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

Hospitality News Middle East - - CONTENTS - Ray F. Iu­nius Di­rec­tor of Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Lausanne Hos­pi­tal­ity Con­sult­ing

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.

Pre-stay

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.

On-stay

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.

Post-stay

‘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.

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