According to Beltman and Peelen (2013) a customer journey mapping strategy makes it easier to identify the needs, wants and expectations of the individual travelers which makes sure that the airlines can provide appropriate products and services at each touchpoint throughout their journey. In this case it is focused on the airline industry but what about customer journey mapping in the hotel industry?
Customer journey mapping is a process in which the hotel tracks and describes all the experiences and steps that customers have when they encounter a service or a set of services. During the customer mapping they take into account what happens to the customers and how they respond on this experience. It is about the knowledge what happens to your customers when they do business with you during every step of the way. Customer journey mapping provides the additional customer insight necessary to provide easy solutions for customer segments at the right moments (Lenati.com, 2015).
As well as in the airline industry, in the hotel industry it is one of the most important things to do: engaging with your guests and building long-lasting relationships. The journey is as important as the destination but also even important for the total image the customer gets. The customer journey consists of the different stages or the so-called ‘touchpoints’ a guests goes through. It starts with the pre-stay including the website, social media, booking channels and arrival information. The next touchpoint is the hotel-stay which includes the check-in, entering the room and the in-room experience. The last touchpoints are during the post-stay and includes user reviews and engagement (Beltman & Peelen, 2013).
For hotels, it’s important to remember that the experience a guest will have starts actually a long time before they have direct contact and interaction with a brand. It starts when these guests begin to research and explore their options for an upcoming trip.
Planning is crucial to make every stage of this journey easier and more enjoyable for each customer and you end up with great customer experiences in return. For example: customers exploring their next trip may find very different programs that improve their experience than the customers in the planning stage do and who are getting ready to travel. And customers who are traveling for business will go through a whole different travel journey exploration process than those who just want to plan a holiday.
As hotels gain a better understanding of their different important customer groups and the behaviors, needs and wants that define these groups, they are ready to develop targeted experiences for each group. Benefits could be giving staff the training and tools to empathize with these different types of customers to make it more personal. Through different tests and programs, hotel chains can further refine what best improves the experience and results for each unique customer group. Over time, this process will enable development of a strong customer experience strategy designed to target the right customers in the right way at each stage of the journey. Along the way, hotels will develop a total understanding of key customer behaviors and needs – and the kind of services, packages, programs, benefits, marketing, and personal services that make a difference for their guests (Lenati, n.d).
To conclude I can say that customer journey mapping will definitely result in improving your brand, staff, communication with the guests, and your company in general. The experience will become more personal and targeted than before which is important for customer engagement management of a hotel chain or other brand. In the end, customer journey mapping will lead to better and more personalized experiences for the guests and loyal customers which will potentially lead to more sales in the end. Therefore every brand should start customer journey mapping now, to understand your own customers better.
Customer Journey Mapping Presentation – Lenati. (n.d.). Retrieved October 16, 2016, from http://www.lenati.com/publication/customer-journey-mapping-5-steps-to-improve-sales-and-loyalty-in-omnichannel/request/
Home Away From Home: Customer Experience in Hospitality. (2015). Retrieved October 16, 2016, from http://www.lenati.com/blog/2015/09/a-home-away-from-home-customer-experience-in-hospitality/
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). The customer proposition. In Customer relationship
management(2nd ed., pp. 208 – 213). Edinburgh Gate, United Kingdom: Pearson