According to a recent report by Twilo Segment, 56% of consumers say they will become repeat buyers after a personalized experience.
Personalization is essential to any hotel’s business strategy. According to the same report, almost 69% of business leaders are increasing their investment in personalization despite challenging economic headwinds.
So, what does personalization entail, what are the benefits, and how can hotels use it to their advantage? Read on to find out.
What is Guest Experience Personalization?
Personalization means tailoring the experience for individual guests based on their preferences, behaviors, and characteristics. You could greet a guest by their first name or congratulate a couple on their engagement with a complimentary bottle of wine, for example.
The goal of personalization is to increase guest satisfaction and loyalty. Guests want to feel valued and understood.
Data, technology, and great customer service are the keys to unlocking personalization. Hotels must utilize their property management systems and guest experience platforms to understand guest preferences, behaviors, and past interactions.
Why is Guest Experience Personalization Important?
Guest personalization is crucial for hotels for several reasons:
- Enhanced guest satisfaction: Personalized experiences make guests feel valued and understood, leading to higher levels of satisfaction.
- Increased loyalty and repeat business: Satisfied guests are more likely to become loyal customers who return for future stays and recommend the hotel to others.
- Competitive advantage: Guests are more likely to choose a hotel that offers tailored experiences over one that provides a generic, one-size-fits-all approach.
- Higher revenue generation: By understanding guest preferences, hotels can offer targeted recommendations for premium services, special amenities, and personalized packages, thus driving higher revenue.
- Positive reviews and word-of-mouth: Satisfied guests are more likely to leave positive reviews and share their experiences on social media.
Guest Experience Personalization Challenges
Guest experience personalization might be important but it’s not always easy. This can be for a few reasons:
- Lack of technology integration: You might have multiple systems that store guest data, such as reservation systems, loyalty programs, and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. But integrating these systems to provide a unified view of the guest can be complex.
- Privacy concerns: Collecting and storing guest data for personalization purposes requires strict adherence to privacy regulations. According to the Twilio Segment report: only 51% of consumers trust brands to keep their data secure and use it responsibly.
- Balancing automation and human touch: While automation and AI are valuable for personalization, there's a delicate balance between automated interactions and maintaining a human touch. Over-reliance on technology can lead to impersonal experiences.
- Changing guest preferences: Guest preferences can change over time, making it necessary to continuously update and adapt your personalization strategies.
14 Hotel Tips for Guest Experience Personalization
Know Your Guests
Getting to know your guests—from individuals to specific guest segments—is an important first step to personalization.
- Utilize guest profiles and preferences
Guest profiles help you create a comprehensive picture of your guest. This picture can then help you apprehend your guest’s needs and preferences before their stay even begins.
Each guest should have a profile detailing their:
- Guest history: When did they stay last? What add-ons do they typically purchase?
- Preferences: Which room type does your guest select? Do they like a soft or firm pillow?
- Special occasions: When is their birthday or anniversary?
- Dietary restrictions: Are they vegetarian or vegan? Are they allergic to anything?
- Feedback and reviews
Guests leave valuable insight in their online reviews so it’s important to pay attention to them. Whether the review is positive or negative, it can help understand what they liked and disliked about their stay. This feedback can then help you improve upon their experience next time.
So, how can you encourage guests to leave reviews? Technology like contactless checkout gives you a way to guide guests to leave reviews on Google or TripAdvisor. Canary Contactless Checkout, for example, does this through a brief, customizable survey.
Did you know: Canary Contactless Checkout increases the number of 5-star hotel reviews on TripAdvisor and Google by up to 350%?
Pre-arrival personalization helps you create a positive and memorable guest experience before they’ve stepped foot on your property! It also demonstrates your commitment to understanding and meeting your guests’ needs. And guests will love you for it.
- Tailor welcome messages and emails
Tailored welcome messages or emails are a great way to get guests excited about their stay, make them feel valued, and create a good first impression. Here are a few ways you can take your welcome messages to the next level:
- Use your guest's name: Instead of saying “Dear Guest,” make sure you include their name for a personal element.
- Reference booking details: Mention the details of their reservation, such as check-in and checkout dates, room type, and any special requests they made during booking.
- Acknowledge special occasions: If the guest is celebrating a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary, offer congratulations or a special amenity to enhance their celebration.
- Use messaging technology: Smart messaging technology is a great way to engage with guests in real time. Canary Messaging, for example, allows you to set up AI messaging to answer your guests’ questions.
- Customize room preferences and amenities
Set up the guest's room with specific amenities or arrangements based on their preferences, such as a favorite type of pillow, specific room temperature, or favorite snacks and drinks. Here are a few ideas:
- Personalized welcome gifts: Handwritten notes, flowers, local treats, or small souvenirs could make a great first impression.
- Room scents: Allow your guests to choose their favorite room scent, such as vanilla, rose, or sandalwood.
- In-room entertainment selection: Much like Netflix, use your in-room entertainment data to pre-load the TV with their favorite shows, movies, or music.
During the Stay
During your guests’ stay, the opportunities for personalization are endless. Your staff must be alert and ready to continuously cater to guests’ preferences before they ask.
- Train staff on guest recognition and engagement
Training staff on guest recognition and engagement is crucial for creating a personalized guest experience. Here are a few ways you can help your staff delight guests:
- Role modeling and leadership: When staff see their supervisors prioritizing guest interactions and going the extra mile, they are more likely to follow suit.
- Understanding guest profiles: Train staff members on how to access guest profiles, preferences, and history to create more tailored interactions.
- Scenario-based training: Use role-playing and scenario-based training to simulate different guest interactions. This helps staff practice recognizing cues, responding to requests, and engaging guests in a personalized manner.
- Tailored experiences and surprises
Surprise and delight guests with personalized amenities that align with their preferences and interests. Here are a few ideas:
- Surprise treats: Leave a bottle of wine in the room of guests who have been out sight-seeing.
- Room upgrades: Surprise guests with room upgrades upon arrival to create a wow factor and add value to your guests’ stay.
- Special occasion: Deliver a complimentary birthday dessert or cake to the guests’ table after their meal.
- Real-time communication and assistance
Implement a digital concierge or messaging platform that allows guests to communicate with hotel staff in real-time. This platform can handle requests, provide recommendations, and address any concerns promptly.
Say a guest needs restaurant recommendations, they can receive instant suggestions based on their preferences and dietary requirements.
Your post-stay engagement should be planned before your guests’ departure. Doing so will ensure you leave a lasting impression and enhance your chances of a repeat visit.
- Personalized thank-you messages
Personalized thank-you messages—whether they are handwritten or sent digitally—are a great way to express gratitude. They also present an opportunity to ask guests for an online review. Here are a few essential thank-you message elements to remember:
- Guest’s name: Add a personal touch by using the guest’s name.
- Express gratitude: Show the guest that you’re thankful they chose your hotel.
- Mention positive or personalized experiences: Refer to any positive experiences the guest may have experienced during their stay.
- Discounts or offers: You may want to include a discount or special offer to encourage repeat visits.
- Future communications
Any future marketing you conduct with past guests should be relevant and tailored to their interests. Here are a few ways you could personalize future communications with guests:
- Special occasion reminders: Keep track of special occasions, such as birthdays or anniversaries, and send personalized greetings or offers during those times.
- Local recommendations for future trips: Provide a list of local attractions, events, and restaurants they might enjoy during their next visit to the area.
- Relevant news and updates: Keep guests informed about any hotel renovations, new amenities, or services that might interest them for their future stays.
Leveraging Technology for Personalization
- Intelligently upsell throughout the guest journey
Upselling works best when the right add-ons are offered to the right guests at the right time. But you’ll only achieve this by getting to know your guests. For example, you could upsell:
- Spa treatments
- Early check-in
- Pet services
- Rooms with better amenities or views
Upsell technology allows you to upsell to each guest intelligently throughout their stay. This takes the burden off your front office staff and allows them to focus on customer service.
Get a Free Demo of Canary Upsells Today!
- Use messaging technology to communicate and save preferences
Messaging technology is a great, low-effort way to enhance your personalization efforts—at any point of the guest journey. That, and it saves time for your front desk!
With Canary Messaging, you can tailor your messages to each guest’s individual preferences and needs. You can also use messaging to communicate with guests about promotions, discounts, and special offers.
The messages can be sent either manually or on a scheduled basis, depending on the hotel's preference. The conversation history also allows you to access and remember guest requests and preferences.
Get a Free Demo of Canary Messaging Today!
- Mobile check-in
Mobile check-in allows guests to complete the check-in process on their phones without having to queue. This means they can begin their stay sooner.
This is a great way to collect important guest information, preferences, and special requests. This data can be used to create detailed guest profiles that inform personalized interactions throughout their stay.
Get a Free Demo of Canary Contactless Check-In Today!
Staff Empowerment and Training
Guest experience personalization wouldn’t exist without quality staff empowerment and training. That’s why it’s important to prioritize the quality of your onboarding and working culture. A happy workforce means happier guests.
- Develop a guest-centric culture
Putting guests at the center of everything you do will not only increase guest satisfaction, but also contributes to positive word-of-mouth, repeat business, and long-term success.
A guest-centric culture will also lead to a focus on guest personalization and exceptional customer service.
- Empower staff to go the extra mile
Create a supportive environment where staff feel valued, motivated, and confident to take initiative. This can be done by setting clear expectations, providing support from leadership, and encouraging autonomy and decision-making.
When staff members feel empowered and happy in their roles, they’ll likely go the extra mile not because they’re asked, but because they enjoy the job.
Personalizing your guest experience is a sure way to delight guests, encourage positive reviews, and bring them back again and again.
From building guest profiles to leveraging the right technology, personalization doesn’t have to be difficult. It just needs to be approached in the right way.
Next up, discover the increasing importance of sustainability in hotels.