Guest experience has become the new buzzword for the hospitality industry, with hotels striving to give each guest the best stay possible. But because the definition of “the best” is subjective and often different for each guest, many hotel owners and operators use digital hospitality technology to personalize the guest experience in order to increase customer loyalty.

Research shows a positive correlation between a business’ attitude and investment in technology and their level of success. Accenture’s 2015 B2B Customer Experience report studied a variety of industries and compared the attitude toward technology investments held by “Leaders” (high-performing companies with high financial value) versus “Strivers” (companies falling short in some way either strategically or financially) and “Laggards” (companies in the bottom 20 percent).

Role of Technology in Success

Not surprisingly, 44 percent of Leaders felt that digital investments give them a competitive advantage, while only 23 percent of Strivers agreed with this statement. Potentially more significant was that Strivers were willing to make the technology investments necessary to improve operations and guest experience. The study found that 67 percent of Leaders allocated a larger portion of their customer experience budget to technology-enabled customer experiences, compared with only 41 percent of Strivers. This means that Leaders don’t simply think that digital investments are important — they actually integrate the tools into their businesses.

The study found that Leaders felt that digital technology significantly improves their interactions with business customers, provides new sources of revenue, engages employees and partners more effectively and helps reduce costs. On the other hand, Strivers and Laggards rated the importance of technology for each of these results much lower. The most significant gap was in customer interaction, with 63 percent of Leaders reporting that technology gives them a significant edge in this area, compared with only 38 percent of Strivers and 25 percent of Laggards. One area in which hotels can easily integrate hospitality technology into the customer experience is by using advanced hotel booking software, allowing guests to easily make or change their reservations from anywhere with Internet access.

Hotels don’t create memorable customer experiences simply by investing in the “technology of the day” and expecting to see results. It’s essential to carefully consider your target demographic as well as your hotel’s technology infrastructure and capability to support the technology. The study found that 48 percent of Leaders spend significantly more than the other two groups on Internet of Things technology in the past two years. This technology is especially useful for hotels because it can both increase the ability to provide guests with a personal experience and reduce overhead costs at the same time. For example, sensors can be used in a guest’s room to lower the temperature during the winter when the guest is out of the room, and also to automatically create a guest’s preferred environment when they open their hotel room door by remembering the exact light and blind settings the guest selected the previous day.

When it’s integrated into both the employee processes and customer experience in a meaningful and strategic way, digital technology can provide a personalized, memorable experience for guests that keeps them coming back.

Learn more about technology solutions for the hospitality industry and how they can enhance the guest experience.

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Jennifer Goforth Gregory

Jennifer Gregory has been writing for 20 years and has focused on the hospitality industry for the past five years. She has written for numerous publications, including, MSN Money, Fox Business, Success Magazine, QSR magazine, Hospitality Technology magazine and American Express OPENForum. She works for a variety of national brands including IBM, Allstate, Intuit, Infusionsoft, American Express and Costco. She has a master’s degree in technical communication with a specialization in technology. Follow Jen on Twitter: @byJenGregory

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