If you ask just about any industry leader what the secret to consumer engagement and long-term loyalty is, their answer is sure to revolve around the concept personalization. In this digital age, where previously impenetrable barriers between brands and consumers cease to exist and convenience and transparency are the norm, consumers want to be known, understood and valued.
Personalization is, in many ways, the name of the game, and there are few industries to which this concept proves truer than that of hospitality. Modern guests expect an exceedingly comfortable stay. The key? Personalization. Modern guests expect a notably memorable stay. The key? Personalization. Modern guests expect a convenient and frictionless stay. The key? You guessed it — personalization.
Yet, while personalization has undeniably earned its spot as one of the primary industry buzzwords of 2019 and is, respectively, one of the most sought-after features of emerging technology, we still lack a critical understanding. Personalization may be the residing guest expectation and the focus of new-age PMS platforms, but just how far can it go? Is personalization really that easy? Is it as simple as a turn-key solution that hoteliers can purchase, turn on and walk away from while reaping the presumed rewards of happy, loyal guests?
The answer is, perhaps to our surprise and chagrin, no.
The PMS of today is, without a doubt, a far cry from the legacy models that once ruled the operational infrastructure of hotels. Modern systems are increasingly mobile, flexible, user-friendly and built (and customized) strategically with the needs of each hotel and their guests in mind. They are designed to improve the productivity of hotel staff, drive revenue, integrate with ease and — of course — cater to a more personalized guest experience model.
However, the ability to truly personalize the guest experience within an industry that is overwrought with OTA-generated leads and a lack of unique identifiers for new guests, is not the sole responsibility of a modern PMS.