It should be a given to anyone who works in the hospitality and hospitality fields that things have changed quite a bit just in the last few years. The advent of social media and consumer mobile technologies has driven a much more data-centric service delivery model and the momentum has been gaining rapidly over the past decade.
Today, there is a distinct drive to deliver a personalized experience with digital technologies both driving and dictating those efforts. Students who plan to work within the travel and hospitality space need to understand the correlation between data and personal experience since the two are becoming more intermeshed as time goes by.
Real-World and Digital Influences
The line between our online and offline lives is being drawn thinner by the day. Our living environments, for example, are now hybrid online and offline spaces that have formed a powerful symbiont relationship. The use of spaces in hospitality gives people respite from their ordinary lives and living spaces. In today’s digital world, those spaces take on new and growing importance.
Current trends within the travel industry show a growing demand for personalized experiences. For travel and hospitality, that presents a twofold responsibility. Today’s consumers are looking for personalized content to motivate them to initiate contact with a preferred service provider. They are also looking for consistency between what is promised in marketing efforts and the actual experience of utilizing the product or service.
The success of this kind of initiative is contingent not only on how well travel-based businesses market and deliver their services but how much they know about their target demographics. This concept was addressed in a recent survey published at the Adobe North American 2108 Summit. Younger age groups are more apt to share personal data than their parents or grandparents and that leads to a conundrum: how personal is too personal?
Chris Silcock, Chief Commercial Officer and vice president at Hilton refers to this grey area as “hyper-personalization” and argues that there is a proverbial line between responsible use of demographic data and encroaching on the privacy of guests. Students who want to understand how this works need to first understand how things like big data, AI, and blockchain technology operate within this space.
Big Data And Hospitality Tech
Big data offers the opportunity to examine large amounts of detailed information about target consumers. It allows marketing professionals to accurately track and collect data on consumer behavior and observe its changes. CRM databases are a primary big data tool in this endeavor.
Cloud-based CRM systems and related hotel management information system, for example, help marketers create offers by analyzing previous trends in sales and corresponding demographic data. They offer the ability to analyze very large datasets in an anonymous way, negating many of the concerns the likes of Silcock and other travel industry executives have about guest privacy.
If, for example, a travel company wishes to target student travelers, they can analyze large datasets to determine things like spending habits and the availability of funds. Students who frequently browse upscale e-commerce sites and luxury hotels would be served much different marketing content than those who search for youth hostels. Both groups, however, have the potential to receive highly-targeted, individualized content based solely on their browsing and search habits.
AI and Blockchain Technologies in Hospitality
AI’s impact on hospitality is set to become more and more evident in future. If current trends continue, almost every object we use will eventually be connected to the Internet. That means that two-way communication is likely to become the norm for most devices with the resulting data becoming a staple of market research. That bidirectional communication framework is a form of AI that any serious student should endeavor to understand.
Blockchain technology will also play a more significant role in travel marketing in the near future by bypassing traditional channels like booking websites. LockTrip is a prime example. It accomplishes this by facilitating meaningful communication between consumers and vendors while holding intermediary entities like Expedia and other middleman applications at bay.
It is important to note that while the above information provides a useful springboard, it is only a thumbnail sketch of all the intricacies of digital technologies that affect travel and hospitality marketing. Courses in digital marketing, AI, and Blockchain are wise choices of electives for students looking to make their mark in travel and hospitality.