Interest in budget travel is on the decline.
Shocking, I know. Especially when you consider how the rise of E-commerce, OTAs, and price transparency changed the way hotels conduct business. But things are changing yet again.
Travelers are seeking more authentic experiences.
They’re looking for experiences tailored to meet their needs and preferences. And they’re willing to pay for it. According to this 2017 Accenture Strategy report, “58% [of consumers] would switch half or more of their spending to a provider that excels at personalizing experiences without compromising trust.”
In order to compete in the oversaturated hospitality marketplace, hotels need to offer more than just a good deal. Hotels can differentiate themselves by providing personalized experiences that engage travelers at each touchpoint along the guest journey. It’s a way to connect with guests, build trust, and establish relationships.
If you’re looking for a powerful way to connect with guests, scent marketing can help you differentiate your brand with a complete sensory experience. But there are some simple strategies for on-site personalization that you can implement right now.
Of course, technology and data should drive your approach to guest personalization. But the challenge is optimizing that collected data and moving the information gathered into assets that execute on the promise of personalization.
Use these tips to create personalized experiences that will have guests coming back—and singing your praise on social media.
Know Your Position
Start by knowing where you stand in the hospitality marketplace.
Who are you and what value do you have to offer guests that no one else can deliver on? More to the point, why are guests traveling to your destination?
Knowing your position in the local and global travel market allows you to harness what brings guests to your door in the first place. For instance, if guests are traveling to your area to experience the unique local culture, bring local flavor to your guests by offering samples of local cuisine or host a local artist to share their work.
The (Customizable) Total Package
Now more than ever, guests are looking to avoid the tourist traps and have more authentic experiences. They want to dine with the locals and see their chosen destination from the inside.
Partner with local businesses to create customizable packages for guests. Consider your data (and your knowledge as a local insider) to create experiences that will resonate with your guests. Remember that guests are looking for Instagram-worthy experiences. Create packages that will give them something remarkable to share.
The other benefit of creating packages?
If priced correctly, they can be an excellent source of additional revenue—for both you and the businesses you partner with.
A Room of One’s Own
Customization can go all the way to the guest rooms. Offer in-room upgrades that address a guest’s unique needs. Things like a pillow menu which allows guests to choose the firmness of their pillows, a choice of in-room internet speed, or choice of fragrance for the room (with the use of a product like ScentAir’s ScentSticks) can help make guests feel more at home.
Or take it to the next level by leaving a personalized treat for guests upon arrival.
Often, upgrades like these can lead to guests feeling more rested and more prepared to take on their day. And there’s no better reason to be loyal to a hotel than getting a great night’s sleep while away from home.
Wasted Space Is a Waste of Potential
If you have unused space in your hotel, think about what services you could add that would make your guests’ stay better—or more meaningful.
Getting the most out of every square-foot can be as simple as setting up a snack bar. But some of the most impactful uses of space are adding spa services, luggage storage facilities or laundry service.
Create opportunities for guest to mingle with on-property activities. Explore your guest demographics and host special events, tailored to your guests' needs and interests.
Cater to a lot of business people? Try hosting a networking mixer for those who might be alone in their rooms.
If your hotel serves more families, a well-timed social event for kids can be a great opportunity for kids and adults to mingle. You can plan something as simple as a pool party with family-friendly music. Or take it to the next level with an ice cream social or cupcake decorating party.
This is the time to revisit your positioning and use it to maximize your guests’ experience.
Personalization is a Team Effort
The simplest way to implement personalization?
Getting the whole team involved. Greet guests by name. Ask them questions. Give them suggestions. Your team members are local to the area and know all the best spots. Share information with guests and make them feel like an insider.
It’s free, easy, and, frankly, just good customer service.
The overall goal of personalization is giving your guest value that goes beyond the rate of the room. Provide guests with experiences tailored to their needs. They’ll pay you back in loyalty.
Which of these tips will you use to personalize service at your hotel?
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McGuire, K. A. (2016). Hotel pricing in a social world: Driving value in the digital economy. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Wollan, R., Barton, R., Ishikawa, M., & Quiring, K. (2017). Put Your Trust in Hyper-Relevance (Rep.). Retrieved February 19, 2019, from Accenture Strategy website: https://www.accenture.com/t20180219T081429Z__w__/us-en/_acnmedia/PDF-71/Accenture-Global-DD-GCPR-Hyper-Relevance-POV-V12.pdf#zoom=50