I found an article on LinkedIn written by Rupesh Patel: “The power of personalization”; Rupesh Patel, Review Expert, Hotelier and Consultant, speaks about the importance of product personalization in business. It gives many ideas about this concept so I found it recommendable.
The truth is that personalization is a real challenge for people who work for this industry. Why I say this?
The answer is very simple. The technological revolution we are currently living gives us the opportunity to have a mobile phone in the color we want, with the apps we desire, in the language we need at any time, wherever we wish, whatever we like; it happens with many other consumer products as well: computers, televisions, cars, clothes… nearly all consumer products that are nowadays in the market have a high-level of personalization.
This means that the possibility of personalize a product has become one of the variables that a consumer takes into account when making a decision during the purchasing process. Before going further into this idea, let’s review the main particularities of a Hotel Room, defined by Hotel Marketing and Revenue Management basics:
- Limited inventory
- High-investment is needed to increase the inventory
- We may define different market segments
- The demand shows seasonal changes
- They are perishable
Is it possible to personalize a Hotel Room at 100%?
To answer this question, let’s quickly talk about the characteristics of a Hotel Room and then I will show my conclusion. A 56 rooms Hotel cannot sell more than 56 rooms for one night; this hotel cannot afford an increase on the demand that requests 60 rooms, even if the rooms are sold in advance; to increase the room inventory, a high investment is needed.
This hotel can decide if the 56 rooms are sold to leisure travelers, or if there will be a part of the inventory that will be reserve to congress; or if there will be an allotment for tour operators.
In addition, according to the location of this hotel, we will need to take into account the climate, economic, social and cultural factors, that will cause eventual demand increases or decreases.
And finally, a Hotel Room is perishable. This means that the Hotel Room that is not sold today cannot be sold tomorrow. Because even if we sell it tomorrow, we will have lost the revenue that we could have earn if we had succeeded to sell it today. It is not possible for us to “stock” a Hotel Room and sell it another day.
This characteristic differentiates a Hotel Room from other consumer products; we cannot face changes on demand as other activities do, because the inventory cannot be easily changed to be adapted.
In my opinion, Hotel Rooms represent the main revenue center of a Hotel; they have specific characteristics that make impossible the task of personalizing them at 100%; the button that can change the color in the walls in few seconds still does not exist; as well as we cannot install a zoo in the roof even if a guest affirms that he needs this to have a personal experience in our property; in conclusion, we will be able to offering a personal experience to our guests if our facilities let us reach the requests.
Are we able to personalize a Hotel Service at 100%?
If Hotel Rooms are the main revenue center of a Hotel, what represents the “soul”?
A hotel soul is composed by the attitudes of its employees; a guest can reach the best hotel in the world with the best facilities, the best restaurant, the best bar, the best spa, the best casino, and best rooms… all this will become second-rate facilities if the service does not keep up.
I believe that great service details (like a warming smile when a guest reach the reception), are the dimension in which a hotel can offer a 100% personalized experience to the guests: may the room does not have the color desired by the guest; but if Mr Johnson arrive to the room and he finds a hand-written card that says: “Welcome home, Mr Johson”, may he realize that his stay in this property is about to be something unforgettable.
To finish with, it means to me that we have all the cards over the table; we cannot pretend to personalize our facilities according to every different guest (this is not affordable) but (and this is one of those wonderful “but”…) we have a huge range of possibilities related to High-Standing Customer Service. It is not expensive, it is not perishable, it is not limited; and it will contribute to loyalty our guests, contributing to Hotel Revenue and ensuring the Business Sustainability.
Javier Guijarro Segado
The Management of Hotel Operations, Peter Jones, Andrew Lockwood
The power of personalization, Rupesh Patel