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3 ways to capitalize on shifting hotel guest expectations

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By: Mike Giambattista, CLMP |

Posted on August 13, 2018

Photo by Alfons Morales

We just kicked off this month’s theme and it already starting to sound like an echo chamber here.  I think we can all agree that indeed, guest expectations are changing.  Rapidly.  And I think we can all agree that the tools and methods of understanding those changes are evolving at a blistering pace. What’s less obvious though is how hotels are coping & adapting to those changes – and how they are leveraging this new learning to create better guest outcomes.

It’s my opinion that operating a successful loyalty program in the hospitality space is one of the most complex undertakings in the broader world of loyalty.  Perhaps more than any other industry, hoteliers have the opportunity to affect nearly 360 degrees of their guests’ lives over the course of their stay.  That’s a lot of responsibility to shoulder – but it’s also a huge opportunity.

Data suggests that guests are aware of that fact and that they are keen to be recognized and treated accordingly.

That moment when hoteliers recognized they had the ability to influence guest loyalty beyond the relatively simple math of free room nights coincided with the exact point on the timeline when paying attention to guest experience (pre, during and post) became so critically important.  Today, that awareness takes the form of a complex matrix of touchpoints that are monitoring virtually every aspect of guest satisfaction.

But what to do with all that data?

Excerpted from their recent study, rDialogue suggests a three-point strategy for capitalizing on this new-found awareness:

Members-Only Experiences

“Rewards have become table stakes to the point where no brand wants to be the richest, as it often comes at the expense of yield,” Rubin said. “Members expect programs to offer rewards, but they’re not a differentiator the way the guest experience is.”

Ease of Purchase

“They must invest in leveraging customer data and insights into the shopping and booking experience from their own channels,” he said. “It’s actually a huge win for brands wanting to shift business to their direct channel, but only if—and it’s a big if—they invest in making sure their direct channels provide the absolute best experience.”

Seamless Tech

“Part of the tech decision should be driven by an honest review of your customer journey, identifying where the gaps are in the experience through customer input and an internal review. Then armed with that insight, develop a strategy for the guest experience,” he said.

You can learn more about rDialogue’s Brand Study here.