As a more robust travel economy has taken hold over the past several years, the luxury sector has been leading the way with guest personalization and empowering hotel employees to provide the best service possible.
According to a recent Skift article, luxury hotels will continue this evolution in 2018 – with guest customization continuing to rise to the top.
“Customization is the next big innovation in luxury travel,” said Chinmai Sharma, chief revenue officer of Taj Hotels Resorts Palaces and Safaris, in the Skift article. “Every traveler has his or her own requirements. Companies that differentiate themselves will treat each customer as his or her own segment.”
The article also highlights how Marriott will be at the forefront of the customization trend when it launches its new loyalty program that combines Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and Ritz-Carlton Rewards. Part of this vision is to have guest-facing apps that serve as a central repository for everything from controlling room temperature to unlocking rooms to incorporating guests’ music playlists.
However, per the article, there is one elephant in the room – the ability to use innovation to bring this customization vision to life. In addition, many hotel CTOs are tired of launching technology for the sake of technology – meaning that new innovations must be tied to overall strategic imperatives.
This will require a balance between providing innovation and “human warmth” that comes from providing top service for guests. Many hotel leaders believe that luxury travelers have a “millennial mindset,” and are seeking out the right experiences, which will not be fully grounded in just technology.
Moving into 2018, it is clear that guest customization will be king for the luxury hotel arena. The challenge will continue to be how to bring the vision to life in ways that mix innovation and old-fashioned service to be truly personalized for each guest.