Using mobile apps in the hotel industry and still keep it personal.

Nowadays it is normal to check in to a hotel without speaking to a single person. Reserve a massage at the spa and order room service with just one click on your mobile phone (Weissman, 2013). Mobile is becoming more and more important for the hotel brands, but how can they still keep the personal contact with their guests? In this blog I will write more about the mobile apps hotels are offering and how they keep their personal touch with their guests.

hotel-mobile-app
Source: conceptguideapps.com

Importance mobile app for hotels
Almost every guest is using their phone during their visit in a hotel. 70% of the travellers who book rooms within a 24 hour period, are using a mobile device and 60% of them will download a new app for their upcoming trip. From these numbers we can see that the importance of being present in the mobile app world is increased. For hotels it has never been so important to have a mobile presence. Hotels need to capture their guests’ attention on the devices they use and trust most. Most of the guest use mobile apps to learn about their surroundings, get directions and most importantly; stay connected. Hotels can use a mobile app and create a mobile concierge that engages and informs their guests. Hotels have to create an app that is unique, helpful and creates memorable service for guests. It has to attract potential guests and keep loyal ones coming back (Agostino, 2013)

So, now we know why it is important to offer a mobile app that is personal and gives the right information. But how can hotels engage with their guests thru a mobile app?

Personal engagement with guests
There are six criteria to increase engagement thru mobile apps:

  1. Make a strong impression;
  2. Gradually expose the depth of your product;
  3. Pay attention to user privacy;
  4. Unexpected app behaviour should not happen;
  5. Avoid app-crashes;
  6. Growth hacking techniques(Abrosimova, sd).

I think the sixth criteria is the one, that hotels can use to keep guests engaging with their hotel. The sixth criteria is a combination of traditional marketing and analytics skills, so hotels can analyse this information to have more loyalty to your app. The purpose is to gain new customers and get active users engaged with your app as often as they can. I also think it is important to keep your guests active on the app by sending notifications or special offers. The guest will keep reminded to use your app, but we can make sure that the app does not have to send each every day a notification. This can be annoying and the guests will delete app as soon as possible. So, be there for your guests and keep them engaged with your hotel but give them enough space to think.

Bibliography

Abrosimova, K. (sd). Engagement in App success. Opgehaald van Yalantis: https://yalantis.com/blog/chapter-2-role-of-engagement-in-app-success/

Agostino, M. (2013, April). 27 Examples of brilliant mobile app features. Opgehaald van http://www.slideshare.net/PocketYourShop/27-examples-of-brilliant-mobile-app-features-for-hotels

Weissman, S. (2013, July). 5 hotel brands with useful mobile apps. Opgehaald van Digiday: http://digiday.com/brands/5-hotel-brands-with-useful-mobile-apps/

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Customer profiling still possible for the hotel industry in the future?

Customer profiling sounds like a very private scan of your customers. But, it is a way of describing your customer in categories, so that they can be grouped for marketing or advertising purposes. When a business works with target advertising to a specific group, businesses can find more success in selling a particular product (DeVault, 2016). But, how does the hotel industry work with this and is this technique still possible in the future? In this blog I will write more about customer profiling in the hotel industry and discussing if it’s still essential for their business strategy.

profiles

Source: hellostarling.com

The ideal customer
Identifying your target market by using broad demographic, psychographic and geographic data of your current customers, does no longer works. You will engage with broad marketing mediums to communicate with them and that can be changed with the technology of today. To attract more people you want, you have to know who your most profitable customers are. The most profitable customers can be identified by undertaking a process called ‘ideal customer profiling’ and represents who you want to purchase your products and services. The next characteristics you need to identify are:

  • Exact age, sex, income, location, family status;
  • What book they like to read, what TV shows they watch, their favourite food, their past hobby’s;
  • What keeps them up at night, what gets them excited, what they value in life and why they value it.

By collecting this data you can define a persona who represents the type of customer you want to see more in your hotel business (Rowett, 2014). For now this is still working for the hotel industry, but I think customers can develop in their wants and needs and the hotel industry have to focus individually and not in groups.

The future of customer profiling
A customer profile that is built once, needs to be actively updated because it is only reflective of that point in time when the data was collected. We live in a time where we can use the technology to know our customer in detail. For example we can follow our customer in the field of behavioural targeting . We can target them by need or interest, received by their previous browsing activity. In the future it is possible to work with contextual targeting. It enables you to find consumers based on where they are interacting with related content. You will work with the program of Google: Google Content Network. You can buy a text ad targeted to a keyword or you can also get real-time placement on hundreds of pages covering content related to the chosen keyword across Google’s network or other sites (Neuner, 2012).

So, we can conclude that based on the new technologies and developments of programs, we can go more in depth within a customer profile. If you create the ideal consumer profile with the new technologies, you will reach you customer better and will get in personal touch with them.

 

Bibliography

DeVault, G. (2016, August). Consumer profile: defining the ideal customer. Opgehaald van thebalance: https://www.thebalance.com/consumer-profile-defining-the-ideal-customer-2296932

Neuner, C. (2012). the future of consumer profiling is here. Opgehaald van DTC Perspectives: http://www.dtcperspectives.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/…/Neuner-ConsumerProfiling.pdf

Rowett, P. (2014, August). Ideal customer profiling . Opgehaald van Tourismeschool: http://tourismeschool.com/ideal-customer-profile-persona/

 

3 Must-Haves to achieve CEM with Personalized Customer Service

Personalized customer service is a strategy that can’t be missed in the businesses of now. Personalization is adding value to a customer’s choice. But every customer expects different approaches, offers and communication (Shaw, 2011). How can you offer personalized customer service in an effective way in the hotel industry? In this blog I will describe four tricks to achieve Customer Engagement Management with a personalized customer service.

featured1-800x320Source: Brainsins.com

Every day I receive emails of different hotels that I have visited with special offers, but they are totally not in connection with my interests. Everybody knows these kinds of emails and the first thing you do is delete them. If a hotel continues with just sending random special offers, they cannot build up guest relationships. But what should we, or at least myself, do when we do receive this valuable information on the moment I need this the most? Maybe I’ll tell some of my friends about this valuable information I just received. At least I’ll like their Facebook page or share this information in a personal Facebook post. And that is exactly what this hotel wants to achieve. Me sharing my positive attitude about their brand with my contacts or make me book a holiday trip caused by their valuable information. The biggest challenge this industry faces is collecting the data they need to supply their community with the right value on the right time. Unfortunately (for both providers and purchasers) this challenge is not so easily to achieve. In the steps below I’ll describe 3 tricks that can be used in any circumstances for any provider in the tourism industry

The 3 must-haves to achieve CEM with a successful use of personalized customer service:

  1. Research your guests! Hotels need programs what collects data of all the guests, for example: hobbies, birthdays, age or reasons of staying. Once the information is found, you can apply individual interests to the products and the communication. The data is there to treat every guest as an individual, so every guest feels special in your relationships with them(Pickard, 2015).
  2. Surprise your guests! People love surprises and it is a trend to surprise your guests to give the guests the experience they never would expect. If you surprise them with an element that is in their interest, they will become a loyal customer(Vermeulen, 2016).
  3. Make it personal! With every contact you have with your guest, call them by their name (depends on your target group). Guests will feel welcome and feels like coming home. Guests love to feel comfortable and safe, and that is what they will feel if the communication is personal.

For now you can stand out with a personalized customer service, but it is a matter of time that every hotel applied this in their strategy. So, be a step ahead and get in touch with your guests!

 

Bibliography

Pickard, T. (2015, June). Why 2015 will be the year of personalized service. Opgeroepen op September 2016, van ICMI: http://www.icmi.com/Resources/Mobile/2015/06/Why-2015-Will-be-the-Year-of-Personalized-Service

Shaw, C. (2011, October). Personalized service, what doet it actually mean? Opgehaald van Beyond Philosophy: https://beyondphilosophy.com/personalized-service-what-does-it-actually-mean/

Vermeulen, T. (2016, January). 10 Reistrends volgens Cherry Picker. Opgeroepen op September 2016, van NRIT media: http://www.nritmedia.nl/kennisbank/35695/10_Reistrends_volgens_Cherry_Picker/

 

Loyalty programs; popular trend or return on investment?

Nowadays it is almost a must to have a loyalty program within your hotel business. They encourage frequent guests to be more than a hotel guest. A study from the Centre for Hospitality Research (CHR) in Cornell discovered a profit growth, during a participation in the loyalty programs. Different hotels choose for a loyalty program because the competitors also have one. According to the CHR this is not the right motivation. The competing hotels have to observe if their programs give the result they desire (Bergevoet, 2014). In this blog I describe the requirements for the hotel industry to achieve a return on investment by using loyalty programs.

customer-loyality-jpg-1395-03-29
Source: sorooshpardaz

Loyalty programs are suitable for companies who are active in a competitive market. We all know the hotel industry is a very active market, so almost every hotel have a loyalty program to ‘differentiate’. But how differential is a loyalty program if your opponent uses the exact same strategy? If the loyalty program measurable helps the organisation achieve its goals the answer is probably yes.

Let us take Hyatt Hotels as example. They offer their clients a so called ‘Hyatt Gold Passport’ so they can enjoy exclusive benefits, such as: free nights and late check-outs. The members can earn five points per eligible dollar they have spent in the Hyatt Hotels. The return on investment for Hyatt Hotel is stable. In 2015 it was 3.8% and in 2016 2.4% (CsiMarket, 2016).

Although each loyalty program should be custom made for the hotel that is exploiting it, there are a few basic requirements that you should consider when developing a successful loyalty program:

  1. Map the core values of your organisation and compare to your competitors.
    What is your value proposition and how does this differentiate to competitors?
  1. Define your focus group.
    Who is your focus group, what are their needs out of your regular service?
  1. Measure your organisations core values on the focus group needs.
    In what ‘unusual’ need can you facilitate from inside your identity but out of your regular service?
  1. Offer your clients your ‘unusual offer’ and ask ‘loyalty’ in return.
    Reward your clients with your unusual offer when they frequently use your services.

When using this steps you should be able to use a loyalty program to achieve your organisations goals in terms of profit, occupancy rate or other goals. Just developing a loyalty program because everyone else does won’t be differential enough to attract loyal, returning clients. Not only your investment but also your image will suffer and cause serious damage long term.

For now, the hotel industry must track their return on investment not only by customer, but for the program as a whole to identify at which point the program has peaked in terms of targeting and rewarding loyal customers to then minimize incremental investments into their program (Charania, 2011). This will help you evaluate and refine your program to a point where you can apply the thesis of this blog. Is my program just following the markets trend or does it return my investment?

 

Bibliography

Bergevoet, R. (2014, February 14). Cornell: helft meer hotelomzet door loyaliteitsprogramma’s. Opgehaald van Misset Horeca: http://www.missethoreca.nl/hotel/nieuws/2014/2/cornell-helft-meer-hotelomzet-door-loyaliteitsprogrammas-10159295

CsiMarket. (2016). Hyatt Hotels ROI. Opgehaald van CsiMarket: http://csimarket.com/stocks/H-Return-on-Investment-ROI.html

Focus, H. (2010, October). Richtlijnen voor loyaliteitsprogramma’s. Opgehaald van Hotelierfocus: http://www.hotelierfocus.nl/2010/10/richtlijnen-voor-loyaliteitsprogrammas-deel-1/

Peltier, D. (2016, May 25). 9 largest hotel loyalty programs. Opgehaald van skift: https://skift.com/2016/05/25/9-largest-hotel-loyalty-programs-growing-members-faster-than-engagement/