Digital Arena in the Hospitality Industry



Digital engagement can be translated as the using of digital tools and techniques in order to find and engage a community into a certain issue, or, in the case of the hospitality industry, into services. (Digital Engagement, 2016)

According to the article “The Digital Arena – Serving individual Needs in “real-time” “(2013), the digital arena is linked to those who have the need of receiving enjoyment or answers in real time. (Fleerackers, 2013). The same source mentions that the digital arena goes further than social-media, it also means the real-time engagement and communication which gives real time responses.

Customers nowadays are looking for eloquent values and businesses which are able to keep up with their demands. In addition, by updating the way a business in interacting with their customers and adding value to the brand, the customers are prepared for greater experiences. (Pontis, 2016)


Taking the example of Marriott International, they do use the digital arena to grown revenues and customer’s preferences in the online medium. Marriott International implemented a team which activated especially for the online search engine and e-marketing strategies. (eMarketer Inc., n.a.)

Trends of 2016

  • Virtual Reality: In the hotel industry this can be used as a marketing and messaging platform. The hotel which already tested the Virtual Reality is Marriott International, who implemented a “first in-room 4D virtual reality travel experience” where the customers can experience different destinations from their hotel room. (Bethesda, 2015)


  • Video Marketing: Video marketing can be implemented through channels as “Periscope” which allows to share a live video where customers can see a hotel room or the atmosphere from a certain restaurant in real time.


  • Influencer Marketing: This refers to the strategy where persons with a power of influence are promoting a location. By sharing on their personal accounts of Facebook, Instagram, etc. the experiences are reached further.








Bethesda, M. (2015, September 9). Marriott Hotels Introduces The First Ever In-Room Virtual Reality Travel Experience. Retrieved from Marriott International News Center:

Digital Engagement. (2016). The Digital Engagement Guide. Retrieved from Digital Engagement:

eMarketer Inc. (n.a.). An Interview with George Corbin – Senior Vice President, Digital at Marriott International. Retrieved from eMarketer:

Fleerackers, T. (2013, May 29). The Digital Arena – Serving individual Needs in “real-time”. Retrieved October 9, 2016, from

Pontis. (2016). Digital Customer Engagement. Retrieved from Pontis:



Role of customer knowledge on CEM -hospitality industry –

Customer knowledge can be defined as a collection of information that an organization has about its clients and is needed for building a better customer relationship. Customer knowledge should find out what, when and how to offer products or services to customers. In short, customer knowledge is translated as understanding your customers, their needs, wants and aims. ( The Dobney Corporation Limited)

The customer knowledge strategy is built on three factors: data, information and knowledge:

Data consists of facts as the date when a purchase was made, what was bought, at what time the purchase was made, what type of payment or shipping was made, etc.  An example of a tool which collects these types of data is the HTTP cookies. In addition, the hotels can store the history of customer preferences and adjust future services according to it.

Information is the data converted into a meaning for the user and allows creating an image of the customer or potential customer.

As soon as the information is processed and the strategy is applied and action is taken it is transformed into knowledge. (Peelen & Beltman, 2015)

In the hospitality industry the customer knowledge can be easily achieved by direct contact with the customers, reservations history, etc.

For a business, to build a relationship with the customer it is essential while the lack of it leads the business to failure. Nowadays, the customers are looking for more personalized and real time experiences. By personalizing a product or service means more than knowing his name, but knowing his preferences and interactions and this is achieved only through customer knowledge. (Manchester, 2014)

As an example, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company even has a Knowledge Management department. The focus is on customer satisfaction which increases the productivity and therefore the profitability increases as well. In addition, every employee has about 100 hours of customer service training annually. (The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C, 2014)

Another example is Marriott International. Through the program Marriott Rewards the business is developing the customer relationship strategy. Rewards are providing information about the customer value and facilitate the use of customer knowledge for anticipating the future travel actions.




The Dobney Corporation Limited. (n.d.). What is customer knowledge? Retrieved Oct. 02, 2016, from

Manchester, G. (2014, February 1). Customer Knowledge Is the Foundation of Marketing Success. Retrieved from DMN (Haymarket Media, Inc):

Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2015). Customer Relationship Management. Pearson.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. (2014). The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Retrieved October 2016, from News Room:


Role of Technology in Customer Engagement Management

According to, the customer experience is defined as a conscious and subconscious perception of customer’s relationship with a brand. The same sources, defines the idea that customer experience management goes further than knowing your customers and keeping track of their online behavior. It goes to the point where the services provider is able to create personalized products and experiences, idea which generates loyalty from the recipients. All this factors engage the customer. ( SAS Institute Inc., 2016)

Having contact with customers through the internet creates a “human-machine interaction” and brings consumer knowledge, builds customer relationship and it can also shape the customer’s perception over the services offered. Taking into consideration these aspects it can be said that the technology used in a business has the role of a delivery channel. (Peelen & Beltman, 2013)

Social Media Marketing

Social media environments are considered to be the biggest platforms for marketing use in the online.

Therefore, social media is an important tool to keep a business updated to potential client’s requests. Developing marketing strategies through Social media gives the opportunity to presents and update visitors which are truly interested, based on their history and online behavior. By giving only what they are interested in, helps to bond a relationship with the customer before he makes use of the service and improve its experience with the company.

Intelligent systems

The role of technology in the hospitality industry goes further than marketing strategies or attracting potential clients. An interesting side of making use of technology goes to the idea mentioned by in order to create loyalty by managing customer’s experience, nowadays, the hotel rooms can be personalized for a certain customer by memorizing for example the beverages he ordered, room temperatures, etc. Not only that the experience created to customers is tailored, but the data used can be linked to the purchase system of the business. (Best Hospitality Degrees, n.d.)

Customer’s Technologies

According to Edwards (2016) for, technologies are helping nowadays the businesses to meet their customer’s expectations, therefore, he mentions a series of concepts which are creating the link:

  1. Service automation: The guests do not have to wait in lines when they want to contact the staff or check-in. This will be done by the simple use of a smart phone or I Pad.
  2. Digital signage: This has the aim of keeping the customers update with new offers or upcoming events
  3. Mobile device support: Nowadays, people like the things to happen fast. Thus, the hospitality industry has complied. Many tourist travel with devices so the hotel operators updated the rooms with hi-tech support. (Edwards, 2016)




SAS Institute Inc. (2016). Customer Experience Management. Retrieved from Sas- The Power to Know:

Best Hospitality Degrees. (n.d.). HOW DOES TECHNOLOGY AFFECT THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY? Retrieved from Best Hospitality Degrees:

Edwards, J. (2016, July 7). The Hospitality Industry Is Getting a High-Tech Makeover. Retrieved from BizTech:

Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. Pearson. Retrieved Sept 25, 2016


The relationship between loyalty programs and customer intimacy

What are loyalty programs?

Loyalty programs are described as being structured marketing strategies, designed to give confidence to customers to continue to shop at or use the services of a business, as stated in the journal “Loyalty Programs and Their on Repeat-Purchase Loyalty Patterns”. (Sharp, Byron, & Anne, 1997). In addition, loyalty programs can be translated also as rewards for customers. The rewards mostly consist of coupons, rewards, free merchandise, etc. (Kolowich, 2015)

As Parsons (2016) mentions, the loyalty programs have a risky part as well. This comes from the idea that if a loyalty program is not handled correctly it can bring more loss than benefit for both consumers and providers. According to Loyalive platform, consumers can lose a year almost $1 trillion while the business loses its clients. (Parsons, 2016)

Loyalty programs bring customer intimacy

According to Person (2012) in the book “The Loyalty Leap”, analyzing a customer’s data can help a business to link an emotional loyalty with its customers.  Also, it is mentioned that the loyalty programs have the aim of reactivating the customers several times before they leave the brand.

Loyalty programs can bring irrational behavior to its users. As for example, some customer might make use of products or services they not necessary need, just to collect loyalty point on their cards. This behavior can be translates also as emotional loyalty. (Pearson, 2012)

Loyalty cards

One of the common used loyalty programs are the loyalty cards. The loyalty cards can be described as a document of identification from a certain company under the own name of a consumer. (Janotta, 2014). The loyalty cards are using magnetic strips in order to record the transactions a customer makes being rewarded with discounts, products and so on. The reward system has to depend on the amount spent. The more spent, the higher the reward.

Some examples of businesses in the hospitality industry which are making use of the loyalty cards are:

  • Hilton Hotels&Reports: By making use of their services, the customers can acquire points which can be spent on hotel, travel and shopping rewards, according to (2016)(Hilton HHonors )
  • Marriott: They give points on the REWARD CARD according to the amount spent on their locations. The reward consists of exclusive dining weekends, free night stays or access to exclusive events, (2016) mentions.(MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL)




Hilton HHonors . (n.d.). EARN & USE POINTS. Retrieved Sept 19, 2016, from Hilton:

Janotta, S.-M. (2014). Loyalty cards in the apparel industry in Germany and Spain. Hamburg.

Kolowich, L. (2015, July 1st). Where Marketers Go to Grow – 7 Customer Loyalty Programs That Actually Add Value. Retrieved September 18, 2016, from HubSpot:

MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL. (n.d.). Marriott Rewards. Retrieved Sept 19, 2016, from Marriott:

Parsons, M. (2016). Tap the phone to claim your reward. London: Raconteur Media Ltd. .

Pearson, B. (2012). The Loyalty Leap: Turning Customer Information into Customer Intimacy. Portfolio; 1st edition (May 10, 2012).

Sharp, Byron, & Anne, S. (1997). Loyalty Programs and Their on Repeat-Purchase Loyalty Patterns. International Journal of Research in Marketing , 473-86.