Posted: June 18, 2015

How much do hotels know about you?
Find out more on how hotels are changing the way they personally cater to your interests.

One of the perks of becoming a loyal customer for any hotel chain is that they generally know how to treat you well during your stay. This can be due to a variety of factors, ranging from feedback you've provided them to saving various accommodations you've requested in their databases. However, with constant improvements in technology and expansions in marketing areas such as social media, hotels are starting to gain better insight into who their guests are before they even stay there. So how much information do most of these higher-end hotels and chain resorts already have on you? Take a look at a few of the ways lodging companies are incorporating and measuring guest data to enhance customer satisfaction:

More hotels utilizing guest data

Today's goal within the hospitality industry is shifting toward creating a more customizable experience for guests. Although this concept of gathering more information on the habits and preferences of customers is nothing new, it's evolving into more of a digital and marketing approach rather than recording notes of your penchants during your stay. Instead of keeping track of what types of movies you ordered or what you usually pick out from the room service menu, hotels are beginning to patrol the realms of the Internet, scrounging through travelers' social media posts and site reviews to gauge exactly what would make their stay a better experience.

Hotels are pooling all of guests' social media uses to better cater to their lodging experience. Hotels are pooling all of guests' social media uses to better cater their lodging experiences.

While the intentions of these forms of "research" are supposed to create more accommodations catering to guests, much of the results are in the eye of the beholder in relation to effectiveness. For example, a representative for a hotel can do a quick Google search of a first-time guest to assess what kinds of needs or priorities this person has. While some believe that this will allow for a smoother stay, others are beginning to suspect these tactics are subtle forms of privacy invasion.

Convenience or creepy?

As previously mentioned, hotels are starting to go to greater lengths to retrieve guest data, even using other companies as information-pooling resources. There are specific types of software hotels use that set out to track incoming guests online by monitoring their hobbies or interests. Newmarket HRM (Hospitality Relationship Management) is one such service that provides hotels with full reports that cover a variety of social information based on Internet usage of potential guests. As CNN reports, one of the bigger hotels to start utilizing these types of companies was The Surrey in New York City, which used Newmarket HRM, then known as Libra OnDemand, to search through guests' Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus profiles to fish for knowledge about who they are and how they can better cater to their personal hotel experience. This can result in everything from front desk clerks asking how your specific job is going to possibly even knowing the name of your pet.

"Hotels specifically check Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus profiles."

Customizing customer experience 

While the thought that hotels are patrolling the Internet in a constant pursuit of better understanding who you are may sound a tad over-the-top, the entire purpose of these processes is to provide further assistance and meet your specific needs. Let's say you had a bad experience the last time you stayed a respected hotel, and decided to write a negative review on the Internet. These tracking softwares aim to alert the hotel when a previous customer endured a negative experience, which then can result in the company reaching out to you personally to see if there's a way to solve the problem. Or if reports have indicated that a guest is actively involved in a specific type of entertainment, hotels may send mobile alerts to the person informing them of a concert or event near where they're staying.

Niki Leondakis, CEO of Commune Hotels & Resorts, talked to CNN about why she feels this active pursuit of gaining information about guests results in better customer satisfaction in the end.

"Hotels have trained their staff to be intense listeners and mine information about their guests. This gives them a whole new realm in which to listen," Leondakis told CNN. "A guest's Twitter feed can provide information that they aren't even telling you—and then you can really surprise them."

While this method of seeking out guest data is still in its infancy, one can only assume the continuous evolution of technological services will only enhance hotels' researching abilities. So far, there has seemed to be little opposition to these strategies, and only time will tell whether these tactics continue to be successful.  

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