Scouring the popular travel website to find the best place to stay in a particular destination is an interesting process. The marketing photos always depict beautiful environments that are never crowded in areas of a city that are close to all the desired activities. With everything presented as the same, how do you pick the one that is really the best? Can hotels create omni-channel customer engagement experiences to set themselves apart?
A recent blog by Aspect (News - Alert), an omni-channel customer engagement solutions provider, explored the potential in this space, especially with the use of mobile self-service solutions. One thing that has become apparent is that consumers want access to solutions and interactions through their mobile devices. They also want the ability to control the interaction, leveraging self-service at whim and only reaching out for direct connections when self-service options are meeting the need.
When traveling, this is especially true. As consumers, we may not have a laptop or other standard tools with us on the road, but we always have a mobile device. But are hotels taking advantage of the opportunities available through mobile connections and omni-channel customer engagement? For instance, if I book a stay three weeks out, but need the confirmation on the day I arrive at the hotel, is the brand sending me an updated confirmation the day of my scheduled arrival to make it easy for me?
Likewise, what if there are opportunities for upgrades or add-ons that I may want to take advantage of when I arrive. The hotel may have made these offers upon booking, but it was more likely a passive approach – assuming I would select what I want in the booking process. But, if I’m planning to arrive during a particular season or event that is happening locally, the hotel could enhance my experience by offering add-ons that include participation in local offerings that not only add revenue for the brand, but also increase my loyalty.
Then there’s the check-in routine. If I arrive late at night or at a time when there is a long line at the counter, I don’t want to have to wait for something I’ve already arranged. Wouldn’t it be better if the brand could send me a digital key on my phone that I request at a particular time? We tried this on a recent visit to Washington D.C. The Embassy Suites where we booked our room offered the digital key and I was able to check-in ahead of time through the Hilton app. The only problem is the digital key didn’t work, even after we visited the front desk to report the issue. Great attempt – but terrible execution.
The point is, hotel brands have an opportunity to build loyalty and set themselves apart through the omni-channel customer engagement experience. But, are they taking advantage right away?