Is Personalization in Hospitality Dead or Alive?
— 12 experts shared their view
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Personalization of the customer experience - from digital marketing and website experience, revenue management and pricing, CRM and loyalty marketing, and on-property guest experience - has become a buzzword at industry conferences, webinars and in the hospitality media. Lately, two schools of thought have emerged in hospitality. Some industry experts, discouraged by privacy acts such as GDPR and CCPA and the complexity of the technology and efforts needed, predict that personalization is dead or dying. Others, encouraged by the advances in next-gen technologies like AI and ML and the increased sophistication of the online travel consumers, firmly believe that personalization is here to stay and the only way to successfully engage, acquire and retain the digitally savvy customers.
So... is personalization dead or alive in hotel digital marketing, website experience, revenue management, CRM and on-property guest experience?
Travel & Hospitality expert. Digital Marketing & Strategy Speaker and Consultant
I remember hearing this mantra for the digital age and how personalized marketing would become the ultimate tool to *drum roll* ... get the right message, to the right person, at the right time, on the right platform. Does that ring a bell? Well, it should because this was being said... almost twenty years ago!
Then I remember attending CRM conferences back in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and this was all the rage. Whatever happened since? Oh sure, there is some personalization happening with some hospitality brands able to recognize a client at check-in, and even sometimes before. This, in turn, can lead to memorable experiences when arriving at your room and they already know you like Pinot Noir (and prepared a bottle for you) or down-duvet pillows (which are already on the bed).
So machine learning and artificial intelligence are about to revolutionize this once again, just like sophisticated CRM tools, social media, and other cloud-based solutions were supposed to do in the past decade, if not more? Allow me to be on team skeptic, here.
Not that it isn't a noble or worthy objective. It truly is. The problem lies unfortunately in the near-impossibility to get a single view of the client across multiple touchpoints, online and offline. And I don't see this becoming less of an issue, all the contrary in fact.