Today customer experiences represent a holistic approach through a growth mindset that connects systems, data, and teams to create a seamless and personalized customer experience from one hotel brand’s reference point to the next.
As hoteliers, we have to understand the customer experience in a relevant context that impacts the bottom line one way or another.
And hotels have to learn how to gather data from employee and customer interactions and use this to optimize future interactions.
Processes that put in place listening, care, connect and build relationships result in a more connected and cohesive experience, which, in turn, increases customer satisfaction, improves profitability, and strengthens the hotel brand loyalty.
Here are 5 strategic tips for hotels that will transform the customer experience;
Identify the sweet spots where your customers and your hotel’s goals align
You have to start describing your hotel’s service offers from the customer’s perspective. Understand the customer states that impact their perceptions of how your hotel fits in their journey.
Cognitive: Perception, judgment, reasoning dictated by emotions
Affective: Influenced by emotions and rationale
Behavior: Action as a result of rationale
First of all, you have to understand who your ideal customer is and how they interact with your hotel brand.
To achieve this, you have to align customers and your hotel’s goals. Since a large part of the customer experience, today involve digital media we now work on S.MA.R.T.E.R. goals.
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time-bound
E – Exciting
R – Risky
Your hotel goals should be to create customer lifetime value while decreasing acquisition costs.
And to achieve this we use data we gathered from studying customer states in context with S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals to understand customer intent and influence important micro-moments of the customer journey.
Identify key micro-moments in the customer journey
Hotels need to understand that customers today are using their smart devices to document and share important micro-moments of their journey.
|REACH||Customers are exposed to the Hotel brand at any micro-moment||Impressions (Organic, paid, and earned)|
|RESPONSE||Customers respond to the Hotel brand message at any micro-moment||Clicks on Links|
|ENGAGEMENT||Customers engage with Hotel brand content at any micro-moment||Social Proof (likes, followers, connections, comments, shares)|
|CONNECTIONS||Customers connect with the Hotel brand by following, subscribing, and becoming loyal customers||Call to Action – Bookings|
At what point does your hotel communicate or engage with customers?
One of the most critical points that will ignite your hotel transformation process in context with the customer experience is to involve your employees.
Your hotel employees are your most valuable asset.
The core elements that will bring on value innovation for your hotels are listening, care, connect, and build relationships with your employees and customers.
Successful hotels use employees to assist fulfill customers’ needs each step of the journey. Today hotels can’t assume that one-size-fits-all content will work. With help from your hotel’s employees, you create a better understanding of how the customer states impact decisions.
Identify and understand pain points and moments of surprise and delight
It is the complexity of micro-moments of interaction with your hotel brand that transform into the macro experience customers review or refer to friends, peers, and their network.
And it is the most intense and recent micro-moments that customers remember.
Why is it important for hotels to identify and understand pain points and moments of surprise and delight?
Research done by Temkin Group in 2018 discovered that CX influences how likely the customer is to:
Recommend a company: Eighty-eight percent of consumers who rate a company’s CX as “very good” is likely to recommend the company, compared with only 15% of those who rate a company’s CX as “very poor”
Repurchase from a company: Eighty-seven percent of the consumers who gave a company a “very good” CX rating report being “very likely” to repurchase from that company, while only 18% of those who gave a company a “very poor” CX rating say the same
Trust a company: While 81% of the consumers who gave a company a “very good” CX rating say they are “very likely” to trust that company, only 15% of those who gave a company a “very poor” CX rating say the same
Forgive a company: Sixty-seven percent of consumers are “very likely” to forgive a company for a mistake if they think it delivers “very good” CX, whereas only 15% of consumers are “very likely” to forgive a company if they think it delivers “very poor” CX
Try a new offering right away: Of the consumers who gave a company a “very good” CX rating, 58% of them report being “very likely” to try that company’s new product or service immediately after it’s introduced). Meanwhile, only 13% of consumers who gave a company a “very poor” CX rating feel the same.
Together with your employees start identifying the biggest pain point in the customer journey. Attack it, and you won’t only improve that moment, you’ll enhance the entire experience.
Surprise and delight need a set of different processes to come together. You have the team; you have the tools it is time to start transforming the customer experience.
Experience the customer journey yourself
At this point, you understand the value of listening, care, connect, and build a relationship with your employees and customers.
It is time to inspire, educate, and influence employees and customers to take action.
One of the most effective value innovations today for hotels is to start experience the customer journey themselves.
Remember this is a transformation process with a focus on value innovation and growth mindset, not another Band-Aid solution.
One of the important culture-first shift today for hotels is to start creating brand ambassador programs for their employees and customers.
Brand ambassadors are employees and customers who love your hotel brand and services so much, they get excited about sharing it with the world.
What is crucial to understand is that many of your employees and customers today have a large social network of people and who are in the habit of making introductions.
Their social network contains information specialists and content curators that will connect your hotel with new information.
And their social network contains persuaders that will put in place a powerful call to action for your hotel.
This is a process that puts value in innovation and a culture-first approach from a whole new perspective. You allow employees and customers to play an active part in bringing onboard new elements of surprise and delight.
And when your hotel starts receiving a flood of top-notch reviews your hotel can celebrate together with employees and customers.
As we indicated earlier it is the complexity of micro-moments of interaction with your hotel brand that represents the macro experience of the customer journey.
Instead of looking at only a part of a transaction or experience, the customer journey documents the full experience of being a customer.
Create a visual map of the customer journey
Up to this point, we have set the stage for creating the ultimate visual map of the customer journey.
Part of the hotel’s brand ambassadors’ assignments is to journal down each micro-moment during their experience.
Another critical component in this process is making sure you provide your hotel brand ambassadors with the appropriate technology and tools to gather relevant data.
Writing down the data is helpful, but we need more logistic data to better measure and understand relevant key performance indicators.
A good understanding of the customer’s states allows the hotel to better understand the reasoning for booking abandonment or the source of concerns. This will in the back-end help your hotels with more creative and effective retargeting campaigns.
Your hotel brand ambassadors will take on an extended concierge role to better understand local values that will become part of your service offers.
Is your hotel ready for the new unique transformation process that will revolutionize the customer experience?
We are in this together!
I need to let you all know that we are in on this together. If you need to vent, talk, cry, or just have some to talk with then I am here listening. Since I am working part-time at the local Kroger, I will to the best of my ability to work it out around my schedule.
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We will get through this unprecedented event together! #hotelstrong #hospitalitystrong
We are starting to reopen some hotels again (Yay!!!). Make sure you follow their guidelines and say THANK YOU to those that now show a unique spirit to serve, and helps us all get through this!! #hotelstrong #hospitalitystrong
About Are Morch
Hi, I am Are Morch. Your Digital Marketing Coach and Customer Experience Expert that specializes in creating effective digital customer experience offer for hotels while growing and scale customer acquisition and revenue.