All posts by Monique Manning

Culture of Convenience: Demand for Self-Service Technologies Continues to Rise

If you were to look at your typical day, how many tasks are aided by convenience? With the advent of smartphones, the rapid growth of the Internet and mobile connectivity we are constantly finding more convenient ways to get many things done without too much hassle. We have easy access to all sorts of information, news, and have the ability to shop online any time of the day or night from the comfort of your own home. We now value convenience. We have become spoiled by immediacy and are annoyed by tasks that remain at the old level of effort and time. Not surprisingly, as task after task becomes easier, the growing expectation of convenience exerts a pressure on everything else to be easy or get left behind. Convenience has emerged as perhaps the most powerful force shaping our individual lives and our economies.

But it wasn’t always like this. Convenience as we now know it is a product of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when labor-saving devices for the home were invented and marketed. Milestones include the invention of the first “convenience foods,” such as canned pork and beans and Quaker Quick Oats; the first electric clothes-washing machines; cleaning products like Old Dutch scouring powder; and other marvels including the electric vacuum cleaner, instant cake mix and the microwave oven. Then in the 1960’s came the Automated Teller Machine (ATM), the first conception of self-service technology (SSS). Since then, due to the advancements in technology, self-service technologies have come a long way and are now almost everywhere in every industry in various forms such as mobile banking, online shopping, e-support, virtual agents, self-serve luggage stations, on-demand concierge apps, hotel delivery bots, online tracking, kiosks from photo-printing, to airport and hotel check-in, grocery shopping, digital food ordering – the list is endless.

Automation, smart technologies and self-service achieve various new advances every day fuelling and feeding our appetite for convenience. “After you have experienced streaming television, waiting to see a show at a prescribed hour seems silly, even a little undignified. To resist convenience — not to own a cellphone, not to use Google — has come to require a special kind of dedication that is often taken for eccentricity, if not fanaticism.” Tim Wu, Law Professor at Columbia. With our constant desire for convenience, customers increasingly expect self-service technology options and now expect to be able to have more visibility and control when it comes to interacting with a business. More than 85% of consumers have used a self-service options when they shop, with 73% of consumers saying they prefer self-service technologies, such as self-checkout, over engaging with brand associates. At the same time, about 76% of respondents said brands that use mobile technology—in the form of both self-service mobile tools and mobile tools used by employees helps provide a more efficient experience.

With customers preferring to use machines to get their services instead of interacting with an assisted service worker self-service is growing exponentially in all areas of retail, travel and hospitality, restaurants, healthcare and banking environments. It is estimated that by 2023 the global self-service technology market will generate a market value of USD 32 billion, growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 13%.

Basically, the simple fact is; people enjoy using self-service options because the technology makes life more efficient. As the demand for self-service technologies continues to rise businesses will need to provide their clients with the resources that empower them with the ability to create services that are independent of immediate staff participation or risk being left behind.

New York New York: How Innovative Hotels are Offering Rates at Promotional Prices

New York, the city that never sleeps. And if you’re a tourist, you probably won’t get to sleep as according to a recent article featured on Skift, a one night stay in the city can cost north of $1,000 during peak season. The city is bustling with tourists like never before and looking for a half-way decent room for under $500 a night is a challenge. But it wasn’t always this way.

Take a quick trip back to the 1980s and New York City was quite a different place from the cosmopolitan urban city we know today. It was a gritty, graffiti-strewn city, where homicides were at near-record highs and the crack epidemic was raging. Times Square was far from a tourist mecca; it was an eclectic mix of legendary grand theatres, a den replete of hustlers, pornographic movie halls, and sex shops. So, what changed?

The Marriott family has been credited for playing a huge role in democratizing New York City hospitality scene, taking risks with the development of an enormous hotel at a time when hotel investment was anything but a sure bet – and it wasn’t just a hotel in New York, it was a hotel in Times Square aimed to not only attract visitors to area, but to keep them there. After years of delays the hotel eventually debut in 1985. The rest they say is history.

However, this all coincided with a newly established aggressive policing policy and the rezoning and redevelopment of many areas leading to a rapid clean-up of the city. The city became more attractive, tourism started to grow and the economic force they provided had the pleasant side effect of making the city ripe for a new wave of evolution and experimentation for hoteliers. It also showed the power that tourism has to help reinvent neighborhoods and as a result, over the past two decades, tourism to Big Apple has swelled from 33 million to nearly 63 million annual visitors, with powerful ripples throughout the city’s economy. Once just one sector among many, tourism has risen to become one of the top four employment drivers in the city.

With visitor numbers like this is not surprising that demand for accommodation is at an all-time high. As of November 2018, year-to-date occupancy in the New York City hotel market was 87.3 percent, according to STR. With successful hotels generally operating with between 60 and 70 percent occupancy anyone in the business would know that 87.3 is extremely high. Not only that but hotel development in the city has continued apace with tourism growth. In 2015, New York City had more than 107,000 hotel rooms, 48% more than in 2006 and by the end of 2019 the industry plans to add another 26,500 rooms. Even though demand in the city has increased along with occupancy, the increased supply of hotel rooms hasn’t undermined the pricing power of individual hotels.

But, in “oh-so-pricey New York”, after years of pushback from developers dead-set on maximizing per-room revenues due to demand still at an all-time high, hoteliers are finding a new way to offer more bang for travelers’ bucks all across Manhattan—whether they’re looking to pay $200 a night or $2,000. A new wave of innovative “hip” hotels are bursting onto the scene, with lower price points and offering so much more than beds and minibars, they’re destinations in and of themselves. “People don’t tend to hang out in their rooms” Mitchell Hochberg, Lightstone Group (…who developed the newly opened Moxy Chelsea). “So much space is wasted in a traditional hotel…Maximizing value from each square foot is essential to maintaining the bottom line.”

Their philosophy is with clever use of space and design you can offer a much more attractive price point to get them in the door and then extract value by monetizing every bit of space available. “Rooftops have become revenue-generating. Ground floors have become community melting pots. Bakeries, flower stores, coffee shops—they’re all revenue-generating toys, as we call them. Give people all those venues to play and spend money in, and you can maximize profit with smaller rooms and lower prices” Sharan Pasricha, CEO Ennismore.

If you’re overdue a trip to the Big Apple and are looking for somewhere to stay within budget, or as an hotelier want to implement some of their money making ideas, check out the full article on Skift.

Google Hotel Booking Website: A New Threat to Online Booking Agencies?

Google. It’s the biggest search engine on the planet. It commands over 90% of the search engine market share worldwide and receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day. There is no denying that Google has dominance in the search world and a key advantage of such prominence is the grip it has on consumers with people constantly turning to Google for answers to myriad things.

While consumers pay nothing for most Google services, Google controls many of the way’s businesses access customers online. As the internet giant is the main source of answers for the majority of consumers who go online every day to get information, it almost impossible to run a company without buying advertising from the internet giant. In theory, online advertising sounds like a great opportunity to promote your business and can be seen as an extension/ add-on to your existing marketing plan.

However, in recent years, due to Google updates, showing up at the top of search results (which is imperative for most companies) especially on smartphones, has become increasingly difficult. Buying ads is the best way to achieve that goal and as a result many large businesses face pressure to fork out large sums of money on a regular basis to fight for top real estate or risk losing out to competitors.  While advertising has always involved a healthy fight between brands, when it comes to the online world, brands are increasingly annoyed over Googles advertising practices and dominance in various industry spaces.

One such area, is travel. Google has been very active in recent years building its own travel offerings, including for flights, hotels and tours. It’s all part of the company’s master plan to make it even more indispensable for people planning a trip. And without any major fanfare, Google recently added a full-fledged destination site for hotels. In a blog published late last week, Richard Holden, Google’s vice president of product management, travel, wrote about the new features in Google Flights and Hotels and slipped in about a development they have been waiting for a year or so now i.e. a full-fledged site for hotel meta search site and booking engine. With this new development consumers can now find the right hotel for their trip by applying a new “Deals” filter. This filter, said Holden, “uses machine learning to highlight hotels where one or more of our partners offer rates that are significantly lower than the usual price for that hotel or similar hotels nearby.”

While Google would argue that this latest development is all about providing a better search experience, some of its customers, some of whom pay copious amounts in advertising fees to the internet giant, are less than impressed. Mark Okerstrom, Expedia CEO noted that Expedia spends billions of dollars marketing through Google annually and said of Google’s latest product offering “Now they say: ‘You have to pay for everything. And we’re going to compete with you directly in that travel business by offering travel services that will essentially disintermediate you.” Not only that but many industry critics have also weighed in citing that Google is “rigged” saying it often biases search results toward its own products instead of giving competitors equal access. – “[Google] clearly places its own travel businesses front and center in its search results to the detriment of competitors… We see Google preference its own content to the detriment of consumers in travel and local search” Steve Kaufer, TripAdvisor CEO. While it doesn’t apply to the US, the EU competition authority certainly agrees with their arguments as Google has just been hit with its third fine in two years from the EU over its advertising practices and abusing its market dominance.

However, regardless of disgruntled customers and hefty fines, Google is a dominate and key player in the search world and any new product released already commands the attention of a large consumer audience. By becoming much more active in facilitating hotel bookings consumers will have the option to search and book without having to navigate away to a hotel or online travel agency site. In the past, the fight for bookings mainly involved the hotels and OTA, now there seems to be a new, bigger player in town which is presenting a greater threat to all. Google.

It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Rate Parity Issues Continue to be the Root of huge potential losses for hoteliers

As we move through 2019, rate parity issues continue to be as big a deal as ever for hoteliers. According to a study by data intelligence platform OTA Insight, 25% of hoteliers don’t believe they are in control of rate parity. What is more is an OTA Insight quarterly parity report corroborates with their concerns showing that parity issues are at the root of huge potential losses for hoteliers.

The rate parity argument between hoteliers and OTAs is nothing new. Hoteliers need, or rather rely on OTAs to increase their reach – and OTAs know the power that they yield over brands. So much so they were clever enough to introduce the crippling, thorn in the side, rate parity clause restricting the hotel’s ability to offer and promote lower rates or discounted offers via their own website in a bid to thwart hoteliers’ efforts to incentivise their own potential guests to book direct. By imposing such a clause, hoteliers incur significant revenue losses as well as see their direct sales undermined. OTAs were created to help the hotels and the rate parity is far from helpful.

However, the parity clause has been such a bone of contention that recently several countries have prohibited all OTA parity clauses outright in order to allow fair competition. In response to intervention from regulators in Europe, restrictions around rate parity have been removed in several national jurisdictions including France, Austria, Italy, and Belgium. Australia, New Zealand also have similar regulations and other countries like Switzerland have made announcements to follow suit. But, with the exception of places where parity is banned, OTAs continue to use wide parity clauses across all markets. While great strides have been made the current hotel distribution landscape continues to be global patchwork of regulations of rate parity clauses and OTA behaviours with complex contractual relationships between OTAs.

What is ironic though about the whole rate parity business is that the hoteliers who have parity clauses written into their OTA “agreements” legally cannot offer lower rates on their own site, yet time and time again hoteliers say, and see, OTAs like Agoda regularly sell unauthorized static wholesale rates through their sites, undercutting them on price without any regard for contracts… “[and at] other times the feeling is Agoda takes a contracted rate and shaves its margin to push the price below competitor and hotel pricing.”

So, while OTA include parity clauses, they don’t stick to their own rules and as a result, many hoteliers suffer from huge losses in revenue while their direct sales and marketing efforts are undermined. So, why bother have an agreement at all? Well, the latest quarterly parity report from OTA insight has revealed what we’ve all known for a long time, rate parity issues are at the root of huge potential loses for hoteliers regardless of contractual relationship with the hotels. They found that wholesalers are exacerbating the parity problem by dealing with non-contracted OTAs. While many OTAs have contracted terms with hotels, wholesalers are unsealing rooms to non-contracted OTAs who then undercutting hotel rates by as much as 25%! “The basic mechanism involves wholesalers contracting inventory at a big discount and selling it on to OTAs at a discount which still leaves room for the OTAs to undercut hotels,” says Clive Wood, Global Commercial Manager for Parity Insight at OTA Insight. “But it’s surprising how unaware some hoteliers are about what’s happening, day in, day out when guests book through the many channels out there. Just how much of their revenue is being threatened?”

Rate parity issues aren’t going anywhere soon – and this is just another frustration to add to a long list for hoteliers. Monitoring parity and identifying which parties might be behind it is crucial and technology has come a long way to help hoteliers manage today’s dynamic distribution landscape. However, it seems regardless of parity written into your legal agreement, or not, parity is still difficult to enforce and remains a constant battle for revenue and distribution managers.

Read the full OTA Insight article.

Technology Love Match: Choosing the Right Technology for your Hotel

In today’s hospitality landscape, technology is a driving influence in a hotel’s appeal to guests, as they consciously seek out more tech-forward, mobile-centric and personalized travel experiences. And with an ever more sophisticated and expectant consumer on all our minds, it’s easy to fall prey to the growing pressure to stay at the forefront of the latest, innovative technology trends. However, there is a vast amount of hotel technology saturating the market, and not all of it will be right for you.

When asked what guest-facing technologies hotels will focus on in the coming year, two out of three hoteliers asked by HotelNewsNow said voice-enabled technology. The third focused on automation via mobile apps. And these may well be where these particular properties need to focus with their ideal guests. While some technology trends are elements that hotels need to survive, others are simply a fad. So how can a hotelier strategically decipher which technology they should invest in?

Get to know your guests: Succeeding in the hospitality industry means succeeding in the delivery of exceptional guest service — so when it comes to technology, the guest should always be front and center. The concept of putting the customer first is not new, but knowing how to stay relevant requires staying up to date with their evolving needs. Generally speaking, older technology solutions are not able to provide the guest insights that will empower the level of personalized, attentive service required to meet your guest’s evolving service expectations. Rather, hoteliers should look to progressive technology solutions that offer real-time, visual data analytics with actionable insights at every touch point of each guest’s stay.

Future Proof Your Investments: Regardless of what technology solutions you are thinking of investing in, one thing that every hotel needs to start with is a solid PMS backbone. With a core PMS, one that is cloud-based with open APIs can change the way hoteliers do business. Compared to traditional solutions, with a cloud-based PMS, hoteliers stand to gain from having a flexible IT infrastructure. Its’ true power lies in how seamlessly it can integrate with other systems; allowing hotels become more nimble, to connect and do business more seamlessly and can scale up or scale down operations enabling to support business growth without expensive changes to your existing systems. With a solid cloud-based PMS foundation in place, from there, you have the flexibility to integrate and build exactly what will make your guests happy, and make your property more profitable into the future.

Be Mobile, or Be Left Behind: Similar to the PMS, mobile is something that cannot be avoided in the hotel industry. It is no longer an emerging trend — it’s long since invaded hospitality territory. Mobile devices have become part and parcel of our everyday and is changing the way people perceive what constitutes good service. Consumers are coming to expect the kind of self-service, streamlined experience that mobile technology provides. They want the freedom to choose how and when they interact with your hotel, they want the ability to help themselves, to be self-sufficient. By offering guests self-service options satisfies an expanded definition of customer service now grounded by the conveniences of the instant gratification economy.

Try Before You Buy: This heading is a little self-explanatory! However, as mentioned earlier, there is a vast amount of hotel technology saturating the market. There are a lot of different providers providing a range of tools and solutions and it can be hard to decipher which solution best aligns with your business needs. Many companies do offer trials and it is wise that you test any new solution before making any final commitment to ensure that it isn’t something that doesn’t perform as advertised or is unnecessary.

While there nearly seems to be a new technological solution, innovation or trend every other day that hoteliers are expected to keep up-to-date with the reality is every hotel has different needs, different guests, and different concepts. Before investing in any new technology solution, hotels need to think carefully about the problems that need solving and what they’re hoping to achieve with the technology they plan to invest in. A key takeaway would be to focus on a building a foundation that will offer flexibility and empowers you to make your guests happy, and your property more profitable.

Improving Your Hotel Marketing Efforts

It’s no secret that a primary focus of every hotelier is to increase their bookings. With the increasing amount of accommodation options available to consumers, it’s more important than ever for hotels to optimize their marketing efforts, online and off. This post will explore some of the most useful ways your hotel can more effectively reach potential customers and draw more guests to your doors.

Be Searchable

Today’s travelers start their journeys online. Trips that used to require travel agents can now be planned entirely from a mobile phone. A Google search is often the first step an aspiring traveler takes when researching their trip, so it’s essential for your hotel to be discoverable online. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, can be used to boost your Google rankings, and ensure that travelers find you when searching in your area. 

Target the Right Audience

Does your hotel cater to business travelers, or are you a boutique establishment procuring unique experiences for your guests? No matter who your target audience is, it’s essential to know them well. Research the latest trends that your target market is interested in and offer an experience that is uniquely catered to their travel needs and desires. Unless you’re promoting a rustic, throwback hotel experience, embracing technology trends such as mobile check-in and self-service kiosks are effective ways to target the modern, mobile traveler.

Allocate More Money Towards Your Marketing Budget During Peak Seasons

Your marketing efforts should not be flat all year round. They need to ebb and flow with the travel seasons in order to target the swells of potential guests coming through your location. Keep in mind that they’re likely booking their journeys well ahead of time, so your marketing budget should be expanded for some time before the peak season starts.

Incentivize

In order to stay competitive, your hotel needs to stand out. Incentives such as time-sensitive discounts allow you to make a mark on potential guests, even if you’re not dominating the local market. You can even offer rewards systems that give special rates or complementary benefits to your most loyal customers. Make your deals irresistible with customer incentives, and your bookings are sure to see a boost.

Market Your Surrounding Area

Local business in your area are always on the lookout for mutually beneficial partnerships. Local promotions can be a great way to make a mark on your city or town, and get people talking about your business. This can also include local contests and promotions that build hype and get people talking about your hotel brand. 

Make it Easier to Contact Your Front Desk

Nowadays, picking up the room phone and calling the front desk feels like an antiquated activity for many guests. Instead, open up the communication channels that customers have with your staff by using mobile chat and click-to-call features. Modern hotel property management systems such as StayNTouch integrate this connectivity directly into their platforms to make staying connected with guests easier than ever. 

Go Above and Beyond in Customer Service

Good hospitality is par for the course when it comes to the hotel industry. Consider what your business can do to be exceptional. Going above and beyond with your customer service will help you to earn positive online reviews and stand out from the competition. If you have a guest that has an issue with their stay, do everything you can to resolve it. Your entire staff should feel that customers come first and reflect this in their level of service. Inspire them to go above and beyond and see the results! 

Be Active on Social Platforms

Your social media presence serves as a key part of your brand identity. Staying active on social media means not only posting content regularly but also interacting with fellow users. Remember that responding to comments and sharing content from other pages is a public display of your hotel’s values and vision. Take care to curate content and replies that follow the best interests of your brand.

Refresh Your Website

Believe it or not, a great website experience can translate into a great hotel experience in the minds of your visitors. A website that is outdated shows that your business may not care about the details that differentiate an average hotel from an outstanding one. Make sure your webpages are responsive and intuitive to use and have all of the information site visitors may need about your hotel. It’s a good idea to include a “Frequently Asked Questions” section to cover the common inquiries surrounding your hotel. 

By employing these tips, your hotel is sure to have a stronger marketing presence, online and on the streets. When your marketing conveys how much your hotel is committed to customer satisfaction, you’ll find your rooms filling up faster. Enjoy saying, “Enjoy your stay!” 

The Hyperconnected Guest – Is Your Hotel Ready?

Consumers today are becoming not just more connected, but hyperconnected. We are increasingly connected to the internet and the objects around us are also becoming ‘smarter’ and more connected. In the next the number of connected devices around the globe is expected to hit anywhere from 50 billion to a staggering one trillion in the next five years alone.

With the possibility of interacting from anywhere and from multiple devices, consumers have come to expect the ability to interact with brands on every channel available to them. Those devices range from desktop to laptops, mobiles and smart devices people use on a daily basis – wearables, car navigation and entertainment, and even home appliances. While multiple channels bring massive opportunity for marketers to interact with potential customers, it also brings with it challenges in creating and delivering a powerful and memorable customer experience effectively. According to Frost & Sullivan, in 2020, the customer experience will beat price and product differences in terms of convincing the customer to opt for one brand over another. Customers will, if not already, choose companies that offer them hyper-personalized and differentiated experience.

Hyper-Personalized Experiences are Valuable

Studies show that a moderate improvement in customer experience (CX) would impact the revenue of a typical $1 billion company an average of $775 million over three years. In addition, 81% percent of consumers want brands to understand them better, 67% of consumers say they will pay more for a great experience, while loyal customers are seven times as likely to be enticed by an offering, five times as likely to buy again and four times as likely to refer. And these findings aren’t going unnoticed, marketers do seem to be on the same page with 77% recognising and believing that real-time personalization is crucial to customer satisfaction however 60% struggle to actualise this.

So, with this new generation of traveller, who is hyperconnected and increasingly expecting personalized experiences, how can hotels connect the dots so that they constantly and consistently communicate, engage and delight customers across multiple channels, formats and device types?

Leverage Technology

Emerging technological solutions allow hoteliers to provide a more personalized service offering by providing a timely, convenient bridge to augment communication and ultimately the customer experience. By leveraging and utilizing modern technology, hoteliers can understand the guest better — at the most granular level.

With the help of integrated, digital-savvy platforms such as mobile PMS and CRM software, hoteliers can access a dashboard with organized data from all channels. This not only curates a personalized view of each guest, but also helps to offset operational load. With certain communications and touch-points going digital, guests are treated to a more efficient experience and staff are empowered to connect with guests on a more personal, memorable level. These platforms can also monitor social behavior and influence the lifetime value of current and prospective guests, collect data on industry trends, track purchase behavior, identify targeted upsell opportunities, measure performance, and ensure messages reach the right guests at the right time and through the right channel.

Using data as the voice of the customer hoteliers can generate a 360 degree view of each guest and effectively deliver a unified, personalized, hyperconnected experience that is relevant and homogeneous across all channels. Those brands that can provide a consistent experience will not only remain relevant, but also strengthen guest loyalty, motivate return visits, increase average daily rate and drive incremental hotel revenue.

One thing is for certain, customers are already hyper connected, what about your business?

How Hotels Can Tap into The Experience Economy

The experience economy – a term that has been around for a while. In fact, it was first mentioned in 1998 by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore in a Harvard Business Review article of the same name stating “as goods and services become commoditized, the customer experiences that companies create will matter most”.

Fast forward twenty years and the sentiment rings true. Today, people are increasingly investing in themselves, crafting their life and status through what they do, not what they own. Consumer purchasing is now more influenced by the experiences provided by a brand than product itself, and there is plenty of research to show that we derive more enjoyment from purchasing experiences than physical products. Over the past few years, the US alone has witnessed a tectonic shift in spending with 4x more spending devoted to experiences rather than physical goods – material goods are simply not as valued.  

While the experience economy is a phenomenon that might have been around since the mid-1990s, it’s more recent burst into the mainstream came about through a perfect storm. Millennials have been credited as the ignition source of driving an “experience economy,” by placing a greater value on time spent with friends and family than material goods. This mindset just happened to coincide in parallel with the rise of smartphone technology, iphoneography (yes, that’s an actual word!) and social media on-the-go which fueled a rapid rise in the valuing of experiences over things. According to a 2017 Adobe Digital Index U.S. Working Millennials Survey, 70% of this generation value experiences over things, and 86% say they don’t want to miss out on life experiences.

So, what does this mean for hoteliers? The concept of consumers spending money on experiences rather than material possessions is particularly relevant to the travel and tourism industry. When it comes to millennials, they have the most spending power of any generation before theirs, with an estimated $200 billion per year spend, and $10 trillion lifetime spend as a generation. They are a generation that travel more frequently – 70% say that funding travel is a key motivation to work, second only to paying for basic necessities. Not only that, but according to Mintel, millennials are surpassing previous generations in travel spending and are blurring the lines between traveling for work and for pleasure.

As more and more consumers, in particular millennials, funnel their dollars towards travel and the experience economy, hoteliers that can deliver on those expectations will win big. Here are just three ways to tap into and take advantage of the experience economy:

  1. Showcase all things local: Hoteliers should market their hotel as an experience, and a part of a vibrant local community. Original artwork, design that matches local cultures, and homegrown dishes and beverages that reflects the local community in which guests have travelled, all lend themselves to a unique guest experience. Similarly, you should highlight and promote the surrounding areas, put together suggestions of places where people should eat, drink and activities they can take part in. Think of the off-the-beaten path places you and your staff would go; neighborhood walks, local eateries, hidden parks, unexpected landmarks. CitizenM is one such hotel group that markets itself as a new kind of hotel, dedicated to “drowning hotel clichés.” The blog focuses on “The city’s best bits, explored by us.” And their guide for New York they have details on places to eat and drink, avoiding the commercial tourist traps and where the best place to get an authentic craft beer in Brooklyn.

Guests want to explore and experience the local area, the opportunity to stay at a hotel that lends to that experience makes the stay even more appealing.

  1. Create Personalized Interactions: A hotel’s personalization of service is also key to creating an unforgettable experience for guests. 3 in every 5 Americans (59%) have shown inclination to opt for a new brand for better service experience.According to IBM, more than 70% of hotel guests report that a personalized service results in a positive stay experience.

As we touched on in a previous post, by having the right technology in place, hotels can gather real-time data on their guests to understand their preferences. They can then use that information to anticipate guest needs and provide a more personalized service, elevating the overall guest experience. To top it off, according to a study by Qubit, brands that create personalized experiences by integrating data and advanced technologies are currently achieving revenue increases of between 6% and 10%. So not only will you have happier guests but a healthier bank balance too.

Constructing personalized experiences that deliver more than the guest expects creates a lasting impression and a surefire way to gain loyalty.

  1. Using Social Media to Build Enthusiasm:  The increasing power of social media is not to be underestimated. Travel consumers are heavily influenced by “social proof and the majority of US travelers (47%) share their hotel experience on a social network post-stay – this can take the form of anything from selfies, pictures, comments, videos etc. Potential guests then use this information to figure out where they’re visiting next, what they’re going to do when they get there, and where they are going to stay.

Considering the impact of word-of-mouth advertising, as a hotelier you should get into the conversation, leverage their good times, turning your past guests into a perpetual army of experience evangelists. For critics, listen to their complaints as an opportunity to improve service and address deficiencies.

Travel brands have tremendous opportunities to craft and offer experiences that resonate with the experience economy generation. Those that can deliver memorable experiences that connect with their guests, making them feel more of a participant than a check book, will win the loyalty of a mobile, social generation of consumers who can’t wait to share their experience.