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Data and Diapers

A few weeks before this issue of HT went to print, I was sitting in my office elbows deep in data for the 2016 Lodging Technology Study when my phone pinged. It’s the type of work that requires focus, so distractions aren’t met with my best self. I glanced over to see a push notification from Amazon on the screen. “Abigail, it’s been a while since you ordered diapers. Are you low? Your last shipment was for Pampers Swaddlers in size two, 136 count. If you’d like to order them now using ‘Buy-now 1-click ordering’ we can apply a coupon for $3 off.”

Why yes, Amazon! I do need diapers. In fact, they were on my shopping list for the next grocery trip. Instead, I pressed exactly one button to buy diapers and went back to work. The diapers arrived 48 hours later. Just like that, a sale moved from my local grocer’s basket to Amazon’s coffers.

Brands of all shapes and sizes envy what Amazon is doing with data: consumer buying history, similar item recommendations, favorite brands, average price points. They know it all, and they’ve literally got our number. But that perfectly timed push notification wasn’t just about data. To this busy new mom it was also about service.

In the hospitality industry “service” is our bread-and-butter; it’s where we should excel. The scary part is that the bar for service is now being set by brands outside of hospitality that don’t compete in our industry, but they certainly create impressions and raise expectations for your same consumers. I could go on and on about why Amazon is the boss of retail, but with a single push notification they also became the boss of service: perfectly timed, extremely relevant, and easy to act on.

As I sit here wrapping up this issue, at least an hour overdue for lunch, I’d love a perfectly-timed ping from my favorite restaurant: “Abigail, you’re overdue for lunch. Can we send over your favorite chicken salad sandwich with a side of slaw? Buy now with 1-click, and we’ll throw in the slaw for free.”

This issue of HT is chock full of data – the 2016 Lodging Technology Study, and the 2016 POS Software Trends Report. I leave you to it to uncover all the insights contained herein, and will go back to changing diapers.

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