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Hotel Experience: how to shape a customer experience.

In today's world, competition in the hospitality industry has become increasingly difficult. In order for a hotel to survive, it must find or create a unique advantage over the competition and start developing it.

In recent years there has been a much greater focus on the customer as a route to what will set them apart from the competition. Business strategies are being shaped and crafted in light of greater focus on the customer as differentiation based solely on traditional elements such as price and quality is no longer a sustainable competitive advantage and customer experience is the next competitive battleground. Experience plays a fundamental role in determining customer preferences as it subsequently influences their purchase decisions.

As a definition of customer experience according to the global literature we call: "the purchase journey of a consumer from the initial search to the use of a product or service, and captures the formation of the customer's experience (thoughts, feelings, experiences, sensations) as the result of the totality of this journey and the various touch points - touch points - with the company and/or its partners.

 

(Customer Experience)

 

As a definition of customer experience according to the global literature we call: "the purchase journey of a consumer from the initial search to the use of a product or service, and captures the formation of the customer's experience (thoughts, feelings, experiences, sensations) as the result of the totality of this journey and the various touch points - touch points - with the company and/or its partners.
Therefore, a hotel business that creates a positive customer experience reaps multiple benefits such as: customer loyalty, increased revenue and customer engagement as customers who know and trust a business because of a positive experience are more likely to respond to the business's outreach and marketing initiatives.

The pandemic has played a catalytic role in the evolution of the industry, as visitors have developed a completely different consumer mindset with deeper values.

It has created a new model of visitor who makes multiple short trips throughout the year in search of experiences from the places they visit.

By analysing the profile of the new visitor we will see the trends that dominate and shape the hospitality and catering industry.

Social media has undoubtedly contributed to the growth and shaping of the industry, particularly with the role it played during the Lockdown as it changed the way customers act and behave.

The impact of this technological culture has led the hospitality industry to the need to invest in new technologies such as hotel apps, QR codes, Menu, augmented reality (AR), contactless payments, etc.

The creation of a Social Media department is necessary in order to be able to meet the demands of the new era that is taking shape in front of us.

The trend towards a healthier diet has become more pronounced. Visitors are now looking for more affordable food concepts but with an innovative and local character

We see many hotels upgrading and adapting their F&B models by enhancing the guest experience on the "Go Local" philosophy such as: with vegan options on menus (especially Millenians), themed restaurants, guest Chef visits for various events, development of organic gardens in hotels, inter-active cooking classes, wine tasting of local wines, local food, to meet the demand for more authentic dining experiences.

Greek cuisine can become a model of global nutrition, culture and well-being.

The visitor's awareness of environmental protection is now considered a key feature of his profile.

The protection and enhancement of the Greek landscape are the means of attractiveness and prospects of our tourism industry and the experience we will create for the visitor.

All these characteristics that shape the new traveller. Therefore they should be taken into account and considered in the light of the "continuous" Customer Experience (experiential marketing).

In conclusion, to shape and develop a "customer experience" you need to:

  • Investing in innovation: the evolution of technology today can provide us with tools to meet new customer needs.
  • Consider the functional characteristics of the service you provide in order to create a sustainable competitive advantage.
  • Let the customers shape their experience: in the hospitality industry the experience is jointly shaped (hotel and guest), they should allow the consumer to shape and create their own experience by providing the basic experiential materials.
  • You should take into account that the different components of the customer experience depend on the characteristics of the specific product - service.

The hospitality industry today needs expertise, personal development and creativity more than ever.

Spokos Vasilis, MSc, MSc

Hospitality consultant & financial advisor

 

Bibliography:

The tourism economy in Crete: Communication and perspectives, Spokos Vasilios, 2020, Globe Edit

Papadopoulis G. (2017), The concept of Customer Experience, This is Marketing

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