Nowadays technology is so normal that we almost forget that 20 years ago, it was totally different. Through all these years our community changed from offline to online. Along with the community change, the strategies in the hotel industry changed just as hard. To attract and retain hotel guests, technology has become one of the most critical aspects (Terry, 2016). But the question is, in which ways can technology contribute to the CEM strategy in the hotel industry?
Personalization is the first aspect where the hotel industry uses technology to improve their CEM. Today’s consumers are fully interconnect and are constantly using technology in order to find information. In order to create value for customers, it is important to provide personalized products and services (Buhalis, 2014). The solution for customer personalization is big data. Every traveler leaves a large amount of data behind because they search for information via technology. Hotels need to take a closer look at big data, in order to provide products and services at the right time, in the right place.
Unfortunately, a lot of hotels still do not use big data in the right way. This is really a pity because big data can lead to more customer satisfaction, effective marketing campaigns and overall, more personalized offers. On the bright side, a hotel that uses big data in a good and profitable way is the American hotel chain Denihan. The hotel chain uses IBM big data, which includes combining their own data with data from social media, review sites and blogs. The success of the IBM Data software was proven in 2013 when the hotel doubled its room rate during the United Nations Assembly Week (van Rijmenam, 2016).
The second aspect where technology can contribute to the CEM strategy, is the creation of new and innovative products. According to the theory of Treacy & Wiersema, hotels that are busy innovating and renewing products implement the product leadership strategy. Product leader hotels want to attract and retain customers by introducing them to new (technical) products and services (Peelen & Beltman, 2013).
For example, a lot of hotels want to improve the customer satisfaction through time reduce. Yotel is a hotel example that automated the check in and out service, to reduce the waiting time for customers (Discover Yotel, 2016). In contrast to small examples like reducing the waiting time through technology, there are hotels who take a step further. For example, the Hilton chain introduced the robotic concierge ‘Conny’ in cooperation with IBM. Conny provides the hotel guests with information about the hotel and its environment (Volpicelli, 2016). This technical innovation can really contribute to the customer experience of the hotel guests.
The conclusion is that technology definitely contributes to the CEM strategy in hotels. It can varies from small steps to personalization, or big steps to creating a whole technical customer experience. It all depends on providing the right products and services to your target group.
Buhalis, D. (2014). Retrieved September 22, 2016, from Critical technology and marketing developments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mrha2nS76Hc
Discover Yotel. (2016). Retrieved September 22, 2016, from Yotel: http://www.yotel.com/en/discover-yotel
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer relationship management. Pearson.
Terry, L. (2016). 6 mega-trends in hotel technology. Retrieved September 22, 2016, from Hospitality technology: http://hospitalitytechnology.edgl.com/news/6-Mega-Trends-in-Hotel-Technology105033
van Rijmenam, M. (2016). Why Hotels Should Apply Big Data Analytics To Provide a Unique Guest Experience. Retrieved September 22, 2016, from Datagloq: https://datafloq.com/read/hotels-should-apply-big-data-analytics-guest/81
Volpicelli, G. (2016). IBM Watson now powers a Hilton hotel robot concierge. Retrieved September 22, 2016, from Arstechnica: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/03/ibm-watson-hilton-robot-connie/