SARA RANGHI

M Style - - The Observatory - BRAND LEADER COR­PO­RATE BRANDS & CUS­TOMER EX­PE­RI­ENCE

We are lis­ten­ing to what cus­tomers tell us and im­prov­ing our op­er­a­tional pro­cesses based on that.”

Ranghi tells us what the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence is like in all the phases of the cus­tomer jour­ney, be­gin­ning be­fore ar­rival at the ho­tel, as well as how new tools like the app will al­low the cus­tomer to do every­thing with their mo­bile: or­der some­thing, make a reser­va­tion, show pref­er­ences and more.

What is the great­est in­flu­ence on the user ’s pur­chas­ing de­ci­sion? Aside from main fac­tors such as price, prod­uct and trust in the brand, there are rec­om­men­da­tions and rat­ings from other users. Ul­ti­mately, the buy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence it­self marks the be­gin­ning of the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence, in our case at the ho­tel. That’s why the Meliá group is work­ing to im­prove the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence when vis­it­ing melia.com or down­load­ing the new Meliá app. The main ob­jec­tives of im­prov­ing this first pur­chas­ing phase would be to estab­lish the fol­low­ing: easy nav­i­ga­tion, per­son­alised con­tent ac­cord­ing to buy­ing pref­er­ences, dif­fer­ent pay­ment op­tions (cash, points, points + cash), com­ments

and rat­ings from other trav­ellers and good cus­tomer ser­vice, like for ex­am­ple be­ing able to chat with a spe­cialised agent.

How has the guest ex­pe­ri­ence evolved?

In re­cent years, the Meliá group has been ded­i­cated to look­ing at how to im­prove trans­ac­tional pro­cesses, to make them more sim­ple and stream­lined. For in­stance at checkin; MeliáRe­wards cus­tomers who make their reser­va­tions through our own chan­nels (melia.com, the app or the Con­tact Cen­tre) can now check in on­line 96 hours be­fore the day of ar­rival, just like we do for flights. We want the cus­tomer to be com­pletely au­ton­o­mous, and to not even have to stop by re­cep­tion (with the ex­cep­tion of coun­tries where leg­is­la­tion re­quires this). Once this project is com­plete, the guest will be able to up­grade their room, en­ter in the de­tails of the other guests, pay for the reser­va­tion, dig­i­tally sign the wel­come doc­u­ment and ob­tain their dig­i­tal key, pro­vided the ho­tel has com­pat­i­ble locks. This is how Meliá is re­spond­ing to the call to be ‘cus­tomer cen­tric’: by lis­ten­ing to what cus­tomers tell us and im­prov­ing our op­er­a­tional pro­cesses based on that.

What does the Meliá group’s app of­fer?

The new Meliá app will no longer be just a way to make and man­age reser­va­tions at our ho­tels; it will also al­low you to check in on­line and ob­tain the dig­i­tal key for your room. Dur­ing each guest’s stay,

they can use the app to chat with the ho­tel, make any kind of re­quest or reser­va­tion and even or­der room ser­vice, as well as find out all the in­for­ma­tion about the ho­tel’s ser­vices.

In ad­di­tion, on their

MeliáRe­wards pro­file, the guest will be able to man­age all their per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, loy­alty points, fre­quent com­pan­ions and pref­er­ences; link their credit/debit card to their pro­file; and save their favourite ho­tels.

In terms of new tech­nol­ogy, what pi­lot projects are be­ing tested out in ho­tels?

There are many, from the global con­sol­i­da­tion of the reser­va­tion man­age­ment sys­tems at the restau­rants and spas to the in­clu­sion of a sup­port fea­ture for meet­ing plan­ners in our app; from the abil­ity to open doors with a dig­i­tal key to the use of wearables that let guests pay in restau­rants as well as open their ho­tel room doors, among many other projects. In­no­va­tion is a corner­stone of the Meliá group’s strat­egy.

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