There are numerous ways of customization for hotels, however, in this blog the focus will be on mass customization. This kind of customization means that instead of the customer choosing one product variant, each customer provides unique information so that the product may be tailored to their specific needs. The production process must be very flexible in order to satisfy these needs. It requires the organization to react immediately and quickly to customer wishes.
There are four different ways to implement mass customization, depending on the way wishes of customers are communicated to the hotel and how the hotel reacts on it: cosmetic, transparent, collaborative and adaptive (Peelen and Beltman, 2013).
The first approach, cosmetic customization, means that the product stays the same, however, its representation is adjusted. Most hotels already do this by offering their products in different locations or to different customers. They do this by adjusting the representation, which means they approach customers differently.
Transparent customization means only the product is adapted, but the representation stays the same. Hotel guests are offered a personalized product, but are not informed about the changes that are especially made for them. An example of this is the Hilton Requests Upon Arrival, by the Hilton hotel chain. This gives guests the choice and control over their entire hotel stay with the ability to check-in and choose their exact room from digital floor plans, as well as customize their stay by purchasing upgrades and making special requests for items to be delivered to their room, on their mobile devices, tablets and computers (Hilton, 2016).
Collaborative customization entails that both the product and representation are adapted. This may difficult in the hotel industry, since the product itself, which is a overnight stay, doesn’t change. However, hotels also offer other products, such as breakfast. This product and its representation can be adapted. An example is the Hilton Breakfast. The hotel started their Hilton Breakfast in 2007 with this premise: “Everyone’s idea of the perfect breakfast is different“. Guests can choose their kind of breakfast and only have to follow the color of the chosen breakfast at the buffet. The color-coded breakfasts include Low Fat & Low Calorie, Hi-Energy, High Fiber, Low Cholestrol, and Indulgence (Hilton, 2016).
Lastly, there is adaptive customization, which means both the product and the representation stay the same. Hotels can use this by offering guests extra’s, for example a wakeup call in the morning.
Hilton (2016) Retrieved from: http://www.hiltonhotels.com
Peelen, E. & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management (Second Edition). Amsterdam: Pearson Education Benelux BV.