In Dubai for a loyalty summit recently, I met a German gentleman named Tom, who shared a very interesting story during one of his travels to Chennai (India). After he checked in his hotel in Chennai, the concierge accompanied Tom to his room. The concierge not only addressed Tom by his last name but also asked about the weather in Germany (he has been briefed well, thought Tom). What followed was even more interesting. All the hotel staff that Tom met on his way to his room from the reception, greeted him by his last name. Every single one of them. Tom was touched by this gesture and was impressed by the hotel’s effort to welcome him and make him feel at home. Tom had been to several hotels across the globe but never had he come across one where the entire hotel staff greeted the guests on a name basis.
He was intrigued and thought hard about the ways in which hotel could achieve it. Was it some software that they were using? Were they given a low down on all the guests’ checking in that day? How did they recognize the guests? Keeping a photo library of all the guests wasn’t a viable option.
As his trip came to an end, one thing he knew for sure, he wasn’t leaving before finding out how. He met the manager and asked him questions playing on his mind. Any guesses on how they did it?
Well, there was no sophisticated software involved, no rigorous staff training or fierce diligence on the guests, just simple trick – a text message. As guests checked in the hotel, a text message was sent to all the staff members stating the name of the guest accompanying the concierge.
Interesting, isn’t it? This goes to prove that small efforts such as this can be an effective method to connect with the guests and make them feel valued. But how often to you find hotels incorporating this level of personalization?
Loyalty and Gamification isn’t something novel to the hospitality industry. Hotel points and status have been there for a long time and reward guests with free upgrades, lounge access or free stays. But unfortunately the attractiveness of these loyalty programs are fading. Digitally engaged customers expect more than just points to invest their loyalties. Loyalty programs need to have a social dimension to it and have to be designed in a way to keep customer’s interest above the brand’s. Moreover with ‘segment of one’ catching up, personalization is also key. By making personalization a core part of their arsenal, hotels can not only interest and engage guests but also help establish long-term brand affiliation.
You make a reservation from the hotel website and earn points for your stay. But not just that, you also get points if you share the update on your social networks and answer a few questions. Based on the number of days, the hotel sends you a suggested itinerary. You can also choose to redeem the points and pick from 5 things – either free upgrade, or free breakfast, free spa, late checkins or lounge access.
Fast forward to the hotel stay, reception desk is well versed with you needs and preferences, thanks to the history of your previous stays and social media. They know you have had a long flight and offer you a complementary massage. They know you are a foodie and give you a list of local delicacies you shouldn’t miss. They also know that you are an adventure junkie and are quick to suggest adventure sports in the city. What’s more, they have also arranged for a universal charger in your room because you always inadvertently forget carrying it. You enter the room and there is a hand written personalized welcome message from the staff manager that warms your heart (oldest trick in the book that never fades). At the end of this, you feel that hotel cares for you and are receptive to your needs..
All this seems very simple on paper and guess what in reality it is no different, especially with eMee’s Omni-Channel Loyalty and Incentivization Platform. This robust system not only collates data from various sources but also sanitizes it and separates the noise. Based on the data, social profiling of the guests is done and this profile is continuously updated by the front desk as they gather more information about the guest. This information isn’t tucked away in some complex system and is easily accessible to the front desk and service delivery teams of the hotel to personalize the experience for the guests.
Excited to see this beast in action? Write to us and prepared to get blown away!
Chief Digital Strategist, eMee