For the hospitality industry, founded upon the very premise of providing welcoming and delightful experiences to guests and patrons, the need to continue evolving to meet today’s changing customer demands is vital. While advancements in technology have led to more automated and self-service functions across hospitality organizations like online booking and reservations, it has also resulted in the loss of personal touch and service that is often what makes a travel, entertainment, or dining experience so memorable. Now, more than ever, it’s essential to deliver a personalized, hyper-connected guest experience across every touch point. With the vast amount of data already available to organizations today, the hospitality industry can refine its approach to customer engagement, leveraging customer data and insights to empower every employee to deliver exceptional experiences to guests.
Creating a hyper-connected guest experience
Today’s customers have more options available than ever and are increasingly more selective in the brands they choose to do business with. In fact, they expect brands to use their data to personalize recommendations and experiences and are even willing to pay more for a personalized experience. Engagement should be not only be personalized, but also convenient and consistent across every channel, providing guests with the same, seamless and intelligent experience at every touch point – whether online, mobile app, phone, or in person.
By harnessing customer data generated at every interaction – like website activity, search histories, previous visits, social engagement, transactions, and more – hospitality organizations can better understand their customers in order to anticipate and serve their needs.
Let’s see what a data-driven engagement strategy can achieve in the hospitality industry:
- Leveraging unified customer profiles to enable hosts and servers to provide highly personalized service – like already knowing a guest’s drink or table preference or food allergies
- Analyzing customer data to predict churn and trigger personalized dining offers to guests who haven’t been back in a while
- Making informed changes to menus, events, or specials based on guests’ preferences and response
- Empowering every employee, from reservation agents to onsite hotel staff, with holistic customer profiles that enable personal engagement at every touch point, like knowing a guest’s preferred room location or special requests before they need to ask
- Seamlessly connecting online and offline experiences like hotel staff already having a customer’s name and reservation details surfaced when they call in about a booking made online
- Leveraging search data and previous stays or preferences to deliver personalized follow-up offers like sending a previous guest a loyalty offer for a discounted rate at another location they searched for
- Making better informed business decisions and adjustments to offerings based on rich customer insights and feedback
- Providing personalized ticket pricing based on customers’ past spending behaviors or search criteria
- Creating a consistent and intuitive experience across all channels, enabling customers to engage how and where they want to, from website to call center to mobile app to in-flight experiences
- Delivering highly personalized service at every interaction when a reservation agent already knows a customer’s preferred seating choice and meal selection when booking a flight
- Proactively identifying and engaging at-risk customers who had a bad travel experience by sending a tailored loyalty offer or discount
Delivering an exceptional, personalized guest experience from the first interaction to post-visit helps secure guest loyalty and keeps them coming back, increasing brand advocacy and customer lifetime value. According to a recent report by McKinsey, guests report being 61 percent more willing to recommend a hotel that gets the entire customer experience right, versus those that merely focus on individual touch points.
How a customer data platform can help
Hospitality organizations can collect customer data across many systems and channels that guests interact with. Yet without the ability to effectively unify and interpret all of this data at scale, it can be difficult or impossible to derive the holistic customer profiles and actionable insights necessary to deliver a hyper-connected, personalized guest experience.
With a customer data platform (CDP) like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, organizations can bring together customer data from all sources to gain a truly 360-degree view of customers, leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to unlock rich insights that increase customer loyalty and lifetime value with personalized experiences across all channels.
To learn more about customer data platforms, read Selecting the Right Customer Data Platform.