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Hospitality Trends to Watch

March 1, 2018

Keeping up with guests’ needs and expectations is a huge and ever-evolving focus point in hospitality. The customer relationship is a critical component to build loyalty and word-of-mouth buzz, and experience is king.

These are the key trends and insights we see shaping the hospitality industry right now.

Personalization

Personalized service is not a new concept. Your guests provide data in the reservation process and expect that to be integrated into their treatment on their visit. They don’t just welcome the customization, they’ve come to expect it, and it’s more important than ever.

According to a Revinate.com infographic on hotel marketing, 86% of consumers say personalization plays a role in their purchasing decisions and 62% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience.

Success means treating a business traveler differently from a family and differently from a honeymooning couple – and applying that knowledge to every interaction, offering, and amenity throughout their stay.

And of course, business travelers can come back with their families, so the system needs to be agile and responsive both between visits and even from interaction to interaction.

Adding a personalized service to an existing touchpoint – check-in, check-out, your hotel café – can add a touch of engagement to an existing, standardized process, and has become much easier thanks to technology and its applications.

This is key, according to “Hotel 2020: The Personalization Paradox, a report published by IBM Global Business. The report says that with the increasing competition among the hospitality industry players, personalization will be the one feature which will help you survive.

“Properly implemented, the combination of personalization and standardization can provide transformational results over the long term and, ultimately, serve to delight guests and shareholders alike in the decade ahead.”

Hyperlocal content and community connections

Your community has a story, and whether you’re part of a big brand or you’re a tiny independent boutique, you need to be totally connected. Leveraging stories specific to your locale lets you tap into that local love and capitalize on local happenings. Knowledge about events happening in the community, local holidays, and the weather all contribute to personalizing the experience for customers and ensure they come back.

This means your staff needs to be in the know about local experiences and be able to make tailored recommendations.

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Co-Creation

Letting a guest co-create their experience makes them more invested and engaged during their time with you, more apt to share it, and more apt to remember you.

Giving guests control over key aspects of their stay – packages, amenities, room attributes, a chance to select an image for their cocktails – allows them to customize their own experiences.

As younger travelers especially blur the line between business travel and vacations (55% of them will extended a work trip to add some leisure time, according to this Hipmunk survey), they are very conscious of making the most out of their trip, and value any opportunity for curation.

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“Format over Flavor”

The Instagram-worthiness of food is more important than ever. According to Trendhunter’s 2018 Trend Report, “Food and beverage sees a shift in focus towards aesthetics over taste.”

Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino alone is enough to prove this point. If it wasn’t tweeted – did the meal even happen?

The trick of course, is to stay on top of current trends without sacrificing food and drink quality, service time, or consistency. And using the aesthetic appeal to then highlight your delicious flavors, optimized service, and amenities.

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Adding Ripples to the Mix

None of these trends are fly by night. Guest expectations for a surprising, 100% customized, tailored-to-them while still infused with your brand and completely unique to the culture of your city— is only going to grow.

  • 1. Ripples lets you meet this challenge in a totally scalable way.
  • 2. Adding custom content to every drinks lets you surprise and delight every single guest.
  • 3. Drinks can highlight sites in town or services on the property, or literally say “Come back soon!”
  • 4. With the Ripples app (or, talk to us about integrating it with your own platform) guests can add their own pictures, or notes to their drinks and make the moment their own.

With drinks as a content platform, you’ll give your guests something worth tweeting about, and you’ll always stay agile – and you can always update your messaging while still maintaining consistent, branded control, and make something one-of-a-kind for each and every guest.

Watch how TwoRuba, at Hilton London Bridge, builds buzz and promotes their brand with Ripples.

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