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For many years, leveraging guest data to enhance the overall hotel stay experience has been a popular topic in both the mainstream media and hotel trades.

Though one aspect of topic has been received as much attention, which is that there are two sides of the story when it comes to guests embracing the use of their data.

On one hand, data-drive hotels have the actionable knowledge they need to provide customized guest experiences. The ideal behind this is that everyone wins. The guest is delighted with their stay, and the hotel gets a boost in loyalty and online reviews. 

On the other hand … is there really such a thing as a data-delighted guest? We live in a world where data is reaching near ubiquity where one random Google search for new shoes results in a myriad of targeted shoe ads on social media and on other websites.  Is this a good thing? Or is this a bad thing?

For example, Best Western Hotels & Resorts recently tested the use of Amazon Alexa in their guest rooms. The idea being that guests can order up new towels, food for delivery, or room service through the device.

Guess what happened. The vast majority of guests completely unplugged the Alexa devices. Best Western leadership correctly assumed that guests did not want the device listening in on them. People may be fine using Alexa like this in their homes, but clearly they are not comfortable with it in a hotel environment.

But with the new Equinox Hotels chain, which is creating a data-driven experience for their fitness-focused guests, it’s a different story. With the brand also including the popular Equinox Fitness Clubs and Spas, they are targeting this guest niche by leveraging guests’ wants, needs, preferences and behaviors as they relate to exercise and fitness and much more, on a granular level.

By targeting guests that view fitness as a lifestyle, Equinox Hotels may not have any data-concern issues, and have the ability to please a growing niche of consumers with health-related offers and programs.

There are many contrasting themes when it comes to hotels and guest data. While we are slowly getting accustomed to being targeted with customized, data-drive ads and offers, clearly there are still some hurdles in the hospitality space.