Social Media and New Media has generated an abundant information source for customers today. The Hotel challenge has shifted towards where the customer today has taken control of their own and their communities’ experiences.
Customer Service and Promise have been implemented into complex Customer Performance anticipations.
Social Media and New Media apps and tools help customers amplify their voice, and their actions are seen and observed by large networks.
This is a snowball effect that has come at Hotels at a very fast pace today. Even if it is a major shift it is also at the same time very important that you don’t lose control of the primary objective and mission of the Hotel.
Your Hotels objective and mission needs to go hand in hand with your Social Media Strategies. Incidents, concerns, events, moments, dreams, transformations, happiness and force of nature will happen despite any Social Media presence. The purpose of Social Media is not to fix what your Hotel can’t control.
Social Media has provided customers with an amplified voice, your Hotels job is to amplify your listening skills.
Travelers today rely on inspirations Social Networks, Video and Photo sites. Studies have shown that both leisure and business travelers will start research before they decide where and how they want to travel.
This in one great reason for your Hotel to start to amplify your listening skills. Identify the early reference points that allow you to influence customer’s decision route.
The challenge for many Hotels today is to come up with creative alternatives. Many customers choose to make their Hotel booking through Online Travel Agencies.
Often this is caused by the Online Travel Agencies provide a package and bundled solutions that answer to a total need, and these packages often appear on the surface to be more price competitive. As we now the principle behind Rate Parity is no matter where customers choose to shop for a given Hotel they will find a consistent price.
Hotels need to focus on positioning and alternatives that make the customers aware of the benefits of a direct booking.
One of the key shifts today with Social Media and New Media is that customer experience today is community driven.
You might ask why the community is important. This is one of the keys to really understand the true Social Network mechanisms today. It all boils down to that the larger community today tend to idolize, trust and follow the advice from celebrities, influencers and authorities.
Either we like it or not celebrities, influencers and authorities have a huge impact on our decision process. In my network, I have some influencers and authorities that have over 300 travel days a year! But it is not uncommon that many communities have celebrities, influencers, and authorities that have about 5-15 travel days a month.
Obviously, these people visit a lot of interesting places and stay at several Hotels during a year.
Customers have amplified their voice due the fact that Social Media allows them to get in touch with a bigger audience. We all are given a stage to perform at. How they take care of this opportunity is in their own hands.
Customers today will also include your Hotel in their story plot. Their customer story represents their experience. And their goal today is to once become the online celebrity, influencer or authority. They want as many as possible to take part in their story.
The average Facebook user today has 350 friends. Just take a moment to reflect when someone in your network have a birthday. It doesn’t matter if your friends are introverts or extroverts they all wants to experience this attention.
Everyone’s story today are amplified. And many share information without worry too much about the implications. Many employers today utilize Social Media to learn more about a potential employee.
In one way or another, we all are part of someone’s story plot.
This is why your Hotels has to start to amplify your listening to find new creative ways to develop a story plot.
With the sharing and disruptive economy, one of the absolutely biggest challenges today for Hotels is to catch the customer’s attention. With all kind of smart devices that are available today, you have a matter of seconds to capture customer attention.
We know that visual images represent an important part of our decision process. Even though cognitive scientists say that humans tend to forget 90% of what is shown to them. The key then is to guide customers towards the 10% they remember.
For a Hotel 90% of the outcome can represent 10% of the customer experience. We know often it is the small things that will tip an experience both ways.
This is why it is so important today for Hotels to focus on the Customer Performance, and take part in all stages of the experience. As you see customers mindset is very narrow. Which way their experience will tip depends on your Hotels focus on what you really can influence.
The customer performance today focus on wooing and captivate your customers with, delightful authentic experiences that foster a relationship of trust.
Today is all about transforming an experience that is available on all forms of digital medium. Provide a dynamic experience that takes customers down a natural path to purchase.
Data from Google shows that Mobile search for Hotels has increased dramatic over the years. And we know that mobile booking is about to surpass desktop / laptop bookings.
Many travelers are undecided about which Hotel brand to book with and how brands are differentiated.
Hotels and even Online Travel Agencies see some of the new alternatives like Airbnb as a new fierce competitor.
But in fact, is not! It is just a new alternative that found a way to amplify their listening. Instead of worry and focus on Airbnb as a competitor Hotels should look at new alternatives themselves through amplified listening.
Customers selected Airbnb because they were made aware of an alternative that covered a need. Again on the surface, it appears to be related to price points. Obviously, there is alternatives to the package and bundled solutions that attract customers.
One key advice I got from my friend and motivator CEO & Founder Marketing Nutz, Pam Moore is not to make the mistake and focus on much on shiny objects. Instead, create better experiences around your product and/or service.
Research has shown that travelers today is no longer loyal to any specific brands. But customers are loyal to the experience.
Customer will return, and they will bring their friends back to a Hotel due to a unique experience. Their story is their experience.
As we all know there is no straight road that shows us the magic sauce of a direct Hotel booking.
Customer Performance is built upon a journey. And Hotels today has to be willing to let customers create their own journey.
When you amplify your Hotels listening and position yourself it will allow you to capture the customer at the right time at the right place.
Reaching the customer at that golden moment require a new set of strategies that allow you present a given set of information that supports the overall customer performance.
Hotels today are required to deliver a meaningful experience that is unique for each individual guest. But it has to be a no-nonsense experience. The customers bullshit radar is highly sophisticated today. This is why I put so much emphasis on that your Hotel need to amplify your listening.
Personalization is also about really understanding your market segment. And of course, common sense is important. If you have proper strategies in place that allows you to engage with customers before they made an educated decision you also position yourself to make better decisions.
If the story I am looking for represent Games of Thrones, and I am provided with something that represents House of Cards it is obvious there will be a conflict. Even if both stories are great, just one of them will represent my experience in a way that will generate the wanted ripple effect.
Always align the experience with your promise. At one Hotel chain, I worked for we had something that was defined as a Service Promise. This was a gimmick that served a purpose at the time. Today this gimmick has evolved to where promise makers and keepers unite to serve the customers.
Customer performers today have the ability to think outside the box. The future of Hotels is represented by innovators and performers that are able to take surprise and delight to new levels.
Several Hotels have learned how to maneuver in the new Social Media landscape, and customer service and performance matter today.