What Guests Want Now: Personalization

coffee_or_teaWouldn’t it be great if your airline and hotel automatically knew you were a window-seat lover who never checks bags, prefers a firm mattress, and Earl Grey over coffee?

According to Skift, personalization in travel is quickly becoming something customers expect. They want unique experiences tailored to their priorities and preferences and control over their itineraries.

As travelers use an ever-growing number of sites, social media, and transactional tools to research, book, and review their trips online, they’re creating tons of data. Recently, we’ve heard a lot about how technology companies are starting to use this “Big Data” to help businesses in the travel space create personalized experiences for guests.

Businesses that are able to provide more personalized experiences for guests are seeing an increase in conversion rates, revenue, and loyalty. So, let’s see what this personalization craze is all about …

Being a data detective

By tracking consumers digital data you can begin to understand their travel habits. Look for patterns: Is there a certain region of the world they seem to favor? How long do their trips typically last? How much do they spend on average per night at a hotel? What times of year do they travel? How many are they booking for? Is it a romantic getaway for two, a business trip, a solo reflective retreat or a family vacation? Do they lean towards adventure, relaxation, or extreme luxury?

Having access to this data will allow you to cater to guests’ needs like never before. GDS Amadeus and Big Data SaaS company Boxever are just two companies compiling data from every corner of the travel industry to help hospitality and travel businesses to get to know their guests more intimately. (Not like that.)

Knowing your guests’ demographics, how they came to your site, and personal preferences can also help you market to them like the individuals they are. Would you market to a Brooklyn hipster the same way you would a Sarasota snowbird?  Nope. Knowing how to alter your messages when targeting different demographics is crucial.

According to an Amadeus study, customers don’t mind sharing some info about themselves to get more personal service—four out of 10 travelers are willing to share data in the interest of personalization. If you’re not already, try emailing your guests a follow-up survey after their stay, along with a link to your listing on TripAdvisor so they can rate and review you. Always include a picture of whomever is sending the email in the signature line.  This helps to reinforce your relationship with the guest.

Our customers have access to robust analytics in the BackOffice of our cloud-based software. Viewing guest behaviors such as which pages brought them to a hotel’s website, where they were browsing before they booked, and what devices they’re browsing on can also help hoteliers develop a deeper understanding of how your guests shopping habits and what they’re looking for in a hotel.

Get personal

Big Data not in the budget?  Try lurking in dark corners to eavesdrop on your guest’s thread-count choice. Just kidding. Unless you’re that creepy.

You can start with small touches such as knowing your guest’s preference between coffee and tea. Customized amenities are a key element to personalizing your guest’s stay.

Do you see your guests frequently reading a certain magazine, or newspaper? Take notice of  what kind of drinks they’re ordering at the bar. If Ms. Davis is often seen sipping prosecco and reading AFAR in your lounge, have those waiting in her room upon her check in.

According to a Skift news report, select hotels are making strong efforts to customize guests stays towards their preferences. The Four Seasons has their guests choose their preference between three mattresses of varying levels of firmness, then this preference is noted for their future stays.

Umm, yeah … I would go back to a hotel if I got to choose the firmness of my mattress.

What about offering guests the ability to select the color of lighting in their room, genre of music, scent, entertainment settings, choose their towels and toiletries, and other such delights? Hotels are doing this.

If you’re a smaller property, maybe you have time to spy on what your guests are saying on TripAdvisor and social media so you can make notes for their future stays. If they write that it was a great hotel for their business trip and they will definitely be back in the future, you could offer to press their clothes when they arrive to the hotel, like the The Langham Place in New York does. These thoughtful gestures create lasting relationships.

For more on personalization and travel, check out Skift’s report, The Future Of Personalized Marketing in Travel.

About Savannah McAlpin

As BookingSuites PR and Marketing Coordinator, Savannah uses her communication skills to assist with corporate copywriting and PR efforts. When she's not slammin' out playful content for the company blog, she is most likely globetrotting.

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