A Hi-Tech Bridge to Customers.
By Vijay Dandapani ~ Hotelier's outlook on NYC, travel and the industry
Thursday, 31st October 2013
Drawbridge, a tech company based in San Mateo, CA claims to have successfully created a cross-device ad tracking technology designed to let marketers target what individual consumers like based on their online activity as they go from desktop to smartphone to tablet and perhaps back again.

Beyond the slightly intriguing moniker and the company's country-code top-level domain belonging to Georgia (the country), they appear to have a revolutionary marketing tool that is intriguing.

It is not something they appear to be bashful about considering the prominently displayed and fast turning counter on their website that adds up the number of mobile devices "bridged for precision audience targeting". The number is fast approaching a billion devices "bridged".

The company's allegedly secret sauce is its use of probabilistic and statistical inference models to predict what customers are likely to buy. Marketers may justly be salivating at the ability to track every move of customers, current and potential, fears of big brother notwithstanding. Leading the pack among those who will be looking to capitalize on its application are likely to be retailers but the breath of consumer application is quite simply boundless.

For hospitality, an algorithm that aggregates search results and offers a menu of options for guests that are in line with their needs and aspirations could take hospitality to the level of personal attention not seen since the halcyon days of the roaring twenties.

Besides keeping them ahead of the curve and figuring out hot-button issues for guests, hotels could figure which restaurants; theaters, parks and even airlines are their favorite. That would enable better anticipation of preferences particularly for repeat customers who presumbly will be better satisfied and inclined to acknowledge value with a greater willingness to pay.

A few may, with some justification, recoil at the invasion of privacy implications but establishments could ensure they not "sell" the marketing information without guests' consent nor would they use that knowledge in any way that leads guests to think the hotel is privy to their innermost secrets.

There is plenty of precedent to this in the usage of adult movies. There is no known instance of a hotel reporting on guests' viewing history to spouses, friends or employers. Despite the disclaimers, hotel front desk associates absolutely do know precisely which movies are watched!.

Undoubtedly, over time both consumers and purveyors will embrace technology's seeming ability to "read minds".

Vijay is Chief Operating Officer and part-founder of Apple Core Hotels- a chain of 5 midtown Manhattan hotels offering value and comfort in the heart of the city. Member of the board of Directors - Hotel Association of New York.

Read Vijay's blog HERE
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