One of the most important lessons we have learned during COVID-19 is that hotthe el must now start working with a guest where they are, not where the hotel wants the guest to be.

New digital ways of doing business embraced by customers are now the norm. Indeed, guest expectations for digital experiences have only risen, and hotels that fail to maintain momentum risk alienating those they seek to serve.

To keep pace with rising consumer expectations, hotel brands will need to continue to develop and coordinate their digital transformation processes to help understand the guest experience journey.

Let’s start your hotel on a new journey by working with your customer where they are.

The Guest Experience Journey and Digital Transformation: A New Opportunity for Hotels

I’ll start by repeating an important tenet of digital transformation: it’s a process in which people and technology work in harmony to serve guests with excellence at every touchpoint of any given journey involving your hotel.

Amid the pandemic, more and more people have been working, shopping and arranging trips from home or via mobile devices, forcing hotels to rely more on digital technology.

How important is it for your hotel to fully understand the guest experience journey?

In an ideal world, the guest experience journey people take to become loyal hotel guests would be a simple boost: check out your service offerings. Book your service offer. Use your service offering. Rinse and repeat.

In reality, the guest experience journey is more like a puzzle with stops, explorations and discussions along the way – all important moments when your hotel needs to convince people to choose your brand and stick with it. instead of moving on to a competitor.

The question is, how does your hotel convince guests to choose your brand and stick with it instead of switching to a competitor as part of their guest experience journey?

The short answer is You don’t!

Why??

We must begin by seeking first to understand, then to be understood.

As I started today, we must learn how to work with people where they are in their customer experience journey.

Today, we need to meet employees and customers where they are. As hoteliers, we need to innovate and start thinking outside the box to attract and retain employees and the same goes for the customer.

Listen and collaborate with your employees

Guests expect a quality experience while using your hotel’s products and services. Giving customers what they wanted and providing service beyond expectations is usually a winning combination.

Your hotel employees are your eyes and ears. And if you don’t cooperate with the employees, you will put your hotel in failure. Every employee matters and is an unbreakable chain of servants.

Today, guest experience is a journey that begins long before a hotel is in the picture. Google data showed that within 126 days of a potential journey, the customer will visit around 2,000 touchpoints. Within 64 days, they will have reduced it to 200 touchpoints.

I talked about the importance of;

  • to be found
  • Being seen
  • be experienced
  • To be shared

This means hotel marketers need to tailor messaging to the need expressed at the time. Whether the customer is in the planning stage or the training stage, hotels must learn how to communicate with the customer at these stages.

Customers today want things done right now. And they want hotel brands to work with them right now. They don’t care who helps them, just that someone helps them.

Your employees are the people who are best positioned to help your hotel reach guests throughout their guest experience journey.

Turn your employees into partners and brand ambassadors for your hotel.

The Sweet Spot customer experience

An essential key to being found, seen, experienced and shared is that your hotel must start reversing these principles.

This means taking an active role in finding the customer, seeing what they do, experiencing what they experience, and sharing their content.

Use your employees as brand ambassadors to identify sweet spots where employee and guest goals align with your hotel goals. Often, brands find that their employee goals are closer to customer goals than brand goals. That’s why you want to use employees to help guests achieve theirs and learn how that can help them move closer to your hotel’s goals.

Your hotel’s communication portal

When does your hotel normally communicate with guests?

It is important that you understand when the guest begins to engage your hotel in their guest experience journey. Is it pre-booking, over-booking or post-booking?

Today we live in a disruptive society in real time. And communication that involves your brand will happen at times most hotels lack today.

Abandonment rates on hotel websites were 84.63% in 2019. And most of the time, it can come down to a lack of communication with the right message.

Start creating a hotel communication portal where you enable your employees to start identifying why this is happening and understanding guest intentions and actions.

Recognize new pain points

By creating a communication portal with your employees, you begin to understand the why of the customer’s intent and actions.

But it also opens up a new way for hotels to understand how guests are feeling across all touchpoints that involve your hotel.

It is important to understand any negative experiences that customers have had during these touchpoints.

Guests may have built up anticipation from various touchpoints before arriving at your hotel website. And when they arrive on your hotel website, none of those expectations match what is presented to them on your website.

That’s why it’s so important for hotels to use their employees to take a more active role in the guest experience journey.

Live the journey

Data from new digital tools and using your employees as hotel ambassadors will give your hotel a good picture that will help you understand the guest experience journey.

But living the journey will provide valuable information.

Enable your employees to follow every step of the guest journey with your hotel. And let them also do the same with some competing hotels in the area to find out if their guest experience is different.

Customer experience journey map

You now have a team of employees who can provide you with a gold mine of information.

Start creating a customer experience journey map with your employees where you use sticky notes to plot data from all touchpoints.

I recommend using a Kanban board as part of your digital transformation meeting. This will help your hospitality team get an overview of the guest experience journey.

The reason I use it in the context of the digital transformation group is to implement daily growth mindset questions to test.

We know that the customer experience journey is not static and we all have different preferences about what matters at different touchpoints. It is therefore essential to leave some leeway.

Working with employees and guests will help improve your hotel’s digital transformation processes. You will put your hotel in a better position to differentiate itself and become more profitable when you understand your employees and customers.

Framework partnership for digital transformation for hotels

Today, hotels need to invest in people and technology in a context that adds value to everyone involved.

Don’t continue to neglect or take people’s transformation for granted. Technology is a digital tool that will help your hotel when implemented in collaboration with your employees.

Partner with your employees and they will help you retain and hire people.

I also invite you to work with me as a hotel partner to help implement an innovative new digital transformation framework that opens digital gateways to more direct bookings without competing with OTA.

Email me at: [email protected]

Are Morch
Coach in Digital Transformation
Are Morch, Digital Transformation Coach

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