There are a number of factors coming into play that point to a potentially record-setting summer for travel. From low gas prices to strong consumer confidence and increasing domestic and international leisure travel, the summer of 2016 could be a game-changing travel season for hoteliers.
Another driver of this trend could be the rise of the “experience economy,” where consumers are seeking to acquire experiences, as opposed to buying things. This is especially true for Millennials, who are often the prime marketing target for hoteliers when it comes to offering unique experiences.
As we have highlighted before, providing a truly “unique experience” is challenging for many hoteliers. While this Holy Grail can be difficult to attain, one thing is for sure this travel season, guest expectations will be high.
In order to achieve long-term brand loyalty in today’s travel-confident climate, major hotel brands are looking to implement the latest innovations that fully personalize the guest experience.
The foundation for achieving this higher-level of personalization will come from data.
Of course, accessing and acting-upon guest data in real-time is no easy task. With multiple CRM platforms often at play, as well as the need for front-line staff to act upon this information, many hoteliers are still trying to break down this data challenge.
In addition, in order to truly anticipate shifts in guest preferences, hoteliers may want to consider leveraging data from third-party data providers to paint a true picture of what guests want. This also includes integrating data from loyalty programs and other sources to analyze everything from purchasing behaviors, and demographic shifts.
To make the most of the anticipated record-breaking season of hotel bookings ahead of us, the key will be to leverage technologies in ways that establish and maintain brand loyalty – now and well after the summer season.