Meeting Mentor Magazine

May 2019

Why Hotels Need to Get Hyper Personal

Meeting professionals’ room-blocking tasks may become a bit more complicated in the near future, according to a new research study, “Drivers of Change in Hospitality.” Conducted by Amadeus and InterContinental Hotels Group, the study of more than 7,500 global consumers and experts found that hotel guests will want the ability to personalize their choices far beyond the traditional single, double or suite options.

Sixty-one percent said they wanted to hyperpersonalize their stay, whether that be by exchanging a desk for a yoga mat, paying a little more for a room with a view or hookIng up their iPad to the in-room TV to stream their own content. And they will want to book for just the amount of time they need the room, instead of by the usual overnight model.

“Consumers are used to buying exactly what they want and need when it comes to music, entertainment, fashion and travel. Hotel accommodation, which has traditionally been bought in a standard and uniform way, will need to adapt,” said the report. While it did not address meeting participants specifically, planners would be safe to assume that those who want to pick and choose their options, and pay accordingly, when on a personal trip will expect no less when planning their conference stay.

Chris K. Anderson, director of the Center for Hospitality Research, Cornell University, said, “The hospitality industry is on the cusp of a new chapter. Guests are seeking richer individual relationships and seamless experiences with their hospitality providers and are willing to share more data and insights than ever before.”

Tech-Augmented, But With a Human Touch
The study also looked at how hotels can use technology to enhance the guest experience without losing the human interaction that respondents indicated was still important to them — more than two-thirds said they prefer the emotional charge of interacting with human staff.

Instead of using technology to have hotel guests self-serve, it would be better to enable staff to use technology to provide better, more personalized service. One example the study cited is equipping concierges with real-time translation earphones and smart glasses so guests can hear their native languages when interacting with staff.

“In the competition for guest loyalty, hospitality providers need to identify how to offer value through delivering memorable, shareable experiences. To do this, hotels must understand individual guest needs on each trip, and offer a host of unique and unexpected surprises,” said the report. While only 20 percent of respondents said they now get advice about cool local activities, 70 percent said they would like to get more tips and advice on things to do in the area from their hotels.
This is where technology also can be a hotelier’s best friend. “Data allows hotels to anticipate the best way to make each individual guest feel valued, whether that is through unexpected perks, experiences or rewards.”

To provide the personalization and customization guests are beginning to demand, hotels must make good use of emerging advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence. “Without the strong and powerful back-end systems able to crunch through multiple datasets, deliver information to where it is needed and simplify the implementation of new models, it is clear that hospitality providers will struggle to meet the future requirements of guests,” the report stated.

Meeting professionals must also contemplate how they can extend the trends outlined in the report to what they offer outside of their participants’ hotel stays. All indications are that participants are looking to make their conference experiences more bespoke as well, and savvy planners will be looking for ways to provide “unexpected perks, experiences or rewards,” whether that means a sit-down with a celebrity speaker or a customized session plan based on that attendee’s specific learning needs.

To download the report Drivers of Change in Hospitality visit the IHG research centre.

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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 2,500 corporations and associations through our 325 Associates globally. www.conferencedirect.com

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, the leading publication for senior meeting planners, is circulated to the clients, prospects and sales associates of ConferenceDirect, which books more than 3.87 million room nights. www.meetingmentormag.com

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