Food for thought: Loyalty is this better? personalization a pipe dream?
By Martin Soler, Partner at Soler & Associates
It has shipped! Tell Trends report has finally been printed and shipped. It started as a crazy idea last summer, the conclusion that there just isn't really any big picture report on the trends in the industry. Between "breaking news", sponsored posts and advertorials it is hard to see the forest from all the trees. We decided to bring together independent writers who didn't have any particular company line to tow and take a bird's eye view of the trends. And it worked!!! We shipped the first edition which is great (for those who haven't experienced startup life - shipping has a very special feeling that comes with it.) You can get your copy, there are still some left. Unlike software products, this has a limited supply. Buy yours here: TellTrends.com Best, Martin.
Food for thought.
Loyalty Schemes, is this better?
Last week was an interesting time for Loyalty schemes. Marriott launched their ad campaign for the oddly named Bonvoy program and Accor launched ALL. Both chose high profile football (soccer for some) teams to launch the campaigns. I posted a quick overview of these that you can read in the link below. Overall the system is growing, at least Accor seems to want to grow beyond the hotel rewards system which is interesting. But none of these systems have yet found that large friction/pain point that they need to remove in order to make them great. In a story about the hugely successful Amazon Prime they only did it to solve something people hated with a passion, shipping costs. By giving free shipping it changed the way people shopped. Could hospitality find such a pain-point to remove?
Personalization, Segmentation of One etc
I had the honor of being invited to speak on a panel at Opportunity2019 in London recently. It's one of the better conferences in hospitality. Still comprised of a lot of hoteliers and not just a large amount of sales pitches from vendors. A recurring theme at the conference was personalization. The topic is broad, complicated and not always practical. While there is great progress to be done for OTAs and large hotel chains, at a hotel level there are still too few players really trying, at the conference it seemed to be summed up to Avvio and Oaky (I'm sure I've forgotten some). After a great 1 hour panel we could summarize the key takeaways for hoteliers to A) Work out what you're really good at as a hotel and make sure that's the main thing you're promoting. It's really old-school but that's still the best way to "personalize" for your guests because you sell what you do well. B) a large part of the real (sales and marketing) personalization will happen on platforms outside the hotel, get ready for them by preparing your data, your hotel's attributes and search for providers who can help future-proof your IT.
Tech in hotels should bring more humans
The eternal debate about technology in hotels taking away the human touch is more about scrambling to find an excuse than a real problem. Nobody loves to stand in line and way to check-in. Nobody enjoys having to wait behind 5 other anxious guests, anxious about having to haggle over the final invoice. The transactional interactions to discuss money and pay are not fun. Part of what Uber and Airbnb great is they completely removed them from the equation. Few hotels are getting this right, Raffles Singapore is converting the front desk team into butlers which makes a lot more sense. Adding technology to the front desk should be about adding people who can service guests. It's not about saving costs - it's about raising quality.
Amazon in travel, welcome, but...
Amazon has made multiple tries into travel. So far nothing major has stuck, save probably for their advertising channel which is not very deep nor particularly travel focused. Travel is one of the few industries that has shifted almost entirely to digital for sales and marketing. Amazon are the undisputed leaders in everything e-commerce. And I'm sure many would welcome a third player (we could argue that Google is already that). But on the other hand, here's a company that has grown to large and so widespread, which is known to slash their own profit in the name of taking market share. It isn't totally clear what it would do to the industry.
PS: If hotels are concerned about 20% commission to OTAs, consider 40% to sell on Amazon.
Tell Trends: Order now
As I mentioned above, independent and knowledgeable source of information in the industry is quite limited. Those who seem to be quite independent aren't that knowledgeable and those who are knowledgable aren't independent. Tell Trends is a rare mix of both. Get your copy today.