Are you struggling with attracting more guests to your hotel and delivering a remarkable experience in the present?
Hotel guest experience used to encompass every aspect of a brand’s offerings; the quality of customer service and care, of course, but also advertising, bundling, product and service features, ease of use, and reliability.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit many hotels were faced with new challenges attaining new guests.
And of the primary factors was the speed of new advanced technology that provided guests with very powerful information at their fingertips.
COVID-19 added warp speed to this challenge.
Let’s start diving into how to attract more guests to your hotel and deliver a remarkable experience in the present.
Introducing the Digital Guest Experience
New technology and tools serve as amplifiers of the information flow. Customers today want the one-click right-this-moment experience offer that suits new needs.
Hotels have to focus on the present to help them identify new ways to supercharge the digital customer experience.
To achieve this hotels need to understand the digital guest journey.
Every digital touchpoint today is essential for the digital guest experience. And like a hotel, you have to collect relevant data from all of these touchpoints.
It is a process where hotels have to start to connect, communicate and collaborate with guests throughout the digital guest journey.
Guest expectations have changed as a result of the best-in-the-class brands delivering remarkable digital guest experiences in the present.
Brands today have to look at new alternative ways to innovate and optimize the digital consumer experience. And data has shown that this approach has had a highly positive impact on revenue for brands that implemented a digital experience funnel.
Digital Hotel Experience Funnel
A digital hotel experience funnel is part of the digital transformation process.
A successful digital transformation formula is very simple;
Digital Transformation = Digital Tribe + Collective Digital Experience
Let’s dive into the digital hotel experience funnel;
Inspiration is a cognitive state. Today we experience people, in general, being both eager and thinking about travel. These thoughts drive a new unique set of perceptions that have nothing to do with price.
When it comes to travel inspiration is everywhere. In this phase, travelers focus on dreaming and planning.
The key for hotels here is to build relationships and make friends first. We want to start to connect and communicate with potential guests in the early stage of the digital hotel experience funnel.
TIP: One essential key to succeed in the early stages of the digital hotel experience funnel, and start to attract more guests and deliver a remarkable experience is to involve and empower your employees.
Research is an affective state. At this point, travelers start researching every little tidbit that will make every piece of their dream travel puzzle come together. And this will impact their intentions.
And travelers are not researching in the same manner, which makes every digital journey unique.
Though in most cases the outcome of the research will provide the traveler with a clear image of their dream travel journey.
At this point, the traveler’s intentions are moving towards a burning desire.
The key here is to start engaging with the consumer in a very creative and effective way. You want that burning desire to turn into a favorable decision for your hotel.
TIP: Empower your employees to communicate and collaborate with potential guests. Educate your employees and provide them with digital tools that allow them to tell potential guests what they can do for them.
Booking represents the active state. At this point, we won’t be sure that everything is done to help the potential guest explore, choose, and feel great about their booking decision.
Understanding your guest’s needs is critical in a challenging marketplace.
If you follow the steps in the digital hotel experience funnel then at this point you will know why the guest choose your hotel. Now it is time to use that data to improve their experience.
This is where collaboration comes into play. At this point, you already invited them into your digital tribe as a guest.
Together with your employees you now is a unique collective digital experience. Your employee will help enable the hotel guest to take advantage of what the local community has to offer.
TIP: Make it easy for your hotel guest to collaborate with the local community.
The digital hotel experience funnel consists of a creative inbound and a creative outbound funnel.
With an inbound funnel, we focus a lot on the digital creatives that will draw people into your funnel and guide them through their journey that will lead to action.
Through the outbound funnel, our goal is to take advantage of the network from the people we have drawn into the inbound funnel.
This is why it is so critical for hotels to understand the principle of building relationships and making friends first.
We need people and technology to work together in harmony to build a better future for hotels.
TELL – SHOW – EDUCATE
Tell, show, and educate people about what you can do for them.
The inbound funnel started with an inspiration that at first is influenced by the individual’s perceptions. These perceptions can lead them to actions, but not necessarily actions that benefit your hotel.
The individual can make a reservation with an Airbnb, or a competing hotel in the area. They can also make a reservation through a third party.
Many hotels enter the inbound funnel with a mindset of competing in an existing market space. They focus on assessing their competitors and what they can do to better. Existing markets places that every hotel in the area end up competing on is a narrow focus on a small pie where growth is increasingly limited.
Our goal is to help create an inbound funnel where the existing marketplace doesn’t have any limits on the hotel’s mindset. This represents a shift from a focus on competing to a focus on creating innovative value that unlocks new demands.
This can be achieved through the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost.
THE PURSUIT OF DIFFERENTIATION AND LOW COST
We often see hotels that pursue differentiation to stand apart from their competitors tend to focus on what to offer more of. While hotels pursue low costs than focusing on what to offer less of.
The key is to focus on what to eliminate and reduce as they do on what to raise and create.
|Which factors that your hotel takes for granted should be eliminated?
|Which factors should be raised well above your hotels’ standards?
|Which factors should be reduced well below your hotels’ standards?
|Which factors that your hotel has never offered should be created?
Which factors that your hotel takes for granted should be eliminated?
This question forces you to consider eliminating factors your hotel has long competed on. Your hotel identified these factors to be irrelevant today with the customer utility map.
These factors have a huge impact on the hotel’s cost structure. In most cases, they have little to no gain. And substantial cost savings can be made by eliminating them.
Some examples – are front desk service, bellmen, room service
Which factors should be reduced well below your hotels’ standards?
Here you want to identify if your hotel’s product and services have been overdesigned to the race to match and beat the competition.
This often results in over-serve customers and increases the cost structure for no gain.
By reducing these factors your hotels’ costs can be lowered further.
Some examples – are guestroom types, amenities
Which factors should be raised well above your hotels’ standards?
This question will help you uncover and eliminate compromises customers are forced to make.
These compromises are usually caused by a failure to see that customers want more of some factors than the current hotel standards offer.
Some examples – Free instant high-speed internet, free movies on demand
Which factors that your hotel has never offered should be created?
This will drive hotels to offer entirely new kinds of value for customers and create new demand by converting once noncustomers into customers.
Some examples – Kiosk for self-check-in, mobile check-in, hire multitasking hotel advocates with a can-do attitude
CONNECT – COMMUNICATE – COLLABORATE
Delivering an exceptional guest experience today is a new digital human art that represents a feeling of belonging and ownership.
Connections happen through telling a compelling story that impacts people’s mental states.
Throughout the outbound process, our goal is to amplify bookings, experiences, and sharing. Hoteliers today will have to tell a genuine and interesting story.
This is why it is very important to get your employees on board. Empower your employees and make them feel recognized and appreciated for what they have to contribute.
When you empower employees and trust them to use their best judgment when communicating with guests instead of using rigid scripts you will start activating commitment and energy.
Today several brands are using digital tools for effective communication and showing people that they are willing to listen.
If your hotel wants to be more diverse and inclusive show people how you are implementing this daily.
This will impact their overall experience and also why, how, and what they will share with their network.
Collaboration allows hotels to educate both employees and guests.
In the end, we know that reviews, referrals, and testimonials still matters.
Collaboration also gives hotels a unique understanding of employees and guests.
The reality is that digital transformation will not magically give every employee or guest what they want and desire.
The key here is that you now know them so well that you easily can provide them with creative alternatives.
Online travel agencies have been exceptionally good at providing people with creative alternatives that triggered their perceptions of getting what they wanted and desired.
Attracting more guests to your hotel and delivering a remarkable experience is an ongoing process in the present.
In the end, your hotel’s perspective has to meet the guest’s perspective as much as possible. By building relationships and making friends first your hotels have a unique foundation.
From this point, it is about utilizing your employees and digital tools to collect relevant data.
Reviews, referrals, and testimonials will become the amplifiers that lead to ongoing rewards for your hotel. It is equally important that your hotel reward both employees and guests for their efforts.
Over to you
The hotel industry is always changing, especially during a time of crisis. Make sure to future-proof your business and continue attracting new guests by investing in these solutions.
Ready to take your hotels digital transformation to a new level?
Hire a digital transformation coach for a new and bright future!
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 someone to talk with, I am here listening. Since I am working part-time at the local Kroger, I will best work it out around my schedule to the best of my ability.
Where to reach me
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We will get through this unprecedented event together! #hotelstrong #hospitalitystrong
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About Are Morch
Hi, I am Are Morch. Your Digital Transformation Coach helps hotels create unique and unexpected experiences by freeing up resources to focus on new ideas through value innovation and a growth mindset.