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Posted by JP Gownder on July 28, 2014
The Wall Street Journal published an interesting article on Hilton’s plans to invest $550 million in technology solutions that will empower guests to use “smartphones to choose rooms, check in and even unlock doors.” From the customer’s perspective, such a system – if implemented properly – solves a number of problems: Ensuring the best available room choice (as with airline seat choosing apps); no more waiting in line just to check-in; no more lost (or demagnetized) hotel room key cards.
From Hilton’s perspective, the business benefits could be substantial: Driving loyalty and active preference for Hilton hotels; better customer satisfaction and customer experience scores; and up-sell to more services. For example, at check-in, promotions for room upgrades can be presented right on the user’s smartphone, potentially increasing the chance of acceptance.
Disney's MagicBand: A $1 Billion Technology Investment In Customer Experience
Yet it’s not just Hilton – nor just smartphones – at play here. Starwood is rolling out similar functionality in its apps for W Hotels and aloft. Other mobile solutions employ wearable technologies in “B2B2C” scenarios – i.e. instances in which the company provides the wearable tech to customers:
All of these benefits – to customers, to the business – require close collaboration between infrastructure and operations professionals (who must choose and implement the platforms, systems, and designs of these technologies) and business professionals (who are setting the overall strategy and delving deep into customer journey and needs). For more insights into how you can design customer loyalty programs using mobile (and other) technologies, please see my report Using Technology To Drive In-Store Engagement.
J. P. Gownder is a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research serving Infrastructure & Operations Professionals. Follow him on Twitter at @jgownder
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