Future of Hospitality 2016

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RACONTEUR raconteur.net 07 FUTURE OF HOSPITALITY 22 / 09 / 2016 51% of travellers are open to sharing their personal information in exchange for relevant deals, discounts or loyalty points Source: Forrester Share this article online via raconteur.net The five-star Umstead Hotel and Spa in North Carolina prides itself on its personal service. When repeat guests check in, staff will ask whether they still prefer one particular type of room, whether they'd like to try a new spa treatment or the same one as last time – even how the family dog is getting on. This is achieved by integrating data from the hotel's spa, dining and reservations systems in a cloud-based, hosted environment, using SAS Master Data Management. It pulls data from existing systems, cleanses it and integrates it into a single view of customer interactions. It can then display this data in a web-based dashboard that all customer- facing staff can access. "When a customer walks through our doors, we want all the information – their preferences, past stays and reservations – at our fingertips," says George Viall, director of revenue management at The Umstead. "With SAS Master Data Management, we can know that a customer likes to play a round of golf during most visits, followed by a massage at the spa and a cocktail in the lounge. We can not only anticipate that customer's needs, but also suggest additional services and amenities that might make his or her stay even better." Integrating the various datasets has reduced duplicate entries by 52 per cent and has also allowed the hotel to see regions or customer types that could be worth exploring as new markets. "Better data means that our marketing is now more targeted," says Mr Viall. CASE STUDY: THE UMSTEAD HOTEL AND SPA feedback from individual hotels to online activity such as e-mail engage- ment metrics – opens, clicks and opt- outs, for example – and conversion. Crucially, data is shared between different hotel chains. As David Carey, president and chief executive of beachfront resort brand Outrig - ger Enterprises Group, comments: "GHA's Discovery loyalty programme and distribution network give us ac - cess to millions of new, like-minded loyal customers from similar brands to ours, which will extend our reach within our key feeder markets, and into new markets that are not cost-ef - ficient for us to ex- ploit alone." But according to Melissa Fruend, a partner at LoyaltyOne Consulting, some of the most important data that hoteliers can gather is customer experience (CX) data. It can be ac - quired only through diligent plan- ning and research studies, but the pay-off is huge, says Ms Fruend. "Unlike typical customer satisfac- tion surveys, by employing CX you can uncover a wealth of information about the pain points of the customer expe- rience that can be addressed through action planning focused on operation- al concerns, customer engagements or even through special treatments via a loyalty programme," she says. "For example, a large North Amer - ican grocer discovered that there was a great deal of friction in the customer experience among half of their stores at the deli counter. To address slow service in these locations, they implemented sev - eral measures, including an option for loyalty programme members to pre-order their selection for a desig- nated pick-up via their mobile app or simply enter their order at the counter via a ki- osk." Similarly, she says, Hilton discov- ered that particu- larly frequent busi- ness travellers were becoming frustrat- ed by long check-in lines at the hotel desk. To deal with the problem, the chain has provided a smartphone app allowing Hilton HHonors members to check in 24 hours in advance, then receive their room assignment and a virtual key through the app. "For a weary traveller, this is one last hassle out of their day," says Ms Fruend. Perhaps the best example of just how much can be done with custom - er data is Disney, which introduced its MagicBand system to Walt Disney World in Florida in 2013. The plastic wristbands contain a radio-frequen - cy identification or RFID chip and a radio transmitter, and are sent out to guests before their stay. The MagicBands can be used for everything from entering the park in the first place and unlocking the hotel room to paying for food Data analytics is particularly helpful when it comes to targeting the most profitable customers and merchandise via a link to the user's credit card. Details of exactly how the sys- tem exploits the data it collects are shrouded in secrecy, but the basics are clear. The bands track the user continuously; in a restaurant, for in - stance, the serving staff can match each order to the correct table auto- matically and staff around the park can address every guest by name. The MagicBand collects expe- riences, creating a photo gallery with pictures taken by the resort's photographers or on rides, such as Splash Mountain, and bills guests automatically if they choose to download and keep the pictures. Meanwhile, the devices are amass - ing vast quantities of information about where each guest is and what they are doing. This allows Disney not only to personalise its services, but also to streamline them, cut - ting down on the number of staff required and reducing queues. And shorter queues mean more free time for guests which means more rides and more revenue for Disney. You might think that customers would find collecting all this infor - mation rather invasive. Not so, says Forrester. According to its research, 51 per cent of travellers are open to sharing personal information, just as long as they get something in return, such as relevant deals, dis - counts or loyalty points. Three quarters of travellers are open to sharing room preferences and more than half will consider sharing trip or contact information. In exchange, they are most interested in receiv - ing convenient check-in and check- out times, with more than a third of travellers under 54 willing to share personal information in return for personal touches in their room. "With all our customer research conducted, we know one thing to be true – do not collect data for data sake," says Ms Fruend. "The good news is consumers have evolved and they realise brands collect data from them. What irritates them is when the brand doesn't use the data to re - ward the customer or acknowledge they 'know' them. "So if you don't have a data col- lection plan connected to a CRM strategy, then collecting data on your customer has no direction and therefore no benefit – to them or the business." 03 IMPROVING HOTEL EXPERIENCE WITH PERSONAL DATA/PREFERENCES PERCENTAGE OF TRAVELLERS WILLING TO SHARE DATA/PREFERENCES IN EXCHANGE FOR A MORE PERSONALISED HOTEL EXPERIENCE Source: Source: Forrester/Sabre Hospitalit y 2015 Room location preferences Room preferences Trip information Contact information Payment information Online ratings/opinions Dietary requirements Music preferences Group memberships and affiliations Hobbies Technology ownership and use Time/location Social media Household information Calendar 79% 75% 7% 55% 55% 42% 37% 30% 24% 22% 21% 13% 11% 7% 7%

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