How Hotels Can Overcome Commoditization with Mobile Messaging
As the consumerization of IT sets in across industries, Millennials are being looked at as if they’re some mythical market segment. Everyone wants to know how to best capture the attention of these customers.
For those that haven’t adapted to new market demands, the time has come to make changes as Millennials now outnumber the Baby Boomer generation. Every industry must adapt, but hotels and hospitality brands are under more pressure than most.
The hospitality industry can no longer rely on incremental improvements to mobile apps or minor web optimization efforts to maintain customer attention. As Millennials continue to become prime customers, the hospitality industry must embrace mobile messaging and customer conversations as the keys to market leadership.
The Hospitality Trends You Can’t Afford to Ignore
It’s not enough to make sweeping claims about digital transformation in the hospitality industry—by now, business leaders realize that the customer experience has to change.
Instead, we have to look at the four key trends that are sparking the need for more radical changes:
- Millennials are the real travelers: So many companies are focusing on Millennials simply because the generation is growing. However, Millennial researcher Jason Dorsey believes the younger generation is already outspending Baby Boomers on travel. This is the experience generation and it’s up to hotels to capitalize on the opportunity before online travel agents completely take over.
- Mobile is the primary experience: In 2017, $190 billion was spent on digital travel planning, 40% of which was done through mobile. And it shouldn’t surprise anyone that mobile will grow to dominate digital transactions. Mobile experiences shouldn’t stop at hotel bookings—differentiate your brand with powerful end-to-end digital experiences.
- Consolidation of hospitality distribution: The Marriott-Starwood merger is only the tip of a hospitality-consolidation iceberg. Even as more big players merge, Google is disrupting the distribution space by letting users book travel experiences directly from search results pages. Brands that can’t differentiate themselves risk getting squeezed out of the market altogether.
- The sharing economy is coming on strong: The sharing economy as a whole is set to grow from $14 billion in 2014 to over $330 billion by 2025. A major piece of this market is Airbnb and the rise of peer-to-peer hospitality accommodations. Maintaining the hotel industry status quo won’t help stave off this growing competition.
The result of these trends is a strategic set of priorities for the hotel industry to focus on—all of which can be tackled with the right digital customer experience in place. And this is where the Layer Customer Conversation Platform can help.
Layer Helps Hotels Thrive in a Mobile-First World
Unlike traditionally disjointed mobile experiences in the hospitality industry, Layer helps hotels bring all customer interactions and communication channels (from the initial phases of the customer journey through the end) into one conversation.
By baking the concierge experience into the entire customer journey—not simply at the front desk—a Layer-powered customer conversation helps hotels:
- Streamline reservation changes: With rich, interactive messages, things like scheduling and reservation changes are simply a few taps away. The human agent or automated assistant can easily respond to customer requests for reservation modifications right inside the conversation.
- Frictionlessly upsell products and experiences to guests: Hotels can seamlessly offer upsell opportunities for room upgrades, as well as value-add services like event tickets and restaurant discounts, all while making the customer feel taken care of and valued.
- Offer easy access to loyalty programs: Guests can get real-time information on how reservations or upsells might affect their loyalty status, spend their loyalty points, and be given special levels of care depending on their loyalty tier.
- Integrate intelligent room service offerings: With Layer’s flexible server API and webhooks APIs, hotels can add voice-enabled room service to their guest app for requests like “more pillows” or “maintenance needed,” all unified within the context of that guest’s single conversation history.
- And more
Take a look at a demo video showing a potential hospitality conversation experience for both a guest and a hotel employee:
These are just some of the interactions that hotels can integrate into their Layer customer conversation experience. The beauty of Layer is that whatever experience you can imagine for your guests, you can implement with Layer’s powerful and flexible Customer Conversation Platform.
Ultimately, Layer helps Hotels thrive in a hyper-competitive environment and drive strategic priorities, such as:
- Overcoming OTA modularization: Who is going to own the hospitality customer in the digital age? With Layer, hotels can create differentiated experiences that keep customers coming back for more. The conversational experience is a direct line for frictionless booking, support, and loyalty. The customer relationship can belong to the hotels themselves.
- Catering to Millennials: This generation expects an Uber-like experience in everything they do on their mobile devices. Any sign of inconvenience and customers will be happy to move to a competitor. Layer helps capitalize on the experience generation by supporting seamless concierge services for events, restaurants, and cultural recommendations throughout a trip.
- Expanding revenue per available room: So many aspects of the hospitality industry have become a race to the bottom in terms of price due to growing disintermediaries. The ability to offer end-to-end concierge services from the comfort of a smartphone can boost revenue beyond simply booking rooms.
- Competing with the sharing economy: The sharing economy isn’t going anywhere, but you can mimic and improve upon the user experience that has made it so popular with the help of Layer. Providing easy access to a human agent prepared to meet any customer’s needs can set you apart and add the human touch that sharing economy travelers are becoming accustomed to.
- Getting ahead of mobile booking: It’s important to build beyond the booking experience, but the customer interaction still begins with booking. The Layer Customer Conversation Platform helps hotels seamlessly integrate booking transactions that aren’t just mobile-optimized, but mobile-native.
Traditional hotels are at a fork in the road when it comes to digital experiences. Competition has been catching up (and passing) establishing brands for years, but customer conversations can turn the tides back in your favor again.
Contact us today if you want to learn more about how Layer can help you transform customer conversations for more successful hospitality engagement.