Hospitality and travel businesses have faced many challenges throughout the coronavirus pandemic. From mandatory closures and capacity restrictions to customers who changed their travel plans or canceled altogether—these challenges have made staking a claim in this highly competitive industry even more difficult.
To competitively operate a resort, hotel or motel in a post-pandemic world, it’s no longer enough to offer great service at a fair price; guests expect personalized experiences and services that anticipate their needs and interests. To provide such personalization, hoteliers need to both have a deep understanding of their guests and be prepared to act on the insights gleaned from that information. This requires more real-time data that generates deeper insights, such as location intelligence.
Where we go in the physical world is the truest indicator of consumer affinities, interests, and habits. Location intelligence gives deeper insight into hotel guests’ behavior using information about the places they go and the events they attend both on- and off-stay. Whether you’re acquiring a new property, changing amenities in an existing hotel or building a brand new location, you can utilize location intelligence to provide guests with personalized experiences so they’re excited to book their next stay with you for years to come.
Using location insights to attract and retain loyal guests
Guest loyalty is forged through superior service throughout the guest experience. This starts with the hotel selection and reservation process, continues during the hotel stay, and completes only after checkout. Location intelligence enables properties to this experience; first by helping a potential guest discover and choose your property, then offering that guest exactly what they’re looking for once on-site.
Gaining customer loyalty requires not only visibility into your current customer base, but insights into potential customers who are currently choosing your competitors. Hotels have troves of data about their own operations and customers, but little visibility into their competitors’ operations or customer base. Location intelligence provides these kinds of insights helping you benchmark against competitors - by brand, market, or individual property.
Also, by comparing property performance relative to national and local market trends, you can spot opportunities to gain a competitive advantage. The insights gleaned from competitive analysis can be used to launch powerful campaigns targeting competitors’ customers.
Understanding guest interests to add value to their stay and grow revenue
Once guests choose their hotel and begin to enjoy their stay, add-on services incentivize them to increase their spending while on property. The mutually reinforcing relationship between hotel accommodations and services works to increase spending only when the available amenities match the interests and needs of guests. When this is not the case, guest services end up being a high fixed cost.
Location intelligence offers insights into where guests go frequently, from which you can extrapolate a better understanding of their day-to-day interests. Using this data can help you match on-site offers to off-site interests. Also, identifying local events or attractions that align with your guests’ interests presents great co-marketing opportunities. For example, if the data shows that your guests regularly attend music events and you know of a music festival happening in the area, you can plan to greet guests with helpful information like an event schedule or directions. Or you can use information about guests’ usual dining habits to inform them of restaurant options, menus and pricing both on- and off-property. Location intelligence can also help you determine which activities your average hotel guests regularly engage in. This will help to target potential guests with these activities and provide exceptional on-site service.
Expanding your footprint
As your business grows and you look to expand your offerings, location intelligence helps to make data-driven decisions that will bring the best return on investment. If you are considering a lease or purchase of an existing property, or building a new property, foot traffic data and behavioral analysis can be helpful in comparing candidate properties with other successful properties in the portfolio to inform the decision. When building a new hotel, location intelligence can also be used to analyze competitors in the vicinity.
Like other business expansion efforts, location intelligence can also help determine the interests of guests and visitors, as well as appropriate partners in the potential neighborhood to work with in meeting those interests.
In the current landscape of data-driven hospitality, guests that previously appreciated personalized touches now come to expect them at every stage of their interaction with hospitality brands. Enriching the decisions that impact your guests with data is no longer just an option – it is essential.
As you incorporate location intelligence to know who your guests are based on where they go in the real world, those guests and potential guests will come to know who you are – and make your hospitality brand their go-to.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff White is the founder and chief executive officer of Gravy Analytics. Prior to founding Gravy, he founded several companies and led them to successful exits. These companies include GovWin (sold to Deltek in 2009) and Blue Canopy (sold to a private investment firm in 2007). As the Founder of GovWin, he leveraged the latest web and social media technologies to build an award-winning platform that grew 100% year over year. As the Founder of Blue Canopy, Mr. White led the company to receive two Inc. 500 awards for being one of the Top 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America, with the lowest growth year being 98%. Mr. White is passionate about building real products for real people and loves to start with a blank canvas (or whiteboard). He strives to never “fall in love” with his creations by balancing them with honest user and customer feedback.