As privacy concerns related to data capture reach a fever pitch, consumer data – perhaps better described as the critical currency which powers personalization – is becoming a protected commodity. For a long time, brands across industries could collect and store online data without explicit disclosure of that capture and, more importantly, without first obtaining consent. This was a discreet and arguably invasive practice.
Over time, privacy and personal data protection concerns began competing with consumer desire for a data-driven, personalized experience. The result? A widespread erosion of consumer trust, which, for customer-facing, service-based brands like hospitality, is very bad for business.
All of this coincides with massive changes in data privacy from Apple and Google, which will significantly impact channels like Facebook and mobile apps. Data will, of course, continue to drive insights and personalized touch-points, but the rules of engagement have changed. Industries like hospitality, which rely on retrieving traveler information to curate more relevant messaging, offers, experiences, and loyalty rewards, must adjust their approach.
As we bid 2022 goodbye, “Ask, and you shall receive” is no longer the ruling mantra; rather, this should be replaced with “Incentivize, and you shall receive.” Data is valuable, and it’s due time for hotel operators to establish a two-way value exchange that incentives guests to readily share their information to unlock a heightened experience.
It’s Time to Turn the Page on the Wild West of Data Collection
“The data harvested from our devices, along with our trail of electronic transactions and data from other sources, now provides the foundation for some of the world’s largest companies,” shared the Harvard Business Review in February of this year. “Personal data is also the wellspring for millions of small businesses and countless startups, which turn it into customer insights, market predictions, and personalized digital services. For the past two decades, the commercial use of personal data has become like the wild west. But now, because of consumer mistrust, government action, and competition for customers, those days are quickly ending.”
Simply put, hotels cannot offer a great guest experience without prioritizing data protection and transparency; one tier of service (personalization) cannot come at the expense of another (privacy and consent). In 2023 and beyond, great service will be synonymous with heightened data protection and transparency.
If hotels elevate their efforts to meet guests’ expectations for customized offers and experiences, and treat personalization as a strategic priority, they will see immediate benefits that deliver long-term results. That is why every hotel’s primary mission should be to clearly demonstrate the value exchange: a personalized experience at every touchpoint in trade for data. The good news is that tailor-made journeys are exactly what guests want. Fortunately for hotels, modern loyalty programs represent an ethical and effective way to capture guest data and establish a clear value exchange, which rewards guests for sharing their data.
The Value Exchange: What Are You Giving Guests in Exchange for Their Data?
One significant shift is that consumers recognize the value of their data and are willing to share personal information in exchange for something in return. People are typically more inclined to do something when there is a benefit for them. A 2022 Coresight Research study revealed the following:
- 80% of consumers are willing to share personal data to earn loyalty program benefits.
- 70% of consumers are willing to share their data to receive special discounts and offers.
- 71% of consumers will shop more often with brands or retailers that personalize their communications.
Why should guests give up their personal data without receiving anything in return? Shouldn’t this exchange be a two-way street? What new experiences and services can guests expect in exchange for their data and loyalty? The win-win involves identifying the value exchange and unlocking the right data.
Next-generation technology sets the stage for this dynamic by allowing hospitality brands to offer their guests data control and value in a seamless, scalable fashion. Modern loyalty platforms like Laasie look to instantly reward guests with relevant, high-value rewards when they perform a desired action, such as booking direct or opting in to share their information.
In an entirely transparent fashion, Laasie collects every relevant and appropriate data point shared by guests and then converts this data into actionable insights hotels can leverage to direct business strategy intelligently. In exchange, guests benefit from a more personalized experience and get to choose from an open marketplace of instantly-selectable reward options across shopping, dining, activities, and more.
In simple terms, Lassie’s loyalty program automatically incentivizes and earns travelers’ consent, unlocking richer experiences, better service, and high long-term loyalty. This isn’t just the future of hotel loyalty – this is the future of guest data capture across the industry. Finally, hotels will be able to unlock the true power of a dynamic, customer-centric loyalty program powered by AI and instant gratification and, as a result, build meaningful, value-driven relationships with their guests.
It may be the end of an era of easy access to guest data, but it is just the beginning of a new era of deeper trust and engagement between guests and their favorite hotel brands.
Widely recognized as a visionary hospitality and travel technology leader, Ellis Connolly is the Chief Revenue Officer of Laasie, which uses artificial intelligence and big data to dynamically create loyalty with personalized, instant rewards that motivate customer actions like booking directly, making a return visit, joining a marketing program for offers, and more. He is a passionate evangelist of disruptive innovation, and has held senior executive roles within some of the most world’s most successful SaaS technology companies. With customer-centric engagement, creativity and curiosity at his core, he brings industry connections and deep domain expertise that few else hold. Based in Los Angeles, Ellis is a sought-after speaker, advisor, author and influencer.
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