Promoting the Value of Personal Interaction in the Hotel Digital Age
By Adrian Kurre Global Head, Homewood Suites & Home2 Suites by Hilton | April 16, 2017
Co-authored by Alan Roberts, Vice President and Global Head, Embassy Suites by Hilton
All customers are on a journey: they dream, shop, book, pack, arrive, stay, etc. The more we know about that journey, and how guests feel at each point along the way, the better we become at minimizing any points of friction and enhancing the entire experience. Technology has made it easier for travelers to talk to real Team Members at our hotels about their needs and desires – telling us what they want with every tap. We can then put that information to action, acknowledging our guests in unique and unexpected ways.
For example, a group booking a stay online for a family reunion or wedding celebration could be greeted with a personalized welcome banner on the day of their arrival. Even small gestures based on this "little data" can go a long way to boost the guest experience. When a couple books a stay to celebrate their anniversary, a list of romantic restaurant recommendations (including on-site options) could be provided at the front desk or left waiting in their room. We believe that if you deliver exceptional hospitality and use technology to make guests' lives easier, they will keep coming back.
Hilton Honors is another avenue for the collection of valuable information on preferences and tastes that can be used to personalize guests' experiences. Hotel brands just need to determine the best systems to use this insight in a way that creates personalization at every opportunity and within every corner of the hotel.
Making a Good First Impression
It is important to remember that guests who choose technology to bypass the front desk still physically enter the hotel. Therefore, the opportunities to acknowledge and interact with guests can start in the lobby. Embassy Suites by Hilton and Homewood Suites by Hilton are both undergoing major renovation programs for their older hotels with a specific focus on the lobby. The renovations are based on customer feedback that revealed a desire to spend more time out of the room and in shared spaces. Therefore, the aim is to boost the ambiance, invite more social interaction and even offer unique options in this shared space for those guests who prefer solo time to work or read while others interact nearby. Our research showed that guests want to make their own decisions to interact with others, but they want us to facilitate the ability to make the choice. We created options for them to be alone, but not lonely.