There have been major disruptions in the hospitality industry in the past decade. The rise of online travel agents (OTA’s) in the early 2000’s, made it an imperative to have an online presence to survive.  Most recently, Airbnb has allowed consumers to affordably rent rooms, houses, condos, or apartments owned by other consumers, which has caused unexpected and disruptive competition for hotels.

Hotel marketing managers have been scrambling to respond effectively to this most recent disruption as the popularity of businesses like Airbnb rise (Click to Tweet).  A popular solution in the industry currently, is creating shareable experiences and content to increase engagement and interaction with consumers.  

This decision is based on the idea that creating positive and memorable guest experiences that can be continued through interactions online and through social platforms are drivers for consumers today.  However, achieving this is more difficult than the theory suggests.

Access to large data sets makes creating these experiences possible, yet the ability to manage and maintain your infrastructure to match and meet the new expectations of guests can often be difficult.  

Ultimately, the success of any business in the hospitality industry is a combination of accurate interpretations of information and swift operational efficiency.  Mastery of these two will allow you to predict and respond to your consumer’s needs effectively and efficiently.

Difficulty in Differentiating?

For established businesses, it can sometimes be difficult to respond to changes like this, but the key to success isn’t in doing what has worked, it is understanding your consumers and how to reach them. 

An intelligent way to be more efficient with understanding your consumers is to first realize that people don’t believe advertisements anymore.  According to a study shared by Hubspot, 76% of people believe that ads are somewhat exaggerated.  Furthermore there was an additional study shared by Mashable which showed that 96% of businesses thought that consumers believed what their advertisements said at least “most of the time.”  

Looking at these numbers, there is a rather large disparity between what consumers believe about advertisements and how businesses believe consumers interact with their advertisements.  This information is not being used to dissuade you from advertising, rather it is a call to advertise and operate with greater efficiency.

Why Companies Like Airbnb Draw Millennials

Consumer trust in companies and people in general is at an all-time low, and this likely has stemmed from our distrust from modern advertising (Click to Tweet).

Washing_Post_Graph

The chart above is from a Washington Post article that highlights how trust in people has eroded over the past forty years.  The article goes on to say that consumers don’t trust companies, but that they trust reviews from people about businesses, especially if the reviewers can be confirmed as people instead of a business trying to be sneaky about increasing their credibility.

With this, we begin to see how Millennials qualify a trustworthy business.  The most accurate example to describe this sense of distrust is to understand the difference between a “review” and a “testimonial,” which consumers today can spot almost instantly.  

We’ve all seen businesses highlight testimonials from people that have had a great experiences with their services or products, but there is no way to be sure if those people were paid actors or not.  Reviews allow us to research the people that have opinions (good or bad) about experiences they’ve had with a company, and that is what consumers are after.

Since nearly any advertisement or testimonial that a business would create is no longer trusted, interacting personally with your consumers as individuals is the most effective way to create an experience that they will write reviews about.  

There are several effective methods to achieve this: actively pursuing efforts that emphasize how each guest is cared for individually, creating unique experiences available to all guests, adding value to every interaction with hospitality staff, and creating relatable content that is available for guests to interact with.

Similarly, this same technique of improving efficiency in your customer service standards should be equally reflected in your supply chain management.  Furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) are crucial elements to a guest’s stay, and need to share the same level of sophistication in their connectivity, maintenance, and function (Click to Tweet).  

What Content Does for You

Surely you’ve heard the phrase before, “Content is King.”  It has been a buzz-phrase for some time now, yet its validity and relevance can’t be denied.  If you are not creating content that people can read/research, your business will suffer.  A study shows that 81% of people research a product or service online prior to making a purchase.  By that rationale, if your content is not easy to understand or interact with, you will lose business.  

Additionally, Millennials aren’t shy about sharing their opinions on social media, especially if your content is poor, they have a bad experience, or they don’t agree with your business model.  Just look at what happened to Delta Airlines and their infamous giraffe tweet during the 2014 World Cup.

Content allows customers to make their decisions about how legitimate or illegitimate a company is independent of advertisements or testimonials, which is what they want.  An impressive statistic that should be heeded, is that Millennials are 247% more likely to be influenced (positively or negatively) by personal content, like blogs or social networking sites, that are shared by businesses.

Why Hospitality Logistics Companies Are Relevant

A business in the hospitality industry that partners with a hospitality logistics company to manage their supply chain logistics can expect assistance in creating a better overall experiences to consumers.  This can be done by improving efficiency in installation, maintenance, and replacement of FF&E and OS&E.  

Furthermore, important information and data can be gathered by logistics companies.  FF&E that is equipped with the internet of things (IOT) can provide insights and greater efficiency to how each guest experience can be improved.  Basic information that guests share about themselves can be incredibly valuable to provide a deeper level of customer service that reminds them that your business actually cares and remembers them and what their preferences are.

Conclusion

As technology improves, there will continue to be disruptions and improvements to the way that the hospitality industry operates, but the fact that consumers desire more content as opposed to more advertising and testimonials will only gain momentum.  Businesses in the hospitality sector cannot afford to ignore this any longer, and need to utilize big data, 3PL companies, and the internet to win and maintain new customers.

 

Axis Worldwide offers a wide spectrum of “Industrial & Hospitality” supply chain logistics/managed freight services for Fortune 500 companies. Our expertise, experience, and buying power allows us to offer the best transportation rates and frequent transit times within the US, Canada, Mexico, Asia and Europe. Through our licensed, US bonded facility in Southern California and other facilities, we provide warehouse and distribution solutions to our clients. Our freight services include air freight, both domestic and international, ocean import/export, less than truckloadfull truckload, and emergency ground expedites. We also provide emergency air freight services 24/7.