How to strike a balance in the age of personalization and rising expectations
Providing personalized experiences for hotel guests isn’t a new concept. It’s quickly becoming the focus of the hospitality industry as hoteliers adopt technology systems en masse to help aggregate and analyze consumer behavior. However, what is shaping the concept in the current environment is the intersection of personalization and modern guest expectations.
Anticipatory Service as a New Frontier of Personalization
Historically, a personalized experience was only provided for VIP loyalty guests and something that came as an unexpected surprise. Perhaps they checked in and received a custom amenity based on an interaction from their previous stay. However, the defining element of our current age is that personalization has evolved from being a simple “guest” experience into a full-fledged “traveler” experience.
Guests not only seek these experiences out when making booking decisions, but they use them to define their journeys and their traveler personas. According to Deloitte, half of travelers expect brands to surprise them during their stay while 56% say they want hotels to “create moments that surprise me and exceed my expectations”. This means that personalized experiences have merged into a fundamental part of the relationship between the guest and brand.
For example, every weekend during the summer, Las Vegas resorts now make it a standard to increase towel counts for cleaned rooms. This came from analyzing data trends about guest behaviors via their task management technology to predict guest requests. This use of technology gave Vegas resorts the insight to save more on linen costs (i.e. delivery, par counts, etc.), increase anticipatory service levels, and also optimize labor because of fewer calls and requests for extra towels.
The Issue of Personalization as a Traditionally Reactive Exercise
Up until now, when most hoteliers have created personalized experiences for guests it’s typically been reactive instead of proactive. Contemporary travelers, however, are looking for more. 64% of guests think it’s critical for brands to understand, remember, and act on their preferences so they don’t have to ask. They are increasingly turning to companies that can provide anticipatory personalization that leaves guests feeling less like the hotel has addressed all their needs, and more like the staff understood their needs before they were even conceived.
How Staff Can Use Technology to Facilitate Anticipatory Personalized Experiences
A reported 77% of travelers place substantial importance on hotel reviews mentioning positive customer service. Technology isn’t a magic cure-all, and it will never be a substitute for removing obstacles that inhibit employee-guest engagement. But by properly blending guest-facing tech and staff-facing tech with training, you can empower your team to build strong relationships through the strategy of personalization.
Attempting to reframe the conversation around anticipatory service as a cornerstone of personalization and a key component of the guest experience can be difficult no matter the size of the property. After all, hoteliers naturally serve a significant number of guests at any given time and strive to provide consistent service for all. But modern technology can help hotel staff embed personalization into routine interactions by enabling them to learn who their guests really are and what they need.
The Value of Enhanced Insight into Guest Behavior
Where modern solutions like Amadeus Service Optimization really shine is in growing the number and quality of behavioral insights that your team can collect, manage, and analyze. The guest data captured in a task management system is a powerful aid in your hotel’s strategy to routinely provide personalized experiences and exceptional service.
At Amadeus, we help hotels reframe their service capabilities through effective technology. To learn more about how automation can unlock staff capabilities to deliver personalized service, download our whitepaper now.