A report released by Sabre on digital transformation of the guest experience outlines key ways that hospitality brands can use new technologies to make their businesses hyper guest-focused. The report drives home the message that guest behaviours are evolving and hospitality brands need to use new technologies to change their business practices in order to follow suit.
“In an era of Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Postmates, Amazon Prime, and other apps and services that cater to people’s wants and needs in real time, the hotel industry is, by default, a reluctant player in the on-demand economy,” reads the report.
Author Brian Solis writes that “meaningful transformation” means thinking beyond “legacy foundations”: to engage the modern guest hospitality brands need to, essentially, try new things.
Here are some ways Solis says that brands can undergo this “meaningful transformation”:
Invest in platforms that allow for a tailored guest experience
“Customers want to feel valued,” reads the report. “They want one-on-one personalized engagement at every touchpoint in the digital and physical worlds.”
Technology, especially smartphones, has changed how people interact with the world around them and hospitality brands need to take note. Solis recommends that brands adapt to a guests’ preferred methods of interaction, like investing in building mobile applications that a guest can do everything on, so they aren’t forced to later switch to a computer when they want to complete the booking process.
Hotels.com recently announced that they want to start powering their platform using machine learning by way of Amazon Web Services. Forbes even listed mobile integration as one of the top six digital trends in hospitality and tourism for 2018.
Ensure your platform follows guests through the entirety of their journey
From the moment a guest begins to think about a trip — or perhaps before — the company should be there, says the report.
“Google refers to the beginning of the mobile-first consumer journey as micro-moments,” the report reads. “This happens when consumers want to begin or continue the process of choosing where to go, stay, what to do, etc., using the device closest to them at all times — their smart phone.”
The modern guest experience demands that hospitality brands be there for every step. Solis recommends that brands organize their applications around these “micro-moments” to ensure that they’re with the guest completely. Part of this transformation can involve the creation of tailored web content and increased use of branded social media, according to an industry report from hospitality consultant Horwath HTL.
Look to modern commerce brands for innovative ideas
“Every day, emerging technologies are affecting businesses and markets in all industries worldwide. Connected consumerism and the influences of new technologies and services on human behavior disrupt markets,” reads the report. “This is digital Darwinism. Brands must evolve as consumers and markets evolve. Many businesses are captive by their own legacy processes and perspectives — making it difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with trends as they emerge and advance.”
Getting a sense of what the competition is doing inside the hotel business is important, but it’s also important to look to the broader hospitality industry and even further than that to see what trends and emerging technologies are disrupting business and operations all over.