True hospitality requires an understanding of how to meet and exceed guest expectations. However, in a world where technology solutions are abundant, but the connection between them is sparse, understanding behavior is much easier said than done. The idea of leveraging data for personalization is not a new concept, especially considering consumers interact with brands through multiple touchpoints. But these sources operate in silos, leaving you with an incomplete picture of each guest. Without an understanding of guests’ preferences, sending unique offers to convert into sales or providing a great on-the-spot experience is nearly impossible. Luckily, customers don’t mind either: according to Deloitte, 79% of US consumers are willing to share personal data for a clear benefit.
By now you have most likely heard the term customer data platform. Organizations in all industries are benefiting from this technology, as it bridges a huge gap in how brands connect with their customers to keep them engaged and loyal. For a luxury hotel or casino, customers are interacting over multiple touchpoints, such as the on-premise restaurant or club, casino floor, the spa, online booking provider, email campaigns, and the front desk. Hotels are realizing the importance of personalization: Travel & Hospitality reports the highest shift toward tailored messaging, with 63% of their communications catered to individual customers versus mass marketing. Below, we’ll step through some use cases for hotels and casinos.
On Property Engagement and Upsell
A guest’s first impression of a hotel or casino is most often the front desk. With a customer profile pulled up at check in, front desk employees can provide recommendations or offers to a guest based on what they’ve done before. If I’m a guest who enjoys cocktail hour and hitting the casino floor, I’ll likely take advantage of an offer for a happy hour appetizer special. There is also the surprise and delight factor for VIP guests - if I visit on a quarterly basis, you may surprise me with free tickets to a show that’s playing next month to encourage me to visit again soon.
Motivate the Next Stay
The frequency with which guests visit the same property is not typically very high. In order to encourage them to come back in the future, hotels need to engage with customers with unique offers. Sending appealing offers in between stays motivates guests to come back in the future. You can segment by any number of metrics or personal identifiers, making a marketer’s life easier. You can use metrics like frequency and recency to determine when a guest visited last, and how often they typically stay on premise to prevent churn.
Take Advantage of Machine Learning
Yes, machine learning is the latest and greatest buzzword out there - but it has substantial benefits for marketers. In order to be successful, machine learning needs an initial strategy from a human being. The algorithms need to know what problem to solve. It also needs a solid customer data platform in place for clear insights. With clean data and a solid strategy, the machine begins to analyze over time what guests respond to. Over time, hotels and casinos can spend less time worrying about what offers to send to which guests, and begin to focus on creating a better guest experience.
So now what? Implementing a customer data platform can be a daunting project to take on, and it’s important to have a clear strategy in place. The first step is to identify various sources where data is being collected and stored. Determine if you have a significant customer base who interacts with your brand through multiple channels such as your POS system, booking solution, ecommerce platform, CRM system, a mobile app, email, etc. Identify and address current gaps in the organization and how a CDP will benefit your organization. For example: are service representatives able to quickly pull up relevant information on guests and issue relevant offers to improve experience and upsell other services? With a clear view into each guest, your hotel can begin to increase upsell opportunities and drive traffic to property services that may need a boost.