In the hospitality space, customer experience is everything. And in 2019 the increasing standard of living, high disposable income and a hunger for perfection has given the luxury hotel industry a list of high expectations to be met.
ENTER THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
Not only is there high demand towards service excellence, but hotels are also noticing that their clientele are younger than ever before. Ensuring guests are delighted is crucial to success in a market that is increasingly competitive and where poor customer reviews can be disastrous for a brand. Simply put, millennials expect the ease and flawless experience of digital advancements.
In this digital age, nothing is left untouched by technology. Hotels have long recognized the importance of technology in improving the guest experience, and are now embracing digital transformation to increase the speed and efficiency of their processes and provide an even more customer-centric experience. Today’s guests crave autonomy but expect personalized interactions—an expectation that may seem impossible without digital transformation technologies.
So how does a luxury hospitality brand provide a seamless digital experience, while also delivering the personal touch desired?
- AI & Chatbots: Hotels can provide all the information a guest needs (from using the window blind, where to eat, check-out time etc) via AI-powered apps and technology. Guests can access the information 24 hours a day, right from their phones in the form of an e-concierge. See an example of how the Marriott brand is executing this here.
- IoT Integration: Like all mobile-ready platforms, the Internet of Things (IoT) assists the tourism and hospitality industry to harness the users’ data to improve the customer experience. By governing information such as food selection, excursions, and in-room amenities, the more they know about their guests, the better they can please them.
- Virtual Reality: Whether it be a museum, spa or hotel room, virtual reality allows guests to experience the venue before they even arrive; Eliminating the guess-work of potential bookings. See here how the Museum of Modern Art in New York are already offering VR installations as part of their exhibits.
Reputation Management in this new digital world makes or breaks a hospitality brand in the global market. Customer recommendations, reviews, and ratings on social media are the go-to source when deciding on an establishment, therefore managing social media reviews form a crucial part of a company’s digital strategy.
Through the correct online reputation management tools, a brand can strengthen relationships with their customers and monitor feedback, allowing the resolution of issues quickly for unhappy customers.
THE NEXT STAGE
The travel and tourism business is a $1.2 trillion industry, therefore progression in the digital transformation of luxury brands shows no sign of slowing down. As the world moves on from the human touch, the age-old mantra of customer satisfaction and the concept of a service with a smile is only growing.
The first wave of digital transformation enabled hotels to utilize technology to work smarter and more efficiently, for the next phase businesses are building upon the foundation laid with their initial digital transformation efforts to extend the value of their initial investments, further streamline their processes, improve service quality and increase customer satisfaction.