How to Build a True Personalized Omnichannel Guest Journey at Scale

October 11, 2021

Christian Arias

True hospitality requires personalization at scale by providing the right guest experience at the right time via the right channels. Touchpoints exist both physically with guests on property—but also digitally before, during, and post-stay.

That’s why it’s important to personalize the guest journey across all channels and touchpoints in order to create a winning guest experience that builds loyalty. At HITEC, I presented an educational session on how Hapi has teamed with Salesforce to help hotel companies create 360-degree views of their guests.

View a recording of the full presentation below, or read the following example of an omnichannel guest journey and how the right tech tools can create a great guest experience at every touchpoint.

Before the Trip: Deliver Personalized Digital Content

You can’t truly personalize the guest experience without first getting a clear picture of your potential guests. You’ll need a unified customer profile, a single record of the customer that consolidates anonymous web behavior and any hotel data about the customer that may be useful for personalizing the experience—such as past stays, loyalty info, and demographic attributes. To build a true personalization strategy, you’ll also need live property management system data, such as guest profile data, reservations and stay data, and revenue and past spend data. Then, AI makes sense of all this data to create an affinity profile, alerting you about what’s most interesting to customers.

However, even with the best personalization engine out there, guests are still going to drop out of the journey. But there’s a way to bring them back in the loop. With Salesforce’s Journey Builder, you can bring some of those guests back through an AI-driven browse abandonment journey. For example, it’s been a few days since a potential guest engaged with the hotel’s digital content. Through the AI-driven journey, you can target them via cross-channel messaging featuring interactive content aimed at rekindling inspiration to take the trip.

Interaction Studio then allows you to reach customers on the channel that makes the most sense for them. For example, you can send potential guests an email with dynamic content that allows them to view hotel information right from their inbox. From here, guests can enter a direct-booking journey.

However, if they book through an online travel agency (OTA), you can build a new journey in Salesforce that makes it possible to directly email back the OTA generated email. This means you can communicate with the OTA guest directly. At this point, promotions, amenities, and special benefits can be shared with OTA guests as incentives to input their direct contact information, which can be used for all messaging moving forward and added to the unified customer profile.

From here, you can build another journey aimed at arming guests with tips about their trip and offer an upgrade to the next best room or encourage them to download your app—which provides a new channel for messaging and a new data source to use for future personalization experiences.

Salesforce’s personalization engine also allows you to change the content of old emails that have already been sent so that you can show the next best offer. If guests book an upgraded room via an email you sent, now the old email promoting the room upgrade sitting in the inbox can change to promote a restaurant guide. This way you don’t risk over messaging your audience, and your content can be hyper relevant.

On Property: Personalize the Experience in Real Time

When your guest arrives on property, your team members can work to continue personalizing the guest journey. At check-in, the front-desk agent can log into Salesforce and view trip information and the digital activity guests have engaged with up to this point. The AI personalization engine can recommend to the onsite employee in real time what the next best conversation topic is, such as a discounted spa treatment with opportunity to book right at the front desk. 

Opportunities to bolster the guest experience throughout the entire stay will continue. Let’s say a few days go by and the personalization engine notices a guest hasn’t booked an excursion. This can trigger a push notification through the mobile app promoting top-rated activities available for the week.

But what if a guest books and the excursion doesn’t go well? The guest is likely to post about it on social media, which can be monitored from the system, relying on AI to discern overall sentiment of posts. AI can alert you to any issues that need rectification so you can be in-the-know immediately of any poor experience. Here, you can respond in real time and begin service recovery in an effort to build loyalty.

At Check-Out and Post-Stay: Continuing the Journey

The guest journey doesn’t end just because they leave your property. Upon check-out, the front-desk agent can log into Salesforce again and see personalized conversation topics, such as the benefits of the loyalty program.

When guests head home, they are automatically injected into another AI-driven, post-trip journey that you create. This journey aims to first grab candid survey data to ensure better trips for other future guests, but it’s also set to promote the next best experience for the guests and how to become a loyalty program member.

 Recap: Steps of the Personalized Guest Journey

To recap, here are the steps to this hypothetical guest journey and how the right tech tools can help along the way:

  1. Leverage AI within Salesforce to identify a potential new audience: for example, past guests with positive digital body language
  2. Build that audience in the platform and add them to the inspiration journey, which features the next best content during every digital touchpoint within the journey in an effort to drive direct booking
  3. Prepare a pre-arrival journey for the featured guests and get them to download the mobile app and upgrade their room
  4. While on property, guests share about experiences via social media and you can follow along to respond in real time if any issues arise
  5. By providing great experiences on property and service recovery for not so great ones, you’re able to convert guests to loyalty program members post-stay

Communication and interfacing across digital channels pre- and post-stay and in person while guests are on property is all part of the guest experience. Hapi fits in by integrating real-time PMS data such as guest profile, and reservation and past stay revenue data, further personalizing the guest journey. Hapi brings Salesforce to hotels. Learn more.

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