How to build an emotional bond with the most demanding clients, hotel guests
Imagine walking into a fresh hotel room after a long flight; dropping your luggage, collapsing onto the bed before noticing your favorite magazine resting on the table out of the corner of your eye. Seated next to it is a welcome letter addressed to yourself and an iPad tailored toward local services (yes, food delivery!). On the wall, there's a television with Netflix open and beneath it a selection of complimentary snacks.
Personalization fuels hotel stays in the modern era, and the experience is forever vital. The best hotels go beyond expectations in order to make the best of a guest's visit. The little, unexpected things boost the overall experience; adding a unique element and helping to build a relationship with guests. In spite of the above, statistics show that hotels have consistently performed poorly in creating an emotional bond with their clients. MBLM conducted research regarding brand intimacy within the hospitality industry and found hotels are failing to build brand intimacy with their customers.
Why is this happening when the tools are readily available? In the era of abundance, hotels providing efficient customer service, competitive prices and luxurious amenities simply isn't enough anymore. We want more. And we expect more: the newest technology, personal service and amenities customized to our preferences.
Let's face it. We, the clients of the hospitality industry, are exceptionally demanding. We have high expectations and if the hotel doesn't go beyond them, we often feel disappointed. We don't expect to encounter bad service, dirty rooms, poor breakfast or bed bugs in hotels. And if we do, it has a wide impact on our emotional bond with the hotel in question. Negative feelings like disappointment, anxiety, stress or fear aren't exactly the emotions we expect to encounter during our stay, but they are the ones that remain most prevalent, especially when it comes to where we sleep.
For small hotels, it's easier to create these unforgettable moments that make the emotional bond stronger. For instance, writing a personalized letter to 30 guests is a smaller task than writing it for 300. Tracking (and fulfilling!) 30 guests' preferences is possible but 300 would need an entire team to work on it full time.
Let the technology help you
According to Deloitte's travel and hospitality industry outlook, new technologies such as AI, machine learning and IoT have the potential to create personalized moments that matter and bring joy to a travel experience. Completely automated solutions like an intelligent thermostat, autonomous bed bug prevention system, or smart door lock all have an impact on the guest experience. Guests will remember those features that made their stay unique and carry those memories with them.
IoT solutions autonomously improve guest experience through streamlining resources, the most important of which is time. Human interaction is critical when building emotional bonds: so why wouldn't you let your staff concentrate in serving customers? Trivial tasks such as manually fixing room temperature or inspecting bugs take a lot of time. There are many amenities that can be automated to make guests' stay more pleasant and unique whilst positively impacting the hotels daily duties.
Ultimately, hotels can create moments beyond expectation that travelers will remember and share. When hotels succeed in creating these unforgettable yet simple moments people will spread the word. Sharing the perfect gluten-free breakfast on Instagram is more likely when it's made specifically for you.
Personalization drives positivity. And that's what we want when we pay to make a hotel room our home for a couple of days. The data is here to be used. A developed understanding of customer types allows for a tailored customer experience to be successfully implemented with little if any pitfalls. No hotel can please every guest, but a hotel can please the majority through customization, and so comes the strong emotional bond.
Marketing Manager at Valpas