That’s a question asked by a recent paper from SOCAP (Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals). Available for download, the paper addresses the topic of whether or not the hospitality and tourism industry is taking advantage of what big data can provide.
Where big data can have the biggest impact is on consumer experience. And we know that improving the hotel customer experience is a $1.3B opportunity. SOCAP discovered four basic insights that hotels and the tourism industry can do right now to use big data to improve the ever-so valuable customer experience.
- Gather the Right Data from the Right Places
Hospitality companies naturally collect and generate tons of data and information on travelers and guests. Data sources such as social media provide supplemental information that can inform companies on customers’ specific interests and preferences. For example, knowing a frequent traveler’s Twitter handle and then monitoring the Twitter stream for “Just landed” or at Foursquare check-in at airports can reveal useful information that can help hospitality companies offer added levels of convenience to the traveler experience.
- Personalize the Customer Experience
With the right data, gathered from the right places, hospitality can also develop more complete profiles of their customers. The art in big data is in knowing how to use the data in an effective manner to personalize the customer experience. For example, to optimize results major hotels are using big data to match their best offers with the most appropriate guest profiles.
- Create Interactions With Customers
Web 2.0 and the widespread adoption of social media have generated large amounts of data and information about individuals. Apps like Foursquare have gamified the “check-in” process, while travel sites such as TripAdvisor give status and rewards to users who post the most helpful reviews. Customers can share their opinions and experiences over a much broader range of channels than before, meaning hospitality companies can no longer rely on just customer feedback surveys to measure the whole of a guest’s experience. By analyzing data from a customer’s entire online presence, companies can develop more complete and accurate customer profiles. The result of this is the potential and ability for hospitality companies to better interact with their customers in richer, more meaningful, and more personalized ways. Checking in for a flight or at a hotel becomes a more personal interaction, beyond just greeting a traveler by name.
- Get Ahead of the Customer Relationship Curve
Big data offers a new capability for hospitality companies to get ahead of the customer relationship curve. Big data empowers the hospitality sector with the information needed to become anticipatory, instead of reactionary, to a guest’s or traveler’s specific needs and preferences. By getting ahead of this curve, hospitality companies are in a position to more effectively influence the customer experience to ensure higher levels of satisfaction, which ultimately deepens customer loyalty.
Where we can help is taking all of this valuable data and putting a visual representation to it. This could be presented in customer-facing areas like the hotel lobby or be used behind the scenes to keep employees in the loop.