While most travellers hold no loyalty to a particular hotel brand, hoteliers can change that reality by offering a more personalised guest experience, according to a study commissioned by Sabre Hospitality Solutions and conducted by Forrester Consulting.
The study demonstrates that hoteliers who rely on data and technology to power personalisation and an outstanding customer experience will hold a competitive edge to differentiate and win travellers’ hearts and business.
In the age of the customer, the relationships hotels have with guests are the greatest source of competitive differentiation, yet many hoteliers are not maximising that relationship.
Nearly two-thirds of leisure travellers and more than half of business travellers hold no loyalty to a particular hotel brand, and a majority of travellers are willing to share personal data to ensure hoteliers can meet their individual preferences, the study finds.
To capture guest loyalty, hoteliers must reimagine their loyalty programme and learn how to harness customer data and insights to create a more personalised, seamless guest experience across all channels.
The study, Customer Experience in Hospitality: Embrace Customer Data and Elevate the Guest Experience, showed “Building and maintaining customer loyalty isn’t simply about letting customers accumulate points. It’s about finding ways to make customers feel special and to recognise and honour their preferences. Hoteliers who use data and technology to elevate the customer experience will ultimately generate loyalty that drives revenue.”
Consumer attitudes toward sharing their data are evolving. According to the study, more than half of travellers are open to sharing certain types of personal information but in return expect to be offered relevant deals, discounts or loyalty points. Interestingly, travellers who are 55 and older are more willing than younger travellers to share their personal information in exchange for additional benefits.
In addition to revealing the connection between guest experience and loyalty, the study also explores other key findings with ramifications for hoteliers:
When it comes to personal touches during the stay, the most compelling reasons cited by travellers for sharing their personal information include:
- Check-in or check out time that fits their schedule
- Room selection based on their preferences
- Assistance discovering local activities and places of interest
The study concludes with recommendations for hoteliers who want to elevate the customer experience, including approaches to business intelligence for strategic decision-making and ways to unify guest data through better integration of technology platforms in order to enable the digital experiences and personal touches that guests are coming to expect.
The full study can be downloaded at www.sabrehospitality.com.