In Newsletter #16: The Airbnb opportunity | Your hotel as a technology platform | Increase engagement for higher guest satisfaction.
I think there are a lot more than six things to get right about Airbnb, but the piece below from Morris Sim is a great read. Although we ourselves have been compiling our own list of ways the hotel industry can learn innovation from Airbnb (soon to be published), the piece below is slightly different; highlighting some of the opportunities to be different. And rightly so! Yes, there are many learnings, but that can be said of any successful company today. Hotels are hotels, Airbnb is people’s apartments. We have one of our account managers launching a hotel in Mexico this week. Do we worry about safety? No, of course not. Might we with Airbnb? Absolutely. Are you selling this strength? Not really.
The other two pieces we highlight this week are about the rise of the platform technology economy and the value of engaged guests. Two different concepts, but I do think the two can be looked at together. I recently had a conversation with Robert Cole of RockCheetah, and as we discussed how technology can increase engagement, he highlighted an interesting finding. The more a consumer interacts with an airline, the worse their perceived experience. However, the more a consumer interacts with their hotel, the better their perceived experience. So looking at your hotel as its own platform for engagement, its own facilitator of services and spaces, how can a hotel-as-a-technology-platform-approach drive increased guest engagement and thus unlock its true value potential?
Just some food for thought. As always, we welcome any and all conversations for those who want to dive into any of this and especially hoteliers who want to look at their technology strategy. Most of all, please keep sharing your findings and thoughts.
- Alex Shashou
"Dear hoteliers, the concept of convenience needs to be redefined. Some assumptions about what makes things convenient for travelers are outdated because travelers can find better, cheaper, and/or faster alternatives elsewhere. Their cleverness erodes the value of your service. The spirit of service is what you have to maintain; the manifestation has to be relevant for your customers today and tomorrow, not of yesteryears." Morris Sim, Brand Karma founder, Six Things Hoteliers Need to Get Right About Airbnb
Why it matters:This one is not about the business of running a hotel so much as it is about the evolution of every business today. As Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco, states “the strategy of every business is going to have technology at its core.” If technology is not becoming a core competitive advantage of your hotels, then it represents a significant potential risk. The expectation of consumers, as we have referenced before, is fast adapting, faster than technology can keep up. Industries are cross-pollinating through platforms, as described in this article. This is all happening as a result of technological innovation, and as such your hotel’s technology strategy will indeed define your business model, today and in the future.
This presents an opportunity for those who are working hard to understand their core competence, as well as for those who are going even so far as to analyze their hotels as a platform. After reading this article, we ask: if your hotel is its own platform, how is each part performing together to increase its collective value?
Why it matters:It’s no surprise social media is playing an increasingly important role in defining your guest’s hotel experience, but how much effort is worth trying to engage your guests? According to this Gallup study, every effort is worth it as an engaged guest will spend almost $200 more per stay.
Given this, it might be worth looking into how your hotel can use social media, email, mobile and SMS to interact with your guests in a more proactive manner. In order to get the most from your efforts, be religious in testing and tracking as many tactics as possible, aiming to link each one to the corresponding guest’s stay.
As you compile and analyze this data, you will not only improve the efficiency of your guest engagement program, but you will learn more about what matters most to your guests; valuable information that can be used throughout your entire operation.
Why it matters:When we talk with our hotel friends about Airbnb we often hear similar frustrations: Airbnb is eating into hotel revenues without paying (in most markets) the same onerous taxes required of hotels.
It’s far less often we hear hoteliers inspired or energized by Airbnb to rethink their own offerings or innovate in kind. As such, this missive to hoteliers by Brand Karma founder Morris Sim, is a valuable read. Sim identifies meaningful distinctions between Airbnb and hotels and practical ways in which the latter can leverage these distinctions to their advantage (a renewed focus on services, as well as safety), as well as ways in which hotels should strive for more similarity (focus on content marketing and entrepreneurialism). All six pieces of advice are important, but perhaps the biggest message is that hotels should be invigorated by Airbnb to ask questions about how the market is changing and how they can best adapt and excel.
In evaluating innovations in hospitality it’s helpful to consider the biggest problems facing the industry, and then identify the technology that helps solves them. Here are some of those problems and ways hotels have been solving them with innovative technology...
Just as Apple used mobile technology to redefine the notion of customer service in retail, and Uber used mobile technology to transform the meaning of customer service in transportation, mobile technology can similarly improve the provision of customer service in hospitality.