A digital user experience (UX) used to be just your website; its design, navigation, colors, performance speed, etc. Today, it is about all the technology related to your brand. For the hospitality sector, this means the website, mobile app, and all in-hotel technology. The digital UX completes the user experience, which is the user’s interaction with your organization’s service and brand. It is how they feel about your brand.
The reality of today is guests want more than consistent and good services. They want personalized, intuitive, and seamless experiences right now and at every step of their journey. Customer expectations of today are focused on high personalization, a wide range of wired and wireless services into their offerings. Disruptive technology, think of AI and mobile phones, are powering this shift in guest behaviors.
68% of travelers that were surveyed by IBM say they saw little to no noticeable difference between hotel chains. This means that your customers see no difference in you or the competitor, leading to little to no brand loyalty. Improving your digital UX design will help your enterprise gain many benefits.
10 Tips, tricks, and trends to improve your digital UX
Personalization is one of the biggest trends when it comes to bettering your digital UX. With the information you have about your customers and predictive analysis, you can influence your website visitors into converting. There are many steps to implement before optimizing personalization. Personalization will lead to more customer engagement and retention, and in the end customer loyalty.
It might seem contradictory, but standardization is an important part of optimizing your digital UX, especially regarding personalization. Personalization needs to happen over an entire hotel chain, for which you need standardization. You need to manage guest operations with principles, processes, and systems consistent from hotel to hotel.
If rapid growth is not coupled with stringent controls on the process, procedures, and systems that support that expansion, hotel chains run the risk of creating a level of complexity that their current cost structures can’t handle. Properly implemented, the combination of personalization and standardization can provide transformational results over the long term.
Listen to your customers
Most important of all, you need to know what your customers want. This takes the old-fashioned approach but still is highly important. Taking negative reviews seriously, or reaching out for feedback to your customers, can help you identify what it is that your clients really want out of the digital UX.
Identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas completely missing in what your customers desire and assess what’s needed full-time. Digital UX architects must observe the existing guest experiences versus what they really prefer.
You can get to know your customers even better when leveraging data based on WiFi technologies. Track how they move in your hotel, at what time, in what order, by tapping into your WiFi access points.
When predictive analytics are applied to individual customer preferences, a win-win scenario is created for both providers and consumers. Customers will grow to expect these innovations as a part of their regular guest experience. With the help of innovative technologies, you can now get insight into your WiFi data.
Follow the leaders
It’s not wrong to look at leaders as examples. There are multiple success stories of companies who have implemented various technologies and thereby have successfully improved their digital UX. Take a look at the Marriott, Hilton, Starbucks, Uber, or even Domino’s.
Identify with the consumer
Brands that help their customers by “being there” during the discovery and planning phases and also are helpful or useful by providing relevant content (pictures, videos, reviews, etc.) convert more than not. Furthermore, brands that modernize the journey by integrating and personalizing experiences across channels and devices and communicating at the right time, in the right way, with the right messages, will cater to the “self-interest” in today’s modern customers.
Map the digital customer journey
Gather data for each touchpoint, as well as supporting systems, processes, and strategies to review the journey as it exists today. Reconstruct the journey when you have truly listened to your customers. Document areas where you excel, identify friction points and fragmentation, and uncover areas where you are absent or lacking against expectations of modern experiences and your brand promise.
What you could even do is map customer journeys of popular modern brands outside of hospitality to gain insights into behavior, preferences, wow factors, and operations. Reverse-engineer insights and chart a course to implement them into your UX transformation roadmap.
Build an omnichannel
Blur the line between physical and digital, this means building a successful omnichannel. Omni, Latin for all, means integrating all your communication channels seamlessly. Modern brands use technology to build cross-channel engagement strategies that are connected and seamless.
Making sure you have one integrated channel where your customers can have access to information; online and offline, before, during, and after their stay.
Optimize mobile performance
According to IBM research, 70% of travelers use their smartphones to do research, and almost half of leisure travelers make their final booking decision on mobile phones. This means that your company should put focus on having an optimal performing mobile website, or even a mobile app.
Build an intelligent hotel
Through virtual interactions via a mobile app, chatbots can replace hotel staff and be a service representative just like a human at the other end. Having an intelligent hotel that surpasses customer expectations is the strategy many modern hospitality leaders and service partners conjure.
AI robots, like Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa, not only make the human involvement unnecessary with its voice-activated assistants but also smarten the way hotel guest service is delivered to customer’s satisfaction. From customer’s personal choices to their smallest needs, AI-enabled hotel concierge bots can offer quick service and careful assistance.
The hospitality industry is all about how you make your customers feel. By providing the best digital UX, you make them feel good about your brand. That feeling will result in improving conversion rates, creating a competitive advantage, and brand loyalty.