February 15, 2016
The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and Infor have released Don't Get Mad --Get Personal! Best practices to win the guest in the age of Amazon, a white paper on the impact of personalization in the hotel industry. In today’s world, guests face overwhelming options in the hotel choices. Personalization, according to the report focuses on “providing guests a more custom, targeted, and relevant experience during their interactions with people and processes.”
“There is no reason for OTA’s to be beating hotels at their own game with personalization, when hotels often have so much more data at their disposal,” said Bernard Ellis, CHTP, CRME, VP Industry Strategy-Hospitality, Infor.
Personalization relies heavily on determining the when, why, and how from the data. According to the report, “Many hotels considering a personalization strategy have done so to connect more completely and drive greater loyalty from their guests.” Basing decision on personalization data allows hotels to anticipate the guest’s needs of their hotel experience.
Developing a personalization system should include tailoring message to meet the guest’s preferences including physical location; device using to send and receive messages; new or past interactions; know guests, past behaviors; and current business needs.
A remarkable statistic is that “customers face an overwhelming number of choices every time they travel, with one measure claiming a simple trip from New York to Los Angeles can present some 65,000,000,000 options once you account for airlines and flight times, hotel rooms and rates, ground transportation or car rentals, and, of course, the myriad offers attached to each interaction at every step of the journey.”
The whitepaper identifies a set of guidelines for those working in the industry to personalize their guests’ experiences. These include:
- Provide clear value. What are you offering that the guest will find valuable and will willingly provide their personal information in exchange.
- Put your guest first. Think about how you intend to use guest data and communicate that clearly among your team. Establish guidelines for who can access guest data and for what purposes. And always remember and reinforce the “Big Mother” vs. “Big Brother” concept consistently to ensure you’re using data to help guests and to avoid crossing “the creepy line.”
- Give your guests control. Be clear about what data you collect from guests and how you plan to use that data. Provide easy, intuitive options for guests to opt-out of data collection and update their preferences.
- Incorporate data within your operations. Opportunities for personalization exist beyond just marketing. Provide guest preferences to front-desk and housekeeping staff to “anticipate” guest needs and surprise guests with amenities and experiences that exceed their expectations. Allow revenue managers the ability to develop pricing focused on best customers and truly qualified groups.
- Pay attention to security. Far too many hotel companies have learned the hard way how damaging a security breach can be for both their hotels and their guests. Work with trusted partners who put data security first and regularly review your data security, retention, and disposition practices and policies to keep your guests’ data safe.
- Test and learn. Move quickly, but start small to learn what works for your guests and hotel — and what doesn’t. Then build on your successes and learn from any mistakes how to increasingly provide excellent value to your guests.
Personalization is having a major impact on the hotel industry. The guidelines are available to assist those developing these types of programs to meet the needs of their guests.
Visit the HSMAI Foundation Knowledge Center to download the complete white paper.
The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is committed to growing business for hotels and their partners, and is the industry’s leading advocate for intelligent, sustainable hotel revenue growth. The association provides hotel professionals & their partners with tools, insights, and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue through programs such as HSMAI’s MEET, Adrian Awards, and Revenue Optimization Conference. HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprising more than 7,000 members worldwide, with 40 chapters in the Americas Region. Connect with HSMAI at www.hsmai.org,www.facebook.com/hsmai, www.twitter.com/hsmai and www.youtube.com/hsmai1.
Infor builds beautiful business applications with last mile functionality and scientific insights for select industries delivered as a cloud service. With 13,000 employees and customers in more than 200 countries and territories, Infor automates critical processes for industries including healthcare, manufacturing, fashion, wholesale distribution, hospitality, retail, and public sector. Infor software helps eliminate the need for costly customization through embedded deep industry domain expertise. Headquartered in New York City, Infor is also home to one of the largest creative agencies in Manhattan, Hook & Loop, focused on delivering a user experience that is fun and engaging. Infor deploys its cloud applications primarily on the Amazon Web Services cloud and open source platforms. To learn more about Infor, please visit www.infor.com.