Is Personalization in Hospitality Dead or Alive?
— 12 experts shared their view
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?
Delivering a great guest experience will always require interactions to be personalized. That could be simple 'old school' service like a hotel concierge greeting a frequent guest by name as they arrive, or it could be your preferred room set to the right temperature - without having to request these things. Small personalizations to cater to the individual have a huge impact on guest experience and loyalty. Technology has made it easier to capture guest preferences and use them in day to day hotel operations and service.
Many hotel websites are still glorified brochures - great to look at, but the same for everyone. With the right website tools and an understanding of your target audiences (you have more than 1 audience, believe me!) you can quickly improve website conversion by creating more meaningful content that delivers what the guest is looking for.
The notion of stricter privacy regulations interfering with a marketer's ability to personalize is in my opinion a common misconception. GDPR is intended to prevent lazy mass-marketing and bad data governance (spam emails, selling of personal data, etc.). Personalization can deliver the opposite when done correctly: highly targeted experiences that people actually want. Personalization is absolutely here to stay and it should be a key component of your digital marketing in 2020.