Over the past two decades the focus shifts from transaction of sales into the importance of customer relationship management. This relationship can take place at different levels. Long term relationships are based on commitment, trust, fairness and loyalty. (Peelen, 2013). The hotel industry has a rich history with engaging the customer and creating long lasting relationships. Nowadays, the concept of creating a unique experience for the guest by personalisation is becoming more important than offering the best price in the hotel industry. The most crucial aspect of personalisation is gathering data of the customer. In this way the travel behaviour of the customer can be understood. Customers do not mind to share information about themselves to get more personal. (Eason, 2016)
Smaller scale hotels have the opportunity to create personalization in the traditional way and time to spy their guests. For instance, observing what type of magazine the guest is reading. Besides observing, it is possible to achieve personalization by getting in contact with the guest at suitable times. For instance during breakfast. (Mcaplin,2014) The Four season’s hotel for example gets personal with their guests by offering the choice of three mattresses of varying levels. (Mcaplin,2014) Furthermore, service can play a crucial role in order to create personal experiences. For instance, offering guests what colour light they prefer in their room or offering the choice of different shampoo brands, towels or other toiletries. The Langham place in New York offers the service to press their clothes for their guests. Thoughtful gestures create lasting relationships. (Mcaplin, 2014)
Another way of engaging by personalization in the hotel industry is using technology, which is more applicable to larger scale hotels. ‘It has become paramount for businesses to use technology to engage consumers in a more personal way'(Pine and Gilmore 1999). For instance, when a guest turns on the TV in the hotel room it shows the preferences channel. It can even become crazier by offering the guest to finish a movie in the same hotel brand but located in a different city. (Mcaplin,2014)
The hotel Lugano Dante, a large scale four star hotel located in Switzerland, uses the HGRM- Happy guest relationship management system. This system constitutes a comprehensive customer relationship database, which includes a meta-platform that combines different hotel operation systems. It merges different data from different systems, such as Fidelio, outlook and MyPage. The HGRM personalizes in the different stages of the customer journey. In the pre-arrival stage, the guests receive an invitation to access their personalized guest website MyPage. The guest can share personal information and communicate with the hotel, virtually meet the team and manage details of their stay in selecting personal preferences. In the arrival stage of the guest, these preferences according to the MySpace account are executed. During the stay the current room status is communicated to the employees and therefore a full control to see what is happening during the stay to meet needs and preferences of the guest. In the post-departure stage, a welcome home message is send to the MyPage website, which includes a personalized thankyou note and picture of the employee who checked-out the guest. Moreover invitation to leave a review on TripAdvisor is added to the message. (Neuhofer,2015)
In conclusion both traditional as well as technological methods lead to a higher personalization and customer engagement. It is important for the hotel industry to define the scale of the hotel and type of guest in order to have a successful personalization and relationship with the guest.
Easen. N. (2016).Customers expect more than ever. Raconteur.
Mcalpin S. (2014). Bookingsuite What Guests Want Now: Personalization. Blogsuite. Retrieved from:http://blog.suite.booking.com/blog/what-guests-want-now-personalization/
Neuhofer, B. (2015). Smart technologies for personalized experiences: a case study in the hospitality domain. Elektronic markets. Springerlinks
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer relationship management. Pearson Education Limited.