Travelers stick with brands that ‘get’ them. Data trends confirm over 80% of consumers prefer brands offering them personalized experiences.
In the post-pandemic environment, travelers seek informed and purposeful experiences.
Personalization is not a perk, it’s expected.
In addition to travel requirements or restrictions, travelers need expert guidance from their host for every aspect of their trip.
Are there vaccine protocols, mandates for restaurants, conferences, or theaters? Do you offer contactless check-in and check-out?
They expect you to help them with a personal, hyper-local understanding of their destination.
The hospitality industry is in a unique position to combine personal familiarity with data and technology to offer this level of experience. From pre-arrival emails with individual guest greetings to Concierge apps offering specific itineraries.
For the hospitality industry, personalization is necessary to remain competitive.
The Elements of Insight
Always honor the foundational know me imperative of understanding and remembering guest preferences and interests*:
- Engage me – how well does your hotel personnel interact with guests in authentic and attentive ways? An unfriendly team is the second most common reason for negative reviews (No.1 is cleanliness). But friendly employees were the No.1 reason for a positive experience.
- Hear me – Hotels need to open all channels to listen to guests’ needs and to follow through. This includes emails before a visit, available staff to attend needs during a visit, and post-visit surveys or questionnaires. This also means diligent monitoring of review sites and social media. Being heard ranks most important on guest requirements.
- Empower me – Give guests the ability to shape their own experiences. Make sure they have all the resources they need.
- Delight me – Offer experiences that surprise your guests – anything from regional menus or drinks, to live music, to live llamas. Strive for the memorable, and Instagramable.
For obvious reasons, travel in all forms has taken on new meaning. Travelers might be seeing family or friends for the first time in way-too-long, conducting long overdue business, seeking relaxation, nature escapes, wellness, or looking for responsible eco-friendly options.
They may be staying closer to home or looking for work-from-hotel staycations. The past year-plus has changed our perspective and priorities and created a more purposeful direction to our travel goals.
- Slow Travel – Like the slow food movement, slow travel emphasizes connection, to family, food, local culture, and experiences. Many travelers looking to reduce their carbon footprint are planning longer stays and fewer flights or less driving. They are trending more to nature, hiking, and biking, and less to short bursts of bouncing around to different destinations.
- They are looking for hyper-local experiences where they spend more time getting to know one place or region well.
- Digital Nomads – Many are parlaying the work from home practices of the past year, to work-from-hotel opportunities. **More than 50% of travelers surveyed by Booking.com say they plan to extend business stays to leisure in the next year.
- Solo Travel – Solo travel has seen a sharp increase in the past year and hotels should recognize what appeals to them. For many, the isolation of the past year has driven many to get out of town. Hotels should consider making lobbies, restaurants, and bars accessible and inviting with an informal atmosphere to encourage community engagement.
Loyalty programs benefit both the traveler and the hotel brand. More than points, rewards, and discounts, they also facilitate the personalized experience from initial booking and beyond. Each loyalty program member offers valuable information for the hotel on how better to personalize your guests’ experience.