Hotels of the future
Hotels are constantly challenged to evolve and adapt to meet ever-changing consumer expectations. They are no longer places to just eat and sleep, but representative of lifestyles, interwoven in the cultural, social and business fabric of their location
To turn a prospective guest’s casual browsing activities into an actual booking, hotels will have to develop a competitive and distinctive hospitality journey strategy
THE FUTURE AVATARS IN THE HOSPITALITY JOURNEY
In any decision-making process, customers go through a series of steps to achieve their objectives. In hospitality, the classic path of a customer’s decisions and the journey itself is described as the customer journey. It involves three main stages: pre-stay, on-stay and post-stay. However, classic hospitality operations happen between check-in and check-out.
Before booking transport and accommodation, a traveler will explore all the options available. To turn a prospective guest’s casual browsing activities into an actual booking, hotels will have to develop a competitive and distinctive hospitality journey strategy. This can be achieved by using data analytics to identify specific needbased customer segments; understanding the effective hospitality journey for each customer segment; investing in the right technologies to obtain a competitive advantage; developing mobile technologies, such as apps for mobile booking, check-in and room keys; and streamlining the digital booking experience on the web. These targets will allow hotels to identify the right business opportunities to improve their customers’ experiences.
An hotelier’s main task is to make sure that a guest’s stay not only meets expectations, but exceeds them. Any stay begins when a guest checks in. In the future, a customer recognition process will trigger personalized services. Negative stereotypes, such as waiting in a check-in line, will disappear. Instead, there will be a mobile check-in. Interactive signage will guide customers and authorize them to access their room via smartphone. Personalized information and offerings could be pushed to smart devices or to virtual avatars by the hotel, as well as by allied partners, to stimulate guest choice and experience. In addition, travel groups could be clustered accordingly, in order to provide the most personalized communityrelated services. Check-out and payment procedures will be mobile, according to a guest’s individual preferences.
‘Recommend, evaluate, share and rank’ are the post-stay touch points. In the future, social networks and new mobile applications will assume this function. Any post-stay experience will be connected to pre-stay and on-stay experiences. Guests will share their emotions and impressions in the digital space in real time.
The future avatar
Internet service providers are creating personalized profiles of all users – that is, of all of us. The more data we produce, the more accurately such digital profiles represent our «real» profiles, or, in other words, the more closely our avatars resemble us. Everyone will be able to analyze their own data and monitor changes in their avatar. In principle, an avatar operates like a Google search engine: atomized molecules of information are assembled to generate a holistic picture. The second wave of avatars will create an unprecedented market transparency that guests would not normally be able to reach via manual research. This will force hotel operators to care about their digital reputation. Avatars will become chief brand ambassadors, as they unite revenue management and digital marketing at the new digital points of sale.