One of the core strengths of Facebook and Amazon is that they are continually connected with the customer. The ability to interface with customers on a highly frequent basis is a model that many other industries, such as hospitality, want to emulate.
During a CEO panel at the recent International Hotel Investment Forum, a number of hotel leaders discussed this exact strategy: the need to interact more frequently with guests, which typically is only a couple of times a year.
While many brands are aiming to achieve this goal by offering a wide-range of services through a dedicated mobile app, the reality is that being connected with customers in the vein of Facebook and Amazon is not feasible.
This could be an example of hoteliers trying to be all things to all people, which can result in losing focus of their core businesses. Hoteliers often forget that the product they are offering is renting beds to guests. It is said that the rest is just “noise.”
Rather than focusing on being the next Facebook or Amazon, hotel leaders should focus on knowing their guests better, which helps in achieving the goal of deeper relationships.
For example, having true guest personas, and building programs around them, is a critical first start to reach this goal. This takes the concept of loyalty to a higher-level and allows hotel brands to enhance the customer experience by being truly guest focused.
The hospitality sector is undergoing a time of tremendous change with many external threats from AirBNB and OTAs – both potentially cutting into profit margins. As a result, many hotel leaders are looking for ways to have frequent and deep relationships with guests, and often turn to other innovation leaders to emulate their business models.
They key to achieving this is focusing on the core part of your business, and avoid being drawn into strategies that will only create more noise in the marketplace.