A recent JD Power study showed that hotel guest satisfaction has plateaued as perks have become standard expectations. When picking and choosing exact specifications via an app is a better experience than getting to a hotel only to argue with a desk agent, it becomes clear why Millennials have such low engagement with the hospitality industry. It’s no wonder the hotel and rental car markets are being crowded by sharing economy businesses Airbnb and Uber.
As the hospitality industry shifts to accommodate customer preferences, influenced in part by the distinct priorities of the Millennial cohort, and more generally by all things digital—social media, smartphones, and apps for everything, the role identity verification becomes critical.
Scan-and-verify solutions such as desktop devices and mobile scanning apps that quickly capture and digitize all the information from a driver’s license, passport, or other identity card make for very customer friendly experiences. Accurate information is extremely valuable to big tech companies, but most hospitality companies aren’t taking advantage of even basic customer data.
The following are ways the hospitality industry can leverage customer data to promote a better experience and increase revenue:
Gain Customer Loyalty through Personalization
Millennials are hard to win over as brand ambassadors in the hospitality industry; a recent Gallup report found only 20% are fully engaged (sharing positive feelings or reviews for a brand) while 23% are actively disengaged (sharing poor reviews). Getting the right customer data is the key to increasing customer loyalty. Linking a scanned ID to a previous visit, amenities targeted toward their demographics, and keeping preferences on file for future visits can go a long way toward fostering brand loyalty.
Create Opportunities to Upsell while Combatting Fraud
Disney’s Magic Bands are tracking devices that can tell employees to interact with a guest by name or event such as a birthday. Not every company has the computing power of Disney, but if you can seamlessly and reliably prove the validity of your guest’s identity and securely collect payment this creates a lot of opportunities to upsell experiences and products. Verifying identity and payment information against a database can also help reduce risk and fraud such as property damage or preventing false charges to a room.
Invest in a Seamless Experience
Looking ahead, biometric technology and identity verification will also help travel and hospitality companies build more seamless door-to-door systems, a traveler’s identity to their itinerary, baggage routing, transportation, and hotel arrangements are tracked so they can move seamlessly from point-to-point. This vision of travel is infinitely more appealing than slogging from one check-in desk to another, and starting over each time with data entry, payment, and paperwork. While these innovations may not become widely adopted for several years, companies that lay the groundwork now will be poised for competitive advantage.
By utilizing advanced identity capture and verification solutions, hotels, rental agencies, and tourist attractions can start delivering a relaxed, smooth-sailing experience as soon as customers walk in the door.