In today’s hyper-competitive business world, travel and hospitality consumers have more choices than ever before. With hundreds of hotel chains and personal property rentals going above and beyond to surprise and delight consumers, their expectations have grown rapidly. Consumers now expect to be provided with a personalized experience. They expect that hospitality companies know their likes and needs and provide them with an experience based around those likes and needs.
The speed with which companies need to respond to guests is ever increasing. Who would have predicted that 5 years ago AirBnB would have a valuation comparable with brands like Marriott? Companies are seeing value coming from frictionless customer experience and the way they use technology to lock customers in.
The excitement in the travel and hospitality industry is around technology, which is now designed to help manage the customer journey and provide companies the ability to manage the guest experience across sales, service and marketing.
Technology is allowing data to be more accessible and integrated, allowing companies to begin shaping customer behaviors in months, as opposed to years. We are seeing that companies that are leveraging the millions of customer touchpoints, data and analytics, are paving the way in providing a seamless, personalized customer experience and have gained a large share of consumers budgets.
Companies are spreading their marketing and IT budgets around solutions that span the entire customer journey, from acquisition to cross-sell and up-sell strategies to personalized service throughout their stay. Those who know what their customers wants and needs as well as when and how they want it, are creating loyal, repeat guest visits. Caesar’s Entertainment grew from $3 billion to $12 billion by leveraging technology to deliver personalized service and marketing initiates across its many hotels and casinos. They created a repeatable model across over 90,000 employees, allowing cocktail waitresses to know a customers worth, their favorite drink and how best to interact with them. Caesar’s also enhanced their loyalty rewards program by analyzing their data and implementing rewards that their customers wanted, increasing how much these customers stayed, played and spent on their properties.
The evolution of technology has made data more accessible and interpretable, allowing companies to mold customer behaviors and maximize their spending potential.
Some of Tectonic’s clients have looked to us to help them shape their customers behaviors. Tectonic has developed an approach, called Insight 2 Action, to help their clients shape behaviors. Insight 2 Action (i2a) helps customers ingest and understand their data and leverage technologies that help guide and influence customer interaction – how they buy, receive services, interact today as well as tomorrow.
One of Tectonic’s clients, a luxury vacation company, has grown into a several hundred million dollar organization by understanding customer needs and proactively reaching out to guests with cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. They leveraged their cloud based technologies to manage their data and analytics, marketing & CRM. The implementation took 6 months and a $2 million dollar investment. If our client had chosen to leverage non-cloud based technologies, they would have had a 3 year, $50 million dollars implementation.
At the core of personalized service is the ability to react quickly. For example, a new restaurant is being built in which every floor manager and sommelier will be wearing an Apple Watch. When a VIP customer walks through the front door, their favorite bottle of wine can be immediately taken to their table by the floor manager. This also allows for personalized interactions such as greeting a customer when a new table is seated, approaching a guest who waits too long to order her or his drink, or when a menu item runs out, every manager will get an alert via the tiny computer attached to their wrist. This is not a new concept but shows the power of leveraging technology in providing a more personalized guest experience.
In providing seamless customer experience it is important to look at embracing cloud technology and what it has to offer. One of our behavior shaping clients acquires, correlates & stores 10 petabytes of data at a 10th of what it cost 4 years ago. From a delivery perspective, this took 6 agile sprints of behavior shaping actions to do approximately 50 behavioral use cases to drive a $54m reduction in marketing expenses. Our clients are also using cloud tools such as Salesforce to deliver personalized and prescriptive actions across the globe.
Our agile approach allows for clients to deploy small stories so that we can deliver quickly for clients, allowing them to measure and iterate with different stories.