For hotels and other businesses operating in the hospitality industry, customer experience has developed into one of the single most important battlegrounds, and those who excel in this area are likely to gain a significant competitive advantage over rivals. With that in mind, this article will provide you with eight of the most effective ways to improve the experience you are providing for your customers.
8 Ways to Improve Your Customer Experience
1. Personalisation Marketing
Personalisation marketing is a strategy based on the delivery of promotional content to users on a more individual basis. It is generally achieved through a combination of data collection and digital automation, and the key benefit of this is that users see content that is more relevant, which makes them more likely to respond positively.
Within the hospitality industry, personalisation marketing can be used to improve the customer experience in several ways. On a basic level, personalised marketing emails, which are sent to relevant users who are addressed by name, are more likely to be opened. Meanwhile, retargeting adverts can help to remind users of a hotel they were looking at online a few days ago, and intelligent recommendations can be made during the booking process.
Find more detailed information and examples about personalisation marketing use cases in the hospitality industry in the article “5 Ways Personalisation Marketing Can Benefit the Hospitality Industry”.
2. Smart Rooms
An emerging trend within the hotel industry has been the development of ‘smart rooms’, or rooms that are powered through a combination of artificial intelligence and voice recognition technology. They can improve the customer experience by offering guests the chance to control aspects of their hotel room through voice control.
For example, services like Alexa for Hospitality allow multiple devices within the hotel room to be controlled through commands given to the Alexa smart speakers. As a result, a guest may be able to control the lights or turn the television on or off, all through basic voice commands uttered from anywhere in the room.
Find more detailed information and examples about voice control use cases in the hospitality industry in the article “How Can Voice Control Benefit the Hospitality Industry?”.
3. User Generated Content
Every day, hundreds of millions of travel-related images are uploaded to social media sites like Instagram, and these are an example of user-generated content. For travel companies, the key is to provide customers with opportunities to create the kind of user-generated content that also adds to their experience.
Photo booths are perhaps the main example of this, and these can be set up in a number of interesting ways, allowing unique images to be produced and shared online. In many cases, the content generated can also be branded, allowing it to serve a dual purpose as a form of positive marketing for a hotel or business in question.
4. Virtual Reality
Investment from several major global companies, including Sony, Samsung and Facebook, has helped to make VR technology accessible at home. While the technology is most commonly associated with gaming, the real power is its ability to transport users to a different virtual environment, and this can be extremely beneficial for a hotel company.
Already, some within the hospitality have been quick to pounce on the opportunity, offering potential customers the chance to enjoy a virtual reality experience associated with their hotel or holiday destination. A particularly effective technique is to allow guests to experience a virtual recreation of a hotel room, prior to booking.
Find more detailed information and examples about how virtual reality can benefit your business in the article “How Virtual Reality (VR) can Enrich the Hospitality Industry”.
5. Chatbots & Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence can be summarised as the ability for machines or computer systems to perform seemingly intelligent functions, which have historically required human involvement. It offers those in the hotel industry a number of important benefits, including the ability to provide customer service at any time of the day.
Chatbots are perhaps the best-known example of AI within hospitality and these can improve the customer experience by providing swift responses to questions, even when no human staff are available. AI technology can also be used for data analysis purposes, helping to draw important conclusions from customer reviews and surveys.
Find more detailed information and examples about artificial intelligence use cases in the hospitality industry in the article “How to use Artificial Intelligence in the Hospitality Industry”.
6. Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things is a term used to describe internet connectivity being included within everyday devices. This connectivity allows devices to communicate or interact with one another, and this offers a number of potential customer experience benefits for those operating within the hospitality industry.
For example, devices within hotel rooms can be set to automatically regulate the temperature or light levels. Electronic key cards can also be sent to guests’ phones, eliminating the need for physical keys or key cards, while hotel staff can be provided with real-time information about the operating status of devices, allowing them to pre-empt the need for repairs and carry them out before the customer experience is adversely impacted.
Find more detailed information about the ‘Internet of Things’ in the hospitality industry in the article “How the Internet of Things (IoT) can Benefit the Hospitality Industry”.
7. Augmented Reality
Although it is sometimes grouped in with virtual reality technology, augmented reality is not about virtually altering a person’s entire surroundings. Instead, it involves overlaying information onto real-world environments. So, for instance, a user might point their phone at a building and see information about it on the screen.
Within the hotel industry, AR is particularly beneficial, because it is easier to access than VR. Typically, all that is needed is a phone and a specific app. In terms of the customer experience, the main benefit is providing customers with more information, at the point when it is most relevant. So, for example, a guest might point their phone at a restaurant and be able to see reviews, or point their phone at a landmark and see facts about it.
Find more detailed information and examples about how augmented reality can benefit your business in the article “How Augmented Reality is Transforming the Hospitality Industry”.
Finally, robots are also increasingly playing a role in helping hotels to improve the experience they deliver for customers. Indeed, they can be deployed in a number of ways, ranging from robots providing tourist information in the hotel reception, through to robotic luggage porters and cloakroom assistants.
To date, Japan has provided the most dramatic example via the Henn-na Hotel in Nagasaki. Recognised as the first robot-staffed hotel in the world, it features robots providing everything from check-in and check-out services, to storage services, all through a combination of AI, voice recognition, facial recognition and machine learning.
Find more detailed information and examples about robot use cases in the hospitality industry in the article “8 Examples of Robots Being Used in the Hospitality Industry”.
Improving the customer experience is a key goal for many within hospitality, as it is one of the most effective ways to compete with other hotels or businesses in the industry. By focusing on the eight areas listed in this article, you should be able to excel in this area and deliver the kind of memorable experience that enhances your reputation.