As the proliferation of Smartphone and Tablets continues people end up interacting with a business at multiple points of contact. These contact points in most cases do not create a seamless user experience. The challenge is that not every hotel has adopted the platform and realized the issues at play.
Imagine a scenario where a potential guest looks for up a hotel on a Tablet and gets a seamless user experience from one hotel but another hotel does not have a mobile strategy in place so they just display their regular site. Even though both hotels are similar in rates, reviews etc. since the platform the potential guest chose to interact on was well done by one of them they will be biased towards that hotel.
Now, take this a step further. If the guest has an app for a hotel on his phone and he uses that to search for a room and make a booking, all he had to do was choose the room and touch the book button and seamlessly all his preferences and information was pulled in from the app and a room was booked for him. When this is taken to a desktop experience and the booking process is cumbersome, then, the hotel is offering two very different experiences because of where the guest chose to interact with the hotel.
It does not only make business sense but the customers expect it too.
“84% of consumers said they would no longer buy from an organisation that failed to take account of their preferences, purchasing history and other customer information. More than half would actively recommend and endorse a company that effectively managed and linked its customer data to inform marketing campaigns.” (Source: Experian.com)
Starwood already has a great points program and many other programs which they use to provide a seamless user experience. Now they are also extending to what type of offers a person is looking for. Remember, the better targeted the offer the more returns you will see.
As the customers expect personalized offers when a hotel chooses to ignore it these are some of the things they should be aware of as it can lead to a customer taking their business elsewhere. (Source: Experian)
- Trying to sell them something they said they did not want (52 per cent)
- Contacting them in a way that they had flagged as unwanted (45 per cent)
- Offering them products they have already refused (36 per cent)
Personalizing the user experience will require a big investment of time and money. And, in the hotel industry it is hard to achieve as there are multiple parties involved in the business. The information has to flow from your database where the guest preferences and booking information is held to the point of the interaction. This requires people who are skilled in developing information architecture, front end user experience and data experts that can deliver this for the hotel.
Have you tried personal offers and taken into account the point of interaction when delivering an experience? What are some of the challenges you had?