Technology and data hold the key to elusive guest loyalty and fuel competitive edge for hotels, according to a study commissioned by Sabre Hospitality Solutions which found that guests are increasingly willing to share honest personal data in exchange for more personalised hotel service. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

While most travelers hold no loyalty to a particular hotel brand, hoteliers can change that reality by offering a more personalised guest experience, according to the study conducted for Sabre by Forrester Consulting. The study suggests that hoteliers who rely on data and technology to power personalisation and an outstanding customer experience will hold a competitive edge to differentiate and win travelers' hearts and business.

In the age of the customer, the relationships hotels have with guests are the greatest source of competitive differentiation, yet many hoteliers are not maximizing that relationship. Nearly two-thirds of leisure travelers and more than half of business travelers hold no loyalty to a particular hotel brand, and a majority of travelers are willing to share personal data to ensure hoteliers can meet their individual preferences, the study finds.

To capture guest loyalty, hoteliers must reimagine their loyalty programme and learn how to harness customer data and insights to create a more personalised, seamless guest experience across all channels.

Consumer attitudes toward sharing their data are evolving. According to the study, more than half of travelers are open to sharing certain types of personal information but in return expect to be offered relevant deals, discounts or loyalty points. Interestingly, travelers who are 55 and older are more willing than younger travelers to share their personal information in exchange for additional benefits.

The study found that collecting and applying customer data and insights to deliver seamless, cross-channel experiences - especially by providing personal touches to travelers in exchange for their data - are key to meeting customers' expectations, improving their experience and fostering loyalty that leads to future bookings.

And when it comes to personal touches during their stay, the most compelling reasons cited by travelers for sharing their personal information include:

  • Check-in or check out time that fits their schedule
  • Room selection based on their preferences
  • Assistance discovering local activities and places of interest