Travellers are tired of feeling like just another guest when they arrive in a new place.
As an industry, hotels and travel companies are asking less questions and through consumer booking habits, receiving less data on their guests. The immediate problem that this presents is how to personalise guest experience and deal with the less obvious costs associated with providing generic experiences.
Everybody is seeking a more personalised and unique travel experience that takes into account why they are travelling, who they are with and their interests. According to research earlier this year from Hilton, 86% of travellers now expect personalisation. The travel industry is waking up to the fact that a one-size-fits-all approach is no longer feasible, and for good reason.
One often overlooked cost of a one-size-fits-all approach is missed opportunities. When traveling to a new destination, guests want to make the most of their time there. However, relying on generic recommendations and itineraries leads them to miss out on experiences that would have been perfect for their group. Personalisation is what distills the vast amount of things to do, into the most specific suggestions for the individuals. These recommendations then help the guest to discover hidden gems and maximise their experience.
Another cost is frustration. Being inundated with irrelevant information and offers can be overwhelming and irritating. Travellers are getting quickly fed up with having 'upsells' shoved in their face, whether for tours and activities or on property extras like room upgrades. Personalisation helps to cut through the noise and provide the most relevant recommendations and services that are actually relevant. The more relevant they are, the more likely they are to convert into actual upsells.
However, the greatest cost of a one-size-fits-all approach is customer satisfaction, or the detriment of. When you're not content with your travel experience, it can sour your entire trip. Personalisation can ensure a positive experience from start to finish by catering to each guests unique needs and preferences.
So why is personalisation at the front of the agenda, and why is it the future of travel? First and foremost, it's what customers demand. According to a survey by Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalised experiences. Personalisation is not new, hotels have always paid attention to guests habits and preferences and particularly for loyal customers, tried to tailor their experiences. However as technology advances, it's becoming easier and more affordable for travel companies to offer personalised experiences at scale.
Personalisation increases revenue immediately for hotels and travel companies. By providing tailored recommendations and services, hotels can upsell and cross-sell more effectively. For example, a guest arriving at a hotel that turns to Google or TripAdvisor will not be exposed to the hotels own F&B. A hotel giving personalised recommendations on the other hand will promote their own restaurant to the right guest at the right time and maximise exposure and bookings.
One-size-fits-all is no longer viable in the hotel and travel industry. The hidden costs are becoming increasingly obvious and too high to not address. At the same time, customers are demanding more personalised experiences and coming to expect them.
Hotel and travel companies need to embrace personalisation to save costs, increase revenue, and most importantly, provide a better experience for their customers. Personalisation requires data and in an industry that is asking less questions of their customers, how can this data be sourced? Obvlo's approach is to learn who your guests are, why they are there and their interests. This data is collected seamlessly as a value exchange in order to provide each guest with personalised local recommendations.