Revolutionizing the Guest Journey: Inspiration

5.10.2024
Gregg Hopkins
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An effective hospitality technology stack should focus on the following seven (7) core areas of the guest journey while delivering a “data process flow” to facilitate the required operational capabilities that aligns with the hospitality provider’s desired guest experience with consideration for future requirements:

Today, we focus on the “Inspiration Stage” of the guest journey. During this stage, the customer is waiting and looking for inspiring ideas about the area they want to visit. This is your opportunity to produce content that will appeal to a new customer as well as providing a platform for ongoing communications with your existing customers between their last stay and their next booking.

The inspiration to travel derives from various sources including:

1. Social media plays a significant role in this regard, luring customers with gripping, illustrative, phenomenal, and highly visual travel blogs, write-ups, videos, slideshows, travelogues, etc.  Recent studies, reported by Lodging Interactive, highlighted a significant trend: Gen Z (aged 18 – 24) is turning to social media for their travel searches. This age group bypasses Google in favor of visually driven platforms like Instagram (67%) and TikTok (62%) to find places to stay.

2. Travel bloggers actively showcase their own travel experiences through YouTube and TikTok videos, interviews, travelogues, and explainer videos giving out useful tips on popular destinations, things to do there, what to pack, what to expect, etc.

3. Travel advertisements generated on social media showcasing breathtaking destinations and luxurious properties offering ‘4 Days-5 Nights Packages’ have the power to grab consumers' attention. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are extremely well-known for generating personalized advertisements based on individual preferences and clicks on related pages and links.

4. Also, the testimonials and guest reviews on various social media platforms and hotel websites inspire a reading traveler to give it a go.  According to a study from TrustYou, the link between reviews and hotel conversion rates and pricing shows travelers are almost four times more likely to choose a hotel with higher review scores when the prices are the same, and 76 percent of travelers are willing to pay more for a hotel with higher review scores.

5. 'Word of Mouth' has the power to prod someone to undertake travel. In this connection, travel inspiration received from a friend, relative, or colleague who has just returned from a vacation can also instill within the listener (your potential customer) the inspiration to travel.

6. Simultaneously, customers are checking the hotel website for price and additional information aided by web chat to help answer travel-related queries.

Useful tools for the Hotels at the Inspiration Stage:

  • An effective Content Management System to ensure consistent branding and personalization across all digital mediums and to collect data about the behavior of website visitors and use those insights to enhance your website. You can also test different web pages to find out which options bring the most value for customers. This can help you decide on a final personalization design that's exciting and functional.
  • Connecting your Customer Relationship Management system to power website personalization and deliver consistent email marketing campaigns to loyal customers.
  • Management of Google, OTAs and other review sites by updating it with great pictures and content with review management across all channels to understand customer sentiments for making the positive changes with timely responses to engage better with the customers, etc.
  • Social media management and interaction with guests.
  • Modern, fast website preferably with fresh testimonials from guests and fully functional web chat to assist potential customers and drive bookings.
  • Digital advertising on GDS, OTA, Social Media, etc. channels and Search Engine Marketing to drive customers to your website.

Interested in learning more? This article is the second in a series of articles on the technology components in each of the seven (7) phases of the guest journey over the upcoming months.  Be sure to follow Get Hoppy Consulting on LinkedIn for updates or email me at gregg@gregghopkins.com to discuss your organization’s tech.

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