The implementation of in-location guest engagement strategies is leading to positive financial gains for more than 80% of US-based hospitality companies. That’s according to the Guest Engagement and Experience Technologies in Restaurant and Lodging Survey conducted by EKN and AT&T released in January of 2015.
Hospitality Companies Are Satisfied With Their Ability to Personalize Content
When comparing their success with their competitors, 50% of the respondents rated themselves as being ahead of their competitors in terms of in-location engagement. Additionally, 60% reported that they are very satisfied or extremely satisfied with their ability to send location-based personalized content.
The goal of personalized content is to deliver a more intimate hotel stay or restaurant experience to each guest. In-location engagement gives companies the ability to deliver a unique service or product to guests depending on each guest’s individual preferences.
For instance, when communicating with customers through a website, hotels and restaurant can customize the language, pricing, menus, amenities, and other content to each individual guest who visits the site.
The survey also yielded a surprising result. Sixty percent of respondents are still using email for in-location messaging, while only 26% of hotels and 28% of restaurants are using mobile app notifications.
Given the deep penetration of mobile devices and the rapid growth in popularity of mobile apps, there is an opportunity gap for hospitality companies in the app arena. Mobile apps give companies an enhanced ability to improve message personalization and timeliness.
Wi-Fi Plays a Significant Role in Lodging Sector
The study also revealed the challenges hospitality companies face when pursuing personalized customer engagement. Personalization at an individual level requires an in-depth understanding of what guests want. Unfortunately, 40% of respondents believe that they lack insights into what guest want from their brand experience.
So, how will hospitality companies gain the necessary insight? They must gather information from emerging and advanced sources such as mobile, NFC devices, in-location cameras, and Wi-Fi beacons. That data must then be merged with data from traditional sources such as POS and loyalty programs.
The need to collect and analyze this information is not lost on hospitality companies. In fact, lodging companies rank in-room Wi-Fi as the number one source of guest information with mobile devices ranking second. Restaurants rank mobile devices as most important with loyalty cards ranking second.
It’s important to note that all of these technologies rely on a robust Wi-Fi infrastructure. Consequently, the need to gather data to fulfill the need to personalize engagement work together to motivate hospitality companies to beef up their Wi-Fi services to accommodate increased demand.
In-Location Guest Engagement Increases Loyalty
In spite of the challenges they face, hospitality companies are far ahead of the retail sector with 98% of respondents stating that they will send location-based promotions and offers to guest during the next 12 months. The goal of their effort to deliver personalized content and value differentiation is to meet the expectation of their guests for seamless, personalized, and consistent experiences.
This increased focus on in-location guest engagement is based on the industry’s understanding that it leads to loyalty. And, loyalty has a positive impact on growth. Guests want to feel empowered. Currently, the connectivity and convenience of mobile devices offer hospitality companies to give guest the power they crave.
The impact of in-location guest engagement isn’t all digital. Approximately 90% of respondents stated that they will provide all relevant guest information on employee or manager’s mobile devices in the next 24 months. This means hospitality staff will have instant access to information that will enable them to provide highly customized service face-to-face, further enhancing customer engagement.