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Win Your Guests’ Hearts by Feeding Their Lust for Information.
By Hugh Fisher
Saturday, 7th January 2017
 

Scientific consumer behavior studies have shown that the desire for knowledge can make some people physically hungry; There’s an innate curiosity in human beings, a drive to solve mysteries and know as much information as possible -- and this drive can be strong enough to have a physical impact.

Your guests are hungry for useful, timely information. Two new reports from Sabre and TrendWatching explore this and other emerging trends in Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, with specific examples to bring these trends to life. Hoteliers can use the approaches outlined in our new report to satisfy Infolust, giving guests the information they seek in ways that make their lives easier, safer and more fun.

In exchange for providing relevant and timely information to your guests, you’ll gain actionable data that can help you provide more personalized experiences and better targeted promotions. After all, your guests are more open than ever to sharing information with you. According to research by Forrester Consulting, 51 percent of travelers are willing to share personal data with hotels if that information is used to offer them deals, discounts or loyalty points. Overcoming the gap between what guests expect and what your hotel offers will help you build customer loyalty and provide the information your guests want.

In particular, guests in Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions desire products, tools and services they can trust to provide the right information at the right moment, in ways they can easily act upon. But with constant alerts, notifications and updates from multiple devices and apps all fighting for attention, only relevant messages that speak your guests’ language will get noticed.

How do we know this is true? Because we see examples of it in the world around us, such as Cheap Flights’ emoji search that lets you find destinations based on the emoji you enter. We see it in the fact that 53 percent of Millennials in the UK would prefer asking online shopping questions of a chatbot than a live human being.

Knowing that guests want to get accurate, useful information right away, many hotels are already seeing benefits from using chatbots to give guests information on their room, amenities and things to do during their stay.

The rise of this trend has consumers expecting more from brands, such as being able to address specific questions to companies in a conversational and accessible way – like chatting on Facebook Messenger. Hotel guests increasingly expect to get information on their own terms, from channels and devices that fit into their lives seamlessly and effortlessly.

What’s more, these new types of communication can help build bonds of loyalty by positioning your brand as friendlier, more responsive and more fun than your competition. This is why many hotels are finding success by making themselves available on platforms that their guests are already using, such as WeChat, which has over 760 million users, the majority of them in China and other Asia-Pacific nations.

The good news is that hoteliers don’t need to develop sophisticated technology to take advantage of this trend. Your hotel’s conversational presence could be as simple as having concierges available via Facebook Messenger or WeChat, offering information on the property and advice on local activities.

The key to success lies in knowing what information your guests are looking for, then providing the most relevant and timely information to help them plan their journeys. This means knowing who your guests are, as well as the context for their travel.

In Europe and the Middle East as well as India and China, consumers concerned with their personal safety and security seek access to information that they believe can keep them safer. Whether it’s food safety, severe weather or even terrorist threats, people are looking to technology to help provide a safety net against threats in the world around them, using personal and external data to identify potential dangers and make their day-to-day lives safer and easier.

Again, your hotel doesn’t have to do this alone. Consider partnering with a company or service that is already a part of your guest’s ecosystem, or an app that your guests already rely on. For instance, the Companion app for iOS and Android gives travelers a safety net by connecting them to family, friends or public safety officials. Giving your guests information they need could be as simple as recommending an app such as this one if they’re concerned about heading out on the town at night.

For more examples of how brands are satisfying consumers’ Infolust, download our new regional deep-dive reports to help hoteliers worldwide better serve guests from Asia-Pacific and Europe & the Middle East.

And for an even more in-depth discussion of these trends, click here to watch the recorded presentation of our recent webinar with Maxwell Luthy, director of trends and insights at TrendWatching.

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