Data-driven insights for personalised travel experiences
By Wynand Smit, Chief Executive Officer at INOVO
Hospitality, by its very nature is guest-focused. Besides your team presenting exceptional visitor-facing service, this thread must be woven throughout the entire company, from the front office through to the back office. There's more to that than motivational meetings; the channels and processes that allow for this must be optimised to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Efficient use of the millions of pieces of data you store is central to getting this right. Insights gleaned from this data can revolutionise what you have on offer.
Customer service and sales
Data-driven insights are essential tools in improving both how you deliver service and how you offer it. First of all, data should be centralised, streamlined so that it's in the right place and accessible to all who need to use it. Let's say you have a feedback tool – if it's operating in isolation, the insights you gain will be minimal, but if you are able to use analytics on the data, you can get a clearer picture for what visitors are experiencing and this will enable you to provide improved services. This can be true for both an individual guest's experiences and for the broader guest experience.
An example would be: a guest complains that their check-in details are wrong, using the hotel's feedback app. Naturally, this can provide the opportunity to update one guest's details, but if you can gain insights that suggest twenty guests a week are having the same issue, then you can check to see where the problem is creeping in: is it a manual input problem that could be resolved by allowing guests to in put their own information? Perhaps the information is not updating timeously – this can be resolved by amending settings. It could be that a particular employee requires more training to get to grips with the task, too.
That scenario is suggesting that a hotel group is using fairly advanced technology – both with a personalised app and a feedback tool. Many companies are still using handwritten feedback sheets, with those having the potential to get lost and the information not captured.
In a sales environment, data can provide an endless source of useful information about guests – how long before their stay they're booking, how they pay, how long they stay for and what days of the week/month. This information provides the insights that can be used to create campaigns that are personalised: let's say a guest normally stays for three nights the first week of every month. A campaign could be developed to target that guest and others like them to offer an additional fourth night free for them to enjoy.
At a basic level, it means that all forms of communication can be personalised in this way, providing an opportunity to acknowledge their loyalty, offer added value or, in some cases upsell.
Customer service in hospitality is far more than having great people at the front desk, it means having a fantastic team who will know how to maximise the potential that guest information provides throughout all touch points of the guest-hotel journey, particularly in your customer service department.
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