In the digital era, there are some key opportunities for tourism brands to build relationships in an efficient way that are based on so called “moments of truth”. This means that for hotels in particular, guest loyalty needs to be won in the future by making use of global, local and personalised experiences. Although loyalty with regards to staying in hotels is not something new but with traveller behaviour changing and an increase in international travellers from emerging countries, personalised brand experiences are the way forward. Especially for emerging markets, these personalised experiences are particularly important also with regards to resonating with local culture. Expectations and experiences are changing through the help of digital technologies which impacts on the way in which hotels are building trust and aiming for loyalty (Hotelmarketing 2014).
Over the last couple of years, a lot has changed especially through the use of digital technologies. Travellers around the world have different expectations towards guest experiences when staying in a hotel. These are much more based on technology enabled personalisation. Hotel brands that operate on a global level will be able to deliver an all round local and personalised experience as a trusted brand. This in turn, is needed to actually build this level of trust, extend this trust as a foundation to build long-term relationships with travellers now and in the future.
NEW KINSHIP ECONOMY
In 2013, IHG revealed the concept of “The new Kinship Economy” meaning that the hotel chain performs a transition between brand experiences towards brand relationships with travellers. IHG aims to understand what it is that makes travellers trust hotel brands and that enables them to build relationships between hotel brands and travellers worldwide. This move from being local and global towards also including personal aspects is very much necessary. For IHG it is clear that the only way to win in the very competitive hotel market on a global basis is to strengthen personalised experiences enabled through digital technologies.
TRUST BUILDING ACTIONS
There are a number of actions that hotel brands need to take in order to actually build trust and that will enable them to deliver the 3D experience consisting of local, global and personalised experiences. Being consistent is a very important factor which makes it possible for global brands to outperform local brands. Delivering an authentic local customisation is also essential. IHG aims to also create a tailored consumption along with supporting technology enhanced services. Personal relevance and the use of surprise and delight are also big parts of delivering an overall 3D guest experience in any hotel. This is a concept that should not only be carried out by hotels but also by businesses worldwide as it really makes use of the opportunities of digital technologies.
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