When Ray, an experienced sales person and a globe trotter, checked into Marriot Hotel in Dubai last month, he was left pleasantly delighted. He had been put up in his favorite room with a personalized welcome message and there was an extra pillow in his bed as well. Ray remembered having called the room service during his last stay about 7 months ago when he had asked for an extra pillow. Touched by the service, he immediately logged into TripAdvisor using the Hotel Wi-Fi (which was also free for him) to give the hotel a 5 Star rating and a favorable review.
This impeccable service from Marriot will surely leave its mark on Ray who may prefer Marriot over the others in his subsequent visits.
Leading names in the hospitality industry are gradually adopting this practice to meaningfully accumulate unstructured Social Data. This data includes signals from social media channels, blogs, forums, image sharing sites, video sharing sites, aggregators, classifieds, complaints, Q&A, reviews etc. The data is then mined to analyze meaningful patterns which can translate to customer experience management through different approaches on business decisions, marketing, customer service, reputation management, sales etc.
Most hotels dutifully maintain their customer data in their CRM and have some kind of in-house or third party loyalty programs. They use blanket campaigns using the same messaging and same offer for all of their customers. The marketing campaigns to acquire new customers also follow the same method. These hotels fail to create brand loyalty in guests who yearn for personalized services & experiences. So they don’t think twice before switching to competitor brands whenever they get a good offer from them.
Social data analytics helps Hoteliers to get a clear understanding of segment behavior, needs, and expectations. It helps them identify profitable customer segments, their buying preferences: personalized methods can be devised to target the profitable segments. Right Positioning for these segments helps to encourage repeated visits, increase sales during their stay by upselling profitable services like fine dining, exotic wines & cocktails, gyms, spa services, golf theatre, local site trips etc.