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Connect Better with Customers by Using Small Data Found on Social Media

Hotel customers and guests have adopted social media technologies faster than any other previous technologies. Much like companies in other industries, hospitality organizations have tried to bolster the many benefits of these social platforms, but few have maximized their potential. In fact, industry studies have shown that a large majority of value creation opportunities from social media technologies are yet to be untapped by hospitality companies, notes Mindtree.

In this social-media dependent world, guests expect the same kind of convenience and personalization from hospitality companies that they receive from modern marketplaces like Amazon and Uber. Hospitality companies have to think beyond basic customer segmentation tactics in order to meet the demands of today’s consumers. To connect more efficiently with guests and meet today’s customer demands, comprehensive personalization is required across the customer’s journey — not just with individual customer touchpoints. Hospitality companies have to see the interactions through the customer’s eyes and reshape guest touch-points to create value in a customer-centric way. This requires thinking beyond traditional customer profiles and incorporating cognitive customer insights such as customer’s personality traits, tone, emotions and likely behavior to a product or service to enrich traditional customer profiles into cognitive customer profiles.

Social Media Cognitive Strategies
Social Media Cognitive strategies focus on enriching traditional customer 360 or guest profiles by layering in “small data” — the nuances of personality traits, tone, visual cues, sentiment, emotional state, environmental conditions and personal relationships. 

Understanding small data in today’s world means understanding the verbal and non-verbal communications that are taking place in these media platforms.  We use our cognitive capabilities to understand emotions and other human behaviors.  Likewise, social media cognitive analytics capabilities can sort through millions of tweets, images, speeches, product reviews and other customer generated data points to understand the likely behavior, emotions and personality traits of one individual. Here are some examples:
  • Personality Insights Analysis: Measures personality and social traits by using linguistic analytics to extract a spectrum of cognitive and social characteristics from customer generated text data such as blogs, tweets, forum posts and more. Hospitality companies can use the detailed personality portraits of customers for finer-grained customer segmentation and then target them with personalized product or service recommendations that are more personal and relevant for customers. 
  • Sentiment Analysis:  Uses sentiment analysis algorithm and looks for words that carry a positive or negative connotation then figures out which person, place or thing the customer is referring to in blog posts, property reviews, comments and tweets. It also understands negations (i.e. "this hotel is good" vs. "this hotel is not good") and modifiers (i.e. "this restaurant is good" vs. "this restaurant is really good"). The sentiment analysis API works on documents large and small, including news articles, blog posts, product reviews, comments and Tweets.
  • Emotions/Tone Analysis: While, sentiment analysis only focuses on positive or negative feedback, emotions/tone analysis delves deeper into the emotion focusing on anger, joy and happiness. Emotions are very important to understand especially in the context of mobile messaging, conversational commerce, feedback reviews etc. This analysis, uses linguistic analytics to gauge emotions implied by a sample of text, returning confidence scores for anger, disgust, fear, joy and sadness. A customer review site, such as Yelp, could measure the level of disgust in a restaurant review site to help the business understand how it needs to improve.
  • Visual Insights Analysis: Uses advanced visual recognition analytics to extract visual insights from a collection of customer images from Instagram or Facebook collections to understand complex scenes in their entirety — without needing any textual clues. Hospitality organizations can better target and upsell products and services by understanding customer preferences and needs from the visual insights.

Improving the guest experience is difficult to get right, but with cognitive customer insights from social media channels, hospitality companies could deliver a superior guest experience resulting in satisfying end-to-end customer journeys.

While the adoption of social media technologies is growing rapidly, a huge untapped potential to create value from social media still remains. Emotionally engaged customers are more likely to recommend a hotel property and purchase product or service again. In today’s always-on and competitive marketplace, hospitality organizations that leverage social technologies to engage the customer and provide the customer with a better cumulative customer experience from start to finish, will be rewarded with higher retention, faster revenue growth, higher brand preferences and a competitive edge over their rivals.

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