Creating Customer Engagement in a Customer-Focused Company

By Megan Wenzl Associate Editor, ReviewTrackers | April 23, 2017

A personalized guest experience is important in today's hospitality industry. Guests can voice their opinion about a hotel in seconds because of the Internet, and their feedback is contained in sources like social media sites and online reviews. Potential guests read this information when they are looking for where to stay on their next summer vacation.

Guests will post online reviews about their experiences. According to research by ReviewTrackers, 45 percent of hotel guests are likely to leave to a review after a negative experience, while 37.6 percent of hotel guests are likely to leave a review after a positive experience.

Guest feedback is not only there for guests to research to find the hotel, it is also there for the hotel executive to make sense of: the feedback contains information for executives to analyze and extract insights to that can help improve the guest experience. Relationships with guests are important for guest loyalty, and the type of relationship hotels develop with guests stems from an engaging and personalized experience.

Guest Loyalty Example: Boyne Mountain

When I was growing up my family went to the Boyne Mountain Resort every winter for ski weekends. We came from the congested Detroit area, so it was a relaxing, refreshing break from the city. We ate at the resort's restaurants. We went ice skating and tubing. We talked with the chairlift operators and skied on groomed trails. We had great instructors when my brother and I were learning to ski. We felt a connection to the resort. We became lifelong guests - so much so that when I was a senior in college, my parents even bought a condo at its sister resort, Boyne Highlands, where the same service was provided: a consistent experience across all of Boyne's resorts.

One of the reasons we went back to the Boyne Mountain every winter for many years was because of the guest service. The resort provided a positive, engaging guest experience. The lift operators were friendly - they knew me by name, they cared about their job, were passionate about snow sports, and they helped guests get on the chairlift safely. The engagement and relationships with the chairlift operators was evidence enough that this resort knew the importance of a personalized experience for their guests.

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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.