Hospitality marketers have been seeing customer experience rising in importance over the years. It’s even expected to overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator in 2020. How does that affect travel brands whose entire business is already based on customer experience? And the ‘experiential’ economy is quickly morphing into an even deeper ‘transformational’ economy, as people seek to improve their lives – their selves, their very beings – with their brand interactions.,
Today’s young and adventurous travelers are looking for memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences inside the hotels themselves. After price and location, the two most important hotel traits considered are amenities and aesthetics. But how much is too much? And how can brands create these experiences that make consumers want to return? Here are three ideas.
Create a stay to suit their style.
Many guests are looking for a stay that feels just like home, but that doesn’t mean they’re not looking for a special twist to make the trip more special. The best way for hotels to provide that familiar experience is through extreme personalization. More hotels are using the power of technology to help guests customize their room exactly as they envision it. Hilton will soon allow guests to upload their own artwork and photos to display in the room. Finding ways to appeal to consumers’ passions and lifestyles is an especially smart tactic for mid-range hotels to provide exclusive (yet more affordable) experiences.
Create a stay that’s out of their comfort zone.
As isolationism continues to be a symbol of luxury, hotels are transforming inhospitable places into comfortable stays. Some resorts like Qasr al Sarab are willing to go above and beyond to make a stay in the desert inviting. A boring two-hour drive from the closest city, all staff lives on the property, which has a hydroponic farm, solar power, and on-site medical. Not every hotel needs to create a small city to provide an out-of this-world experience. The most successful brands are able to transform someone’s point of view by taking a guest into a place they’re unfamiliar or even apprehensive about and help them grow comfortable with it.
Create a hotel community.
In the quest for authentic discovery and immersion, many travelers are looking for genuine communities to connect with. Hotels can frame themselves not only as a connection to the local community, but also as the meeting hub for interaction to take place. Take for example the boutique chain W Hotels. In iconic music cities like LA and Barcelona, the chain has unveiled “W Hotel Sound Suites”, recording studios that exist inside the hotels themselves. W Hotels not only appeals to the music crowd with this addition, but they have now created a location for artists of all levels to come together and network.
More and more, we must be more than a comfortable bed, WiFi and maybe a restaurant. Today’s travelers expectations are much deeper, and much more personal.
Special thanks: Kaila Sekula, Planner Extraordinaire