Hoteliers need to focus on guests to prosper

When it comes to choosing an place to stay for the night, according to the experts it’s the customer experience more than the room itself that will determine whether customers book again.

The stay has become the product. But as new brands emerge to cater for niche lifestyle markets, industry players are finding that they have to think outside the box in order to make sure their guests remain loyal.

“To survive, you really need to know who you are,” says Andrew Langdon, Chief Development Officer at Movenpick, at the firm’s Shift 18 conference in Zurich. “What part of the market place you are going to compete in? Gone are the days of something for everyone – you need to be more focused.”

The approach, says Langdon, has moved from a one-size-fits-all one to an experience which gives guests a personal touch.

Using technology to your advantage  

Where hotels can gain a competitive advantage, explains Floor Bleeker, Chief Information Officer at Movenpick, is through having the right technology in place.

At the moment, Bleeker points out, just having a good CRM system that can build up a picture of what the customer likes and dislikes is a step in the right direction, but in the future he expects other innovations to take centre stage.

“What we should be more scared about is probably a bit further out – when there are [programmes] being developed that could disrupt what we do,” Bleeker says. “That would challenge the paradigm of hotels.”

Over the coming years he thinks it could be possible for hotels to use 3D holographic projections as customer service agents. “The technology has become so good now that you cannot see the difference anymore between a projection and a real person on stage,” Bleeker says. “If it improves and you add smell, sound and touch then this should change the paradigm of experiences available to customers.”

Originally published in BR Online: Digital Economy and IoT • July 2018