If you ask most marketing folks in the hospitality industry to outline their number one challenge, many would talk about the inane difficulty of gleaning valuable and actionable insights in the capture and aggregation of customer sentiments towards their products, goods and services. Such insights provide a valuable baseline to build a marketing campaign strategy for which may help single out a specific product or services targeted to a sensible tier of people based on commonality of sentiments. In addition, an organization might bring analytics and BI (Business Intelligence) scientists to further fine-tune the campaign and Tier process based on additional parameters such as schedule and frequency of customer engagement.
Inherently the Tier process even though valuable does not always provide a holistic view of the individual. In this case you might know that you are reaching to a middle class individual with an average discretionary spending of x amount for x time with x frequency that has stayed, dinned or gambled at your property. Add to this segmentation around Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and you have a long day in front of you.
Furthermore, one might want to enhance the customer experience with an unforgettable customer itinerary. How and which tools or technology could I use to get to this point. Do those tools exist? First, let’s define what the ultimate customer experience could look like.
John arrives in Las VegasFriday at 8:00 AM, his Uber driver waiting for him at baggage claim with luggage already in hand. The “A” Hotel V.I.P host receives notification that John is in route, the host has also acquired knowledge that John is on vacation and therefore will update John’s activity tracker to reflect the state. As soon as John enters the complex, several activities and workflows kick into high gear. Based on prior travel history, John shared preferences and other contextual insights, the hotel has created and shared with John’s mobile an agenda like itinerary for the next few days for which would look as follow:
• Golf tee time for 10 or 11 AM have been pre-scheduled
o A few of John’s acquaintances also in Vegas have been notified of the tee times
• On-site Golf butler may bring Mexican food
• Reservation at Roberto’s Tacos have also been made
• You guessed correctly, John loves Mexican food for lunch
• John’s interests show Italian food as his preferred dinner fare
One of the subsequent benefit related to timed workflow focuses on enhanced labor management
• 2 reservations have been made based on Yelp and correlated with Open Table top 5 Italian restaurants
• Night life
• Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears are performing this week-end
• Over 12 “Cirque Du Soleil” shows available as well.
• Reservations been made as well for shows that John has not seen.
• John Digital Gambling card has been refilled with 10,000 Points free points
• John history and prior play meets the latest marketing tier for Free play
• John can use the points to play slots, blackjack, poker or any games of his choice
• Obviously insights have revealed that know john prefers poker
Imagine the power of a checklist of activities for which have been pre-selected. All John has to do is to review his checklist and confirm his schedule trough his mobile app to the hotel. Consequently, additional activities might take place such as texting the family that dad is playing a round of golf and will probably not answer the phone during that time. Same could apply for his business partners.
As mentioned earlier, a set of workflow and activities kick started John’s itinerary. Fittingly, the Front Desk has a glass of Crown Neat (John’s favorite drink) ready for consumption, a bath has been prepared at a perfect 82 degrees’ temperature and classical music plays in the background. Again, such activities are based on historical and contextual insights.
One of the subsequent benefit related to timed workflow focuses on enhanced labor management. Many hotel operators will agree that consolidation of time management correlated to guest activities in itself represent a major challenge. Even something as simple as scheduling room cleaning requires housekeeping managers, supervisors and Front Desk management to be in constant communications. Such challenge also applies to restauration, wellness services and the list goes on.
Open AI (Artificial Intelligence) As One of the Top 10 Emerging Technologies For 2016
Open AI (Artificial Intelligence) and its ecosystem have set themselves as one of the most disruptive technology platform yet and lends itself well in building the perfect customer itinerary. As I briefly brushed on the importance of Open AI, Open AI and ecosystem underscore the exponential growth of additional components like Internet of Things (IoT), GeoFencing sensors, beacons, machine learning and other contextual driven technologies. Just think that by 2020 over 24 billion IoT devices will be deployed. Imagine the power behind this vast inter-connectivity of state and the residual data distribution accessible across travel, tourism, health care, banking and the list goes on.
The meta-council on emerging technologies has also selected Open AI as one of the top 10 emerging technologies for 2016. Open AI also bring to light that personal digital assistant in the like of “Siri”, “Cortana” and “Google Now” are paving the way for what the future will bring within the next 36 months.The aforementioned technologies clearly outline the push for context and more importantly “Contextual Insights”. The correlation of context, insights, artificial intelligence and analytics across social media, inter-connected devices and the shared economy will provide a new platform for which the “customer” will derive his itinerary. Tourism bound industries will then face a new challenge, managing a boundless set of activities to keep the customer entertained.
Marketing departments have access to an amazing stack of current and emerging technologies to help with the “Tiering” process and enhance the “Customer Itinerary”. I foresee new startups to monetize on the opportunity and may potentially beat the big players to the punch; inherently privacy may derive additional requirements that may impactthe aforesaid future though.