This article is adapted from The 2019 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Property Management Systems, which is now available for complimentary download.
A hotel needs to lavish its guests with personalized attention and pamper them with relevant services. This is particularly true of upscale properties that compete in large part on the quality of guest services.
Today, hoteliers are becoming increasingly focused on data-driven personalization strategies. They are seeking ways to enhance the quality of the guest experience by understanding guests' wants, needs, situations and preferences at a granular level and then acting upon that understanding to deliver superior, tailored services. Does a guest require a hypoallergenic comforter? Is a guest sensitive to noise? What refreshments and activities do they like? The answers to these and countless other questions reside in the guest data.
With a next-generation PMS, hotels can capture, integrate and store all data in a single, consolidated repository. To improve the guest experience, hoteliers are also beginning to embrace AI-enabled devices. Already, in many hotels, AI is improving guest service inquiry response and fulfillment time while decreasing problem resolution time.
Going forward, AI will enhance the in-room experience, by seamlessly integrating technology-enabled amenities. Utilizing individual guest data captured during previous hotel stays, AI will automatically set up a guest room with a level of precision that would elude human efforts. Devices will update the room with personalized music, temperature and lighting settings, anticipate the need for room service or specific information requests and predict which hotel or outside services and activities would likely be of interest to guests on an individual basis.
Closely related to guest experience management is the notion of personalization. The future success of many hotels and resorts, at least those operating in certain categories where service quality ranks as a key point of competitive differentiation, will rest squarely on how well they can gain a deep understanding of their guests on an individual basis. Importantly, success also rests on how well they can act upon that understanding to improve the overall quality of the guest experience.
In fact, according to The 2019 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Property Management Systems, 89 percent of hoteliers "agree" or "strongly agree" that targeted personalization - i.e., presenting guests with highly relevant messages, offers and services at the right time - is one of the most effective ways to improve the guest experience and, ultimately, guest satisfaction, loyalty and favorable brand advocacy.
Guest personalization is about data. It is a function of capturing and leveraging a vast ocean of guest profile information. Ideally, this information should include hundreds or thousands of data points gleaned about a guest's activities, from hotel booking to hotel checkout and everything in between. All of the booking data, geo-demographic data, transaction data and behavioral data should reside in a centralized data repository, which should also include the complete folio history of charges incurred and payments made by an individual guest during a stay, or over any specified period of time, across all of the hotel group's properties.
A single consolidated view of each guest profile record, both at the property and multi-property level, is essential. Every detail, from the food and drinks a guest orders to their usage of various hotel services and in-room amenities to every interaction, transaction and documented experience that takes place between the guest and the hotel property, updated on a continuous basis, can help paint a more robust, comprehensive portrait of the guest and can better inform how a hotel can serve them best. In short, access to large volumes of guest data, integrated from multiple sources, is needed to build the foundation for guest personalization.
With that foundation in place, and given the right technology capabilities, a hotel can understand a guest's personal preferences, interests and behaviors at a granular level. It can facilitate relevant interactions and recommendations and take any number of other types of actions based on a guest's stated and inferred preferences, interests and behaviors, that are designed to make the guest feel special and appreciated.
The 2019 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Property Management Systems is now available for complimentary download.
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