The rise of travel-related start-ups is driving a wedge between the hotel brand and the guest, according to Greg Duff, an attorney with the law firm Garvey Schubert Barer.
At the recent Hospitality Law Conference, Duff said that the rise of more connected devices is creating opportunities for brands like Uber to present travelers with offers such as upgrading their rooms as they get closer to the property via technology from a third party.
“You’re losing your guest relationship,” he said in this Hotel News Now article. “You no longer control the relationship between you and your guest.”
Duff also discussed how many of these new offerings center around IBM’s Watson predictive behavior programs, which tries to anticipate answers before a traveler asks the question. These solutions are highly effective because travelers simply don’t want to be bogged down with too many choices.
In order to gain back this control, it is possible for hotel brands to refine the relationship with the property owners. In addition, there is room for a shift where the brand operates like a service provider to the individual property owners to drive these kinds of offers and solutions.
By taking this service provider approach, larger brands can develop their own innovation start-up mentality. Small teams would be assigned to develop solutions that keep the traveler connected with the brand.
Also, in terms of countering the offerings based on predictive analytics, hoteliers may want to consider developing branded solutions that focus on providing highly personalized offerings for travelers.
New third-party innovations are evolving at a rapid pace. We will most likely see more emerging start-ups creating solutions that will drive an even bigger wedge between the guest and the brand.
But, fortunately, hotel-branded solutions can be created that are highly personalized and help create loyalty to keep the hotel-guest connection solid.