hotels to online peer-to-peer marketplaces, hospitality brands continuously look for creative ways to win guests by competing on price, amenities, loyalty program benefits and other perks. With so many options to consider, it is becoming increasingly important to stay relevant with the consumer at each point of their brand journey in order to promote conversion and foster loyalty. The latest platform for differentiation is in delivering the best customer experience. This has led to large investments in personalization efforts and solutions, so that brands can delight their guests and foster a strong brand connection.
Personalizing the Experience for the 'Unknown' Audience
Thanks to enhancements in technology, hotels now have access to more data and intelligence on their guests than ever before. Data is being collected across the customer lifecycle from booking to check-in to loyalty program profile information. With this data, brands are able to recognize guests when they enter their hotel, ensure their room reflects their preferences, send them appropriate content and promotions in line with their profile and lifestyle. It also allows brands to communicate with consumers directly throughout their stay (as well as before and after) in order to ensure that their expectations are met and even exceeded.
However, this level of personalization applies to actual hotel guests - or what is referred to as a brand's "known" audience. What about a hotel's "unknown" audience - those that have not booked yet? This unknown audience is most likely in the research or "dream" phase of their trip - considering locations, hotels, price, amenities, etc. Indeed, hotel brands leverage many different technologies and data to personalize the experience of their unknown audience. However, since little, if anything, is known about this audience, the data is limited to the behavior they exhibit on a website, and then rules are applied to inform various marketing technologies based on that behavioral data alone.
The result is that the personalization net is cast very wide, where the initiatives that some consumers are exposed to might not be entirely relevant. How many times have consumers made a purchase and then been retargeted soon thereafter to purchase that same product? Or been on a website's support section for a product they have, and then retargeted with an ad to purchase that very same product?
This lack of congruency means that there is an opportunity to further optimize personalization efforts and strategies by providing more granularity on a brand's unknown audiences. And that opportunity lies in leveraging Voice of the Customer (VoC) data. By further informing customer profiles and segments with VoC data, hotels can put the most compelling content and offers in front of their audiences, so that brand interest, and ultimately conversion, are secured.
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