The majority of travelers are not loyal to any one hotel,
and hotels need to focus on creating personalized experiences from customer
data to get traveler loyalty, according to a study released this week.
The study, commissioned by Sabre Hospitality Solutions
and conducted by Forrester Consulting, was focused on determining how hotels
can increase customer loyalty. Forrester conducted surveys with consumers as
well as interviews with hotel senior executives and chief information officers,
and “found that collecting and applying customer data and insights to deliver
seamless, cross-channel experiences, especially to millennial customers, along
with providing personal touches to travelers in exchange for their data, is key
to meeting customers’ expectations, thereby improving their customer experience
and fostering loyalty.”
Among the study’s findings were that frequent travelers
are more loyal to brands, but 64% of leisure travelers and 52% of business
travelers said they are not loyal to a particular brand. Sixty-nine percent of
travelers tell family and friends about travel products and services, and 46%
rely on those recommendations.
Using customer data and insights about customers will
help hotels structure more personalized experiences around their guests,
according to the study. In turn, that personalization will drive brand
preference. While trust is key when sharing data, especially considering recent
data breaches, travelers are willing to share trip-related personal information
with hotels. For instance, 79% are willing to share their room location
The study also found that hotels are relying on
“splintered technology systems that fragment data,” making it difficult to
collect the information that could help them meet guest expectations.
Additionally, seamless booking experiences are key; more than half of travelers
expect to make changes to their reservation via the same channel they booked it
on, or a different one.
“But hotels have no hope of servicing customers
effectively across channels if they can’t store and match customer data across
systems,” according to the study.
The study recommends that hotels retool their loyalty
strategy based on customer data and insights. It also urges them to work with
their vendor partners to create technology solutions that will allow them to
collect the data they need to cater to their guests’ wants and needs.
Training should also be developed to act on customer
data, the study recommends. While technology is hindering hotels’ ability to
collect and effectively utilize customer data, acting upon that data is also
important once it is in hand, and all staff should be expected to provide personalized service, according to