At the Walt Disney World Resorts, customers are given wristbands called “MagicBands,” notes Reuters, and a mobile app that provides guests with a host of amenities, including the ability to quickly pay for food and merchandise, unlock hotel room doors and even schedule restaurant and ride times. MagicBands use radio frequency (RF) technology to exchange data with RF identification scanners placed throughout the resort. Disney is able to use the data from these wristbands to study traveler behavior and they can use customer analytics to make their guests’ overall experience at the park — including their time spent the resort’s hotels — a better one.
Although this is a specific example, the power of customer analytics is an important lesson for hotels, and there are many similar ways that you can collect traveler data to build brand loyalty and enhance the travel experience. Using the data provided by mobile apps, beacons and previously noted guest preferences allows you to offer better rewards, customization and improved recommendations to hotel guests.
The Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program offers a similar perk to the MagicBands at Disney. Program members can use the SPG app on their iPhone, Apple Watch or select Android phones to check in to their hotel, get their room number and unlock their room door. Using this data to measure dwell times, including the most popular hotel areas at specific times of the day, and the amount of time guests spend in certain areas (such as poolside), allows you to deliver compelling reward offers, reports Cvent’s Hospitality Marketing blog. It provides a chance to offer customers what they want before they know they want it.
Additionally, you can enhance the guest experience by analyzing beacon-provided data. iBeacon can help streamline your check-in process and even let guests control heating, room electronics and lighting from their phones, according to Tnooz, and in fact, Estimote, a developer of beacon sensors, has teamed with GuestDriven, a guest-engagement solutions provider, to deliver beacon technology to hoteliers in North America. Via short-range radio signals broadcast by beacons on a hotel property, it allows you to send your guests a variety of push notifications, like a welcome message upon arrival or a special offer to upgrade to a suite, at the right times.
According to a November 2015 Forrester Research study, analytics can play a major role in helping you make your guests’ stay more enjoyable. One unnamed hotel, the report says, makes visitors’ preferences more visible to employees via computer screen “pop-up” messages, which automatically show what guests like, such as a preference for “a lower floor or a certain type of beer.” A guest’s location and personal preferences can help you determine the best restaurants and amenities to recommend and even help create custom itineraries for your guests.
Customer analytics provide the hard data necessarily to personalize the guest’s hotel stay. By using customer analytics to study and learn from guests’ habits and interests, you can tailor a travel experience to meet the ever-changing needs of your clientele.