Nowadays “big data” is becoming more important with the increase of the desire for personalized experiences. In order to personalize experiences, hotels should acquire information about the customer. Therefore it might be a good idea to set up a database. Although, it becomes clear that a database costs money and time, because relevant data needs to be gathered and managed continuously (Peelen and Beltman, 2013). Is it worth it?
According to Peelen and Beltman (2013) customer knowledge will help building relationship with the guests, because once you know your customers, you will be able to improve the value of the relationship between you and your customer. So what will it take to use this database and customer knowledge to create an unforgettable customer experience?
In order to create this experience, hotels need to build a relationship with the customer. With regard to this, it is important that hotels look at the customer from different perspectives: as a user, as a buyer and as a person or organization in his or her own context. Only focussing on the customer as buyer will lead to implicitly implementing either product leadership or operational excellence from the value disciplines of Tracy and Wiersema (1998). Customer intimacy is the third value discipline involved in this strategy and needs to be taken into account as well (Peelen and Belt, 2013). To counterbalance this properly, data needs to be collected via third parties, because the transactional activities of your guests only will not lead to that “unforgettable hotel experience”.
Well you might think that using social media to acquire this information is easy, but this is far more difficult than often is assumed. These other types of data have less to do with the behaviour and more to do with the real characteristics of the customer, which makes it less objectively measurable. Besides that, a person’s personality and values are abstract and hard to sense. It is therefore a real challenge to measure and keep track of this specific data. Communication may contribute to the personalization of relationship management (Peelen and Belt, 2013).
Let’s look at the “Sol Wave House” hotel in Mallorca. This hotel is the world’s first “tweet experience hotel” and they represent holidays which are made for sharing. The Sol Wave House incorporates the social media platform Twitter wherever possible: guests can check in through the hotels designated Twitter app, they can socialize with other guests through this app, and even order room service using a specific hashtag (Newenham, 2015). They are creating this unique and unforgettable experience thanks to their customer database, which is richly filled with important information. So how do they do this?
The Sol Wave House hotel is letting the customers give their information to them instead of trying to figure out their interests, wishes and demands, because “Everything is just a tweet away”. The staff of the hotel can follow all the chats customers have with each other in the tweet community they created. Furthermore, they organize a competition where they ask for people their favourite holiday memory. Also, guests can order their favourite cocktail by using the hashtag #poolbarorder. The next time they stay in the hotel there might be their favourite cocktail waiting for them at their hotel room. All this information, which is placed by the guests themselves on Twitter, can be used to create an unforgettable experience (Sol Wave House, n.d.).
Next to this, The Sol Wave Hotel is the perfect example of using good social listening strategy by using a twitter community. Social media listening is more than just watching people mentioning your company and replying when you need to. It is a process of tracking conversations and then use them to discover opportunities to create content for those audiences (Beese, 2015). The Sol Wave House can track conversations easily by searching for specific phrases or words that guests can use when they stay in their hotel or have stayed in the hotel.
It is important for every hotel to practise social listening. When hotels only monitor mentions with the “@”, they risk missing out on over 30 per cent of negative and positive feedback (Beese, 2015). This information should not be missed. So to keep this massive amount of data together, it is important to have a database, collect data properly from different sources and analyse it frequently. Take advantage of all the touch points with the customer and it will be possible to create that unforgettable customer experience. It might cost time and money, but it will be all worth it.
Beese, J. (2015, November 18). What Is Social Listening & Why Is It Important? | Sprout Social. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from http://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-listening/
Matthews, D. (2016, September). How connected data is targeting consumers – Raconteur. Retrieved September 30, 2016, from http://raconteur.net/business/how-connected-data-is-targeting-consumers
Newenham, J. (2015, April). MeetingsBooker.com | The 7 Most Innovative Hotels On Social Media in 2015. Retrieved September 30, 2016, from https://www.meetingsbooker.com/blog/post/2015/04/01/some-of-the-best-hotels-to-follow-on-social-media-in-2015
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer relationship management (2nd ed.). United Kingdom: Pearson.
Sol Wave House, (n.d.), Sol Hotel Majorca | Wave House Mallorca, Retrieved September 30, 2016, from http://www.wavehousemallorca.com/en/sol-hotel-majorca.html