After several surveys by a number of travel organizations and experts, it has been discovered that people have become more comfortable with sharing personal information like their location and travel history with travel companies in return for a more customized service.
Dr James Canton from leading think tank the Institute for Global Futures, says: “The future of travel is really exciting, as we’ll see predictive travel analytic anticipating what consumers want from their experience before booking. The hotel booking itself will be helped along by artificial intelligence software agents, using data mining and intuitive computing. The new travel design science will help create highly personalized in-stay experiences.”
Let’s take a look at some of the various personalization efforts that are been adopted and used by various sectors and support services in the travel industry.
Personalization by Support services in the travel industry
- New features used by some of the support services in the travel industry like the 2016 update of Uber’s app enables and ensures data from your journeys is collected and stored, this will help in learning from your routines and help predict where you will want to go next.
- Trips app in an effort to ensure the ease of planning and organizing your trips was also launched by Google in September 2016; it was designed to thoroughly search your G mail account for hotel bookings and flights, as well as propose itineraries and store your reservations.
Personalization by Airlines
Several airlines have become more sophisticated with personalized offers by customizing the airline passengers user experience. However, when it comes to airlines, every aspect of personalization comes at a fee, especially for the “economy class VIP”.
A survey conducted by Sabre in 2016 found that some consumers are willing to spend more to get extra air travel value such as fast-track security, preferred seating and enhanced meals.
On the other hand, booking systems often remember the preferences of premium passengers and more often than not the flight crew know who they are.
Personalization by the hotel industry
A chief commercial officer for a top hotel once said, in the hotel industry there are real life opportunity to use information gathered from a guests stay to create consecutive priceless experiences for them when they return. He added that “Travellers are likely to experience more of this seamless personalization from their hotels within the near future.”
Personalizing an hotel guest’s stay is a major factor to creating a lasting experience. Several luxury hotels now store information on whether you have any dietary preferences, what newspaper you read, what floor you prefer, whether you like red wine or white wine better, if you prefer it sweet or savoury.
At the point when any guest is booking their room, they are often asked a series a questions including the purpose of their visit, as this will help determine small but important details about them and enable the hotel create small gestures of customised recognition.
Like all top hotels, staff will go out of their way to remember your name, as well as relevant facts about who you are and why you are in town so they can converse with you.
- A perfect example is when a guest books a room for a business trip but has to arrive late, the hotel makes sure his or her room is prepared for bedtime straight away and leave a tea amenity to aid in sleep and an energy bar for the next morning.
- Elle magazine’s beauty editor once arrived at the W St Petersburg to discover the hotel had incorporated the tag line of her own range of scented candles, her love of cats and shoes to create a more personalized effect. She posted a picture of it on social media and the reaction it garnered from people said it all.
- Some hotels have adopted the use of dynamic emails where every time you open one of their messages, a count down timer comes on and then when you open again the next day, the content could be different, however the hotel offers remain accurate and up to date.
- Thanks to digital innovation, Hilton HHonors app can be used to select your room and can serve as a digital key to access your room instead of the plastic one usually given at the reception. The digital key also allows you pin your favourite room and when next you stay at the hotel, you will find a little heart shape on the room floor.
- Hilton’s recent partnership with Google Maps also means you can now see special locations and pick your favourite room near the lake, a park or any other point of interest. You can also message the front desk, make restaurant reservations or request champagne on arrival.
The future of personalization in the hotel industry
Skyscanner’s director of hotels Nik Gupta agrees: “[By 2024], advances in digital technology will mean that travellers will have no need to encounter a single human being from the time that they enter their chosen hotel to the time that they check out of their room. The fight back against peer-to-peer travel will see hotels empower their guests with incredible levels of hyper-personalisation through their mobile devices to provide the unique experiences they want.”
Skyscanner also foretells that hotel software will link with guests’ social media profiles so that when they book a particular room, everything is set specifically for them. Some hotels are already looking up VIP guests online and anticipating what they might appreciate when they get there.
Do you believe hyper-personalization is the future of travel or do think this is doing too much?
Please share you thoughts.
Mariam Barry is a lifestyle and travel blogger.