The personalized hospitality customer journey

By Team Session AI on March 6, 2020

How hospitality providers drive next-generation customer experiences 

From old-school bed and breakfasts to international resort chains, the objective of a hotel is to serve as a home away from home. But a customer’s home is attuned to them. So, how can a hotel provide customers with personal, hospitable experiences—from before they book to the end of their trip—that align with the individual rather than a mass-market?

It all comes down to the 1:1 personalization technology’s ability to drive the hospitality customer journey. Let’s walk step-by-step through a personalized booking experience to see how a personalization platform makes a world of difference.

The initial search 

Donna is planning her annual vacation for her four-person family, which always takes place the week of the 4th of July, but she hasn’t decided where they are going yet. As Donna begins investigating destinations, she remembers the positive experience she had on her last vacation at a beach resort in Florida. Wondering if they have availability, she decides to stop by the website. When she lands on the homepage, she is greeted by an on-site message that says:

“We’re ready to welcome you back Donna! Your room is waiting. When were you thinking of dropping by?”

The page displays an image of the two-bedroom, four-person suite she stayed in last time, already pre-populated for 4th of July week availability. Prompted to confirm her travel dates, she does so and sees that the room is available.

The underlying personalization: Based on her historic booking data, the resort is able to immediately recognize Donna when she lands on the website, and recall her past travel records to know the room she is most likely interested in booking. Further still, the resort not only recalls the last time she booked was for 4th of July week but also recognizes she is browsing the site at a similar time of year as she did last time she booked—further indicating she is likely intending to travel the same week—and so serves up the targeted room and dates when Donna lands on the site.

A friendly eeminder

It’s a week later and Donna is in the final stages of deciding where to travel, but still has yet to book. On the morning of the 8th day, she receives an email from the resort that says:

“Every day is better at the beach. Book soon, before space fills up.”

The email shows there are only two rooms left for her desired suite and dates. Concerned that she may miss out on a great experience if she continues to hesitate, Donna decides to book the room immediately.

The underlying personalization: Based on Donna’s searches the week before, the resort recognized she was not an idle browser, but an interested party. Accessing her email address, which she provided them on her last trip, the resort deployed a tailored message to convert her from on-the-fence to ready-to-book. Leveraging a combination of real-time availability for her desired room and urgency messaging—which was proven as an effective method of conversion for Donna last time she booked—the resort serves up the right message at the right time to convince Donna to book. 

The decision to book

After selecting her room, Donna is served up two excursions to pair with her trip—swimming with dolphins and an all-day pass to the waterpark—and the option to explore even more. Last time they stayed, she and her family had a fun-filled day swimming with dolphins. Although she had considered booking the same excursion again, she decides to do something different, and so adds four all-day passes to the waterpark to her cart, and proceeds to book her trip. At checkout, she is reminded her tickets can be easily accessed from the resort’s app. Looking for added convenience on her trip, she downloads the app to her phone and enables location services.

The underlying personalization: Informed by Donna’s previous experience swimming with dolphins, the resort registers that she is interested in classic, family-friendly excursions, and so featured two tailored options—both of which she had clicked on previously when researching the vacation—that they had available during Donna’s travel dates. At the same time, the resort prompts Donna to download their mobile app, which both provides her greater convenience on her trip and enables the resort to reach her on-demand with highly relevant, highly contextualized offers before, during, and after the vacation.

The finishing touches

When Donna and her family arrive, she uses the mobile app to expedite her check-in process. Later, when she is relaxing by the pool, she takes advantage of a 2-for-1 drink special from the pool-side bar, which was sent directly to her phone. The following day, when storms roll in, she receives a notification that the resort’s steakhouse has availability for a 7 PM dinner reservation. Not wanting to venture out in the storm, she first explores the menu from the app and then decides to confirm the reservation. Finally, on her last day, she receives a notification that there is still room for four to swim with the dolphins. Since they have no set plans that day, she decides to go ahead and book the excursion and pays directly on her mobile device.

The underlying personalization: By leveraging location services and reservation data, the mobile app is able to provide the resort insight into Donna’s whereabouts for targeted offerings based on her in-the-moment context. Then, tuned into external factors such as the weather, the resort’s app is able to anticipate impending storms, and recognize Donna’s lack of an existing reservation and likely desire to stay local to serve up a reservation offering for an on-site restaurant that had an open table for four customers that evening. Beyond this, the resort is able to access data from her past browsing history as well as real-time availability at excursions to prompt her to add an additional experience to her vacation. All this combines to contribute to a lasting and memorable vacation for Donna and her family while driving greater profitability for the resort.

The journey to 1:1 customer personalization

While it may seem impossible to deliver truly personalized customer journeys for every traveler that visits, through the power of technology, such a dream becomes a reality. Session AI is the personalization partner needed to transform every hospitality experience to a 1:1 personalized experience. Through the power of our in-session marketing platform, we’re able to pair historic data, in-the-moment context, and environmental factors to enable the hospitality sector to customize experiences to every vacationers’ interests. Learn more about how Session AI personalizes interactions from initial booking all the way to the point of check-out.

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