Deloitte: New trends in hospitality and travel businesses development

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Deloitte: New trends in hospitality and travel businesses developmentThe concept of sharing goes to the heart of the evolving customer experience

Steps to be followed by hospitality and travel industry businesses in order to foster innovation and growth are presented by Guy Langford, vice chairman and US Travel, Hospitality & Leisure leader, Deloitte & Touche LLP in the following report:

Embrace the new sharing economy

The concept of sharing goes to the heart of the evolving customer experience. And sharing finds expression in different ways that T&H companies may leverage for competitive advantage:

  • Sharing means community. Encourage guest connections. For example, Marriott worked with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Mobile Experience Lab to develop its Six Degrees application. Guests with common interests who are staying at the same hotel can use this app to connect. Other hotels are reconfiguring their common areas to make them more conducive to gatherings. 
  • Sharing means connectivity. Encourage direct feedback from your guests. It’s the best kind of customer engagement data.
  • Sharing means partnering with the customer. The new consumer wants to participate in the design of his T&H experience. Unbundle your offerings to let this happen. 
  • Sharing means cost and market effectiveness. In a conventional economy, excess supply or demand is the norm. In a sharing economy, supply and demand are in balance. An Uber driver can drive two hours per week or 40 hours per week and an Airbnb host can bring his or her property online for one day or nine months—all depending on what the market requires.
  • Sharing means convenience. Consumers wouldn’t use Uber, Airbnb or other travel alternatives if they weren’t convenient. That’s why these “market-makers” are so powerful–by controlling both supply and demand they’ve create a convenience dynamic never before seen in a service business.

Employ mobile technology and social media as customer service and marketing tools

Mobile technology and social media’s importance as vehicles for customer expression and engagement cannot be overstated. Take away someone’s voice capabilities on their smartphone and it’s still a smartphone; take away their messaging apps and it’s a paperweight. Far more communicating is being done today via messaging platforms like WhatsApp, WeChat, and Slack than through traditional voice communication. Messaging links the communication paradigm of yesterday with the on-demand ubiquity of today. T&H companies should consider leveraging chat platforms to engage with customers and address needs and issues throughout their journeys. For example, some hospitality companies have leveraged the ubiquitous WeChat platform in Asia to promote their food and beverage offerings, with guests able to instantly book reservations.

While using social media to praise or critique a travel experience is quite common, visuals are becoming the primary form of customer expression. Popular online platforms in the T&H space all have one thing in common–they are focused on imagery, not text. Travelers use services like Instagram to tell the story of their journeys in ways far more emotive than words alone.

What does this means for the T&H industry? Companies should be increasingly familiar with Instagram to connect with consumers and translate brand values using pictures. For instance, the W Times Square held a contest inviting Instagrammers to upload images using the hashtag #WDESIGN, creating an opportunity for everybody to engage with the brand and showcase their artistic capabilities.

Don’t just collect data, use it

Every customer touch point provides an opportunity to collect data. Incorporate data collection into your strategic planning because it is strategic. Then analyze and share data across all departments and brands.

Empower and engage employees

Because Millennial-generation employees understand and identify with their influential customer counterparts, long-term retention of Millennial talent is essential for future success. However, in an industry where seasonality may contribute to a sense of “temporariness,” Millennials often leave T&H organizations because they feel their input is not valued or they lack “skin in the game.”9 To invest these and other employees with a sense of ownership, empower and engage them across all strategic pain points. Give employees the ability to deliver personalized customer experiences. Train and incentivize them to make independent decisions. Hold them accountable and reward them for the results of their decisions.

Make risk management a C-suite priority

Even if the majority of companies in the T&H space are doing everything right by traditional standards, strategic risks can still surprise. The challenge is how to anticipate, adapt, make decisions, and change course in the face of these uncertainties.

Whether executives are concerned about potential hacking and security breaches, foodborne illnesses, or supply chain disruption, one thing is clear: the risk wheel is turning and the way that companies manage risk needs to evolve as well. Risk management should be a C-suite priority that is driven top-down throughout the organization. A comprehensive, proactive risk management program may help to mitigate internal and external threats and prove to be a winning differentiator for T&H companies.

Partner to prosper

Disruption has changed the nature of competition in the T&H industry as well as the way companies respond to that competition. Some organizations continue to “go it alone” but increasing numbers are recognizing the value of strategic affiliations and alliances. For example, Hilton and Uber formed a partnership that allows Hilton guests to schedule alerts through the HHonors app to prompt them when they need to arrange a ride via Uber. Starwood signed a deal with Uber that lets riders earn points in Starwood’s loyalty program. United became one of the first airlines to allow users to access Uber via the airline’s mobile app.

Concurrently, Uber’s on-demand delivery service, UberRUSH, has formed alliances with various restaurants across the US. Similarly, KLM recently inked a partnership with Airbnb that allows KLM travelers to search for lodging at an Airbnb property via the KLM website when they make their airline reservations. Examples of other partnering arrangements abound; legacy T&H organizations view them as a quick and cost-effective way to adapt their business strategies in a disruptive marketplace.

T&H companies operate in a world where change is the only constant. However, leading organizations have proven a couple of things over the last decade:

  • Continuous reinvention is not impossible; it is critical to relevance and success.
  • Innovation is iterative and built around the fundamental core of understanding the “job to be done.”

Accepting change is table stakes for survival. Managing change–no matter how disruptive it is–by developing innovative solutions that support new business models is the new paradigm for success.

Read more here

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report


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