Personalized suggestions with the aid of technology have become an integral part of modern life. Yet, the hospitality industry is still grappling to comprehend the kind of radical insurgency that technological advancements have made in the recent years.
While a large horde of hotels live by the one-size-fits-all mantra, an increasing number of hotels, especially the more famous hotel groups, still find themselves increasingly drawn to the affair of collating customer data, through various means, to cater to diverse customer preferences in their bigger pursuit for heightened customer satisfaction, better profit margins, and rapid expansion plans.
Information regarding the preference of room type, favorite food, and beverages, amenities required during stay, type of car, any allergies to certain types of food, etc are invaluable for hoteliers. Resident Manager, JW Marriott Bengaluru, says, “Knowledge about our guests is of paramount importance to us and hence we spend a lot of time in knowing about them, their preferences, likes and dislikes. We focus immensely on interacting with guests to personalize their experience. In this process, we gather information and details about preferences which are updated in our property management system for future use and improve guest loyalty.”
For many years, then the notion of delivering differentiated services seemed like a distant dream for hoteliers. But now with the umpteen number of customer interaction technologies at play, it is possible to get a clear insight about your customer choices to a great extent. From providing personalized check-in options to customized pricing models or even their preferred mode of communication (texts, emails, social media, phone calls etc.) will take customer experience to greater heights. Such unprecedented technological advancements have made it possible to do the guesswork from large amounts of data which will, in turn, help us understand the key variables for huge segments of customer data. Keeping the pace with this modern transformation is now quintessential for retaining customer base in the competitive world. On the contrary, customers are really cynical about the irresponsible use and possible abuse of their personal data.
CEO & Founder Justa Hotels and Resorts says that technology has now become an integral tool in helping hotels and their employees seamlessly share information about guests, their preferences, and whereabouts on the premises of the hotel. However, technology will still remain a tool as the hospitality industry is still going to be dependent on human interaction to provide the sensitivity demanded while dealing with guests. According to him, “The captured information in the central databases is more valuable to chain hotels in cases where the guest is also a visitor to the other hotels in the chain. With the advent of Artificial Intelligence, tools are now available to target guests to market and cross-sell our other hotels and thereby increasing customer loyalty and repeat customers.”
Guests today expect an increasingly personalized hotel stay, which justifies the expenditure. According to Raviraj Guruju, Executive Chef, Novotel Imagica Khopoli, “We all know the impact of personalized service from our own experiences. Who doesn’t enjoy being treated special! Apart from attracting new guests, hotels must focus on retaining the existing ones. Hotel staff should be trained on how to handle the crisis, resolve issues professionally, and most importantly not just satisfy but delight the guests.”
According to the Crayon CEO, Crayon Data, “Personalization is the future of customer engagement”; it is one of the most discussed topics within the hospitality industry.
Hoteliers are constantly on the lookout for ways to enhance the customer perception of their brands and one of the ways to augment customer experience is by offering unique, personalized, memorable experiences to your clients. personalization starts right from the time when the guest books with the hotel. Understanding client preferences might be a key factor that sets apart one hotel from the other and has, therefore, become imperative for hoteliers to identify customer preferences to retain customer loyalty and increase brand recall value.
Executive Chef, Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach talks about personalization in terms of food preferences, being an important aspect of enhancing the customer’s overall experience during the stay. According to him, “As a chef, for me personalization in the hospitality industry means anticipating the guest’s needs in terms of food preference. With more and more guests being conscious of their diet, they prefer the healthier choices in the menu. When it comes to personalization of food, it is a challenging task as each guest is different with a distinct palate preference.
The effective usage of technology will enable hoteliers to transcend the divide between general assumptions and authentic information so that they can reach more coherent conclusions and therefore enable them to take an informed decision. The hospitality industry anticipates more personalization options in future. For instance, apart from the preferred communication mode, the standard check-in procedures will also become more advanced with guests gaining the access to information about the available room size, bed styles, price rates and also the technologies, present inside a hotel room.
Many guests also have a predilection towards a homelike environment in their accommodation. In the case of corporate tourists with hectic schedules, their preference remains on a comfortable stay with good bedding to enjoy a relaxing sleep at night rather than heavily adorned interiors or furniture. Another way of improving the guest experience is by integrating more customized in-room entertainment units and facilities. After performing several activities, the guests like to unwind them, while staying inside their room. Access to different TV channels, based on customer preferences and availability of many mobile apps that offer seamless hotel bookings or even personalized dining options are some of the ways that hoteliers seek to personalize hospitality services.
Did you know that 1 in 11 jobs worldwide are in the hospitality industry? This ever-growing industry now accounts for 9% of worldwide GDP and 6% of the world’s exports. Perhaps the real question is, why not choose hospitality for your future ?
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The Hospitality world has expanded beyond traditional notions. Careers within the industry include positions as top-class hoteliers, sales and marketing executives, event planners, concierge positions and human resources managers.
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