Hotel Jen just like any other company in the hospitality and travel industry has recognized the importance of delivering customized and relevant offers across the customer journey in order to enhance their brand loyalty. This is primarily due to the fact that travelers are relentlessly comparing rates and travel packages hoping to find the best deal. The service you decide to offer has to include relevant rates in addition to related products and loyalty deals. Thus it is apt to know who your customers are, their interests in order to alter offers you make based on destinations, dates and other properties.
A new addition to the Shangri-La Group, Hotel Jen is a four-star hotel that has its main focus geared towards the new “Jeneration” of millennials which includes independently-minded business and leisure travelers and is currently located in nine areas in Asia including Singapore; Hong Kong; Beijing and Shenyang in mainland China; Manila; Penang and Johor in Malaysia; and Malé, Maldives.
The Hotel Jen Brand is inspired by a virtual persona who is portrayed as a professional hotelier who loves life, travel and the adventure of new places.
In retrospect, Hotel jen is creating a brand that would hopefully be still relevant in future years to come as a differentiation from their competitors. For this reason, they seek to engage their customers by building a relationship with them through extensive research into their behaviors and responding to their needs as well as the global trends. Their key priorities include offering an informed and friendly service which includes giving them local recommendations about places to visit as well as shops for an exciting and fulfilling experience. To curb the stress of check-in and check-out, they have devised a way to make the process as seamless as possible giving consumers an informal way of going through this otherwise cumbersome procedure.
They also recognize the need for technology so have included access to Wi-Fi everywhere as well as mobile-charging stations in the hotel.
Even though Hotel Jen has been able to identify the interests of her consumers, there is still room for improvement with regards to her customer Journey in the following four key areas; real-time automation, in the moment interaction, proactive intelligence and engagement innovation and this is what this paper aims to project.
Firstly, the inculcation of real-time automation into Hotel Jen's customer journey would be an added value to their guest experience. Creating a real-time automation platform allows one to run the collective aspects of their marketing strategy with ease by designing intelligent programs that focus on the customer engagement so you can spend more time analyzing the hotel's performance and making alterations.
As mentioned earlier, as Hotel Jen seeks to understand their customers in order to respond to customer needs effectively. CEO of Virtuoso, Matthew Uphill suggests;
“Automate the predictable so you can humanize the exceptional.”
This goes to say that automating more administrative and basic tasks allows one to highlight the positives thus directing more attention on continually improving your guest's experience which would lead to better reviews, repeat stays and referrals by word of mouth due to high customer satisfaction.
Hotel Jen could therefore adopt a booking automation system whereby the online booking is personalized. By so doing, the hotel gets to interact and engage with the customers on a personal level. This is more relevant in the sense that for instance a customer can be offered a Christmas special if they select Christmas dates in the calendar. Personalization simply means being relevant and the more relevant you are, the higher your chances of being successful. If Hotel Jen is able to identify and analyze their website visitors in real-time, it would cause a ripple effect for guests to take action based on this. They can look into smart services such as Voyat and HotelChamp that help personalize the booking experience for the guests, contextualizing the message received to guarantee that it offers the highest probability of conversion. This service is a combination of both market automation and conversion rate optimization leading to increase in revenue and the transaction value of guests.
Additionally, a self-check in system could also be introduced as an aspect of improving real-time automation. It is essential for hoteliers like Hotel Jen to engage with their guests directly from their mobile devices and before they arrive. This gives them the opportunity to stay relevant to their customers. In this way they could suggest extra services, room upgrades, special requests, booking information, table bookings and so on. They could also provide the option of guests taking full charge over their check-in and check-out or having the option of speaking to a human to perform that for them.
This provides an opportunity for them to upsell as well as enhancing customer engagement.
Secondly, in the moment interaction, if adopted by Hotel Jen would allow them gain an insight into their customers to truly understand their motivational and plans. Contextual marketing is vital because without it, the marketers “miss the mark” or do not gain real-time insights of each individual customer at the moment of interaction.
It would allow them to blend both the explicit and implicit customer behavior information to determine the actual intent of the customer. This would be very crucial in targeting proactive and individualized experiences that would aid in the conversion rate and profits for their business.
One of the ways Hotel Jen can achieve this would be a combination of capitalizing on the enriched profiles f customers from previous interactions to track their interests and context in order for future predictions i.e. visually analyzing the behavior patterns of their customers. After achieving this, they could also use that information to obtain context-relevant and intelligent recommendations and use that data to increase conversion rates by upselling.
A third key area Hotel Jen could utilize to enhance their customer journey is the implementation of proactive intelligence.
Proactive intelligence essentially encapsulates the aspect of marketing that enables the marketer to have an an analytical approach in order to be responsive, real-time, data-driven and adjustable to the ever-changing needs and demands of both current and future customers. Hotel Jen can adopt this capability to further enhance their customer-journey experience by taking hold of the data they collect in order to project the trends of their customers as well as adjusting to their main pain points. Instead of reacting to their last campaign failure data, they can rather use the data to see how it can contribute to positive growth due to the predictive power of the data collected. By employing proactive intelligence, Hotel Jen would know how to connect the dots between the data being gathered and the tactical insights they can infer from it. This proactive intelligence does not only constitute data collection but what you can deduce from that data. With this approach Hotel Jen can identify and engage their audience more effectively, build and maintain strong brand loyalty, reduce campaign failures and spot and address loopholes in data collection amongst many others.
Last but not the least is engagement innovation. Engagement innovation in the hospitality industry especially hotels cannot be overemphasized enough. Research has proven that the average spent by an actively disengaged guest during a stay is $403 which is quite less than one that is fully engaged ($588). This $185 difference is an indication of how much hospitality stands at a loss if it fails to actively engage a guest during their stay. Hotel Jen must not assume that measuring customer engagement is sufficient. They must make customer engagement the core of their growth strategy by accounting for the rational and emotional aspects of their customer relationships, centering on sustainable change management tactics as well as fusing customer and employee strategies for peak performance. This is vital because measurement without targeted action is inept. By regularly tracking customer engagement results from time to time and developing the right data-based interventions, companies will guarantee that they are boosting their customer relationships and gaining the benefits of higher sales, growth, and profitability. Thus Hotel Jen can improve their customer engagement by listening to their customer feedback. This would help them to engage their customers more due to the valuable information given them. They could set up a comment card system or use a website such as trip advisor to gather guest feedback.
They could also make emails and social media communications more personal by providing warm and friendly responses that have an added personal touch prior to even booking which would give Hotel Jen an advantage over their competitors.
They could also create a social medial wall centered in the hotel where hashtags to twitter or Instagram photos are displayed. This would encourage guests to share content about hotel Jen for a taste of fame.
Hotel Jen is advised to employ these strategies to enhance the overall experience of their customer journey.
In conclusion and with reference to the above raised points, it is evident that in recent times, digitizing the customer experience is the way for any business in the hospitality industry to differentiate themselves from their competitors and thus should be effectively employed. We should however bear in mind that technology cannot replace hospitality but can be a good accompaniment.
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