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Travel & Hospitality

4 Ways Travel Brands Can Use Location Data to Deliver Out of This World Experiences

Nick Zettler
VP of Business Development
Tyler Convey
Product Marketing Manager

It’s no secret that there’s a huge amount of location data being generated every second, but today most travel and hospitality brands aren’t taking advantage of it in any meaningful way. That’s a shame, because there’s a huge opportunity here to use that data to drive enhanced personalization and deliver guest experiences that really make their brand stand out.

People want personalization - in many ways, it’s the key to a great mobile experience - yet, only 22% of loyalty program members say they’re satisfied with the level of personalization they receive. It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, brands that continue to ignore the role of location data do so at their own risk - according to BCG, companies that lead the way in investing in location-based technology drive up to 1.4x higher revenue and 2x higher customer loyalty.

Travel companies can build next-level guest experiences through their app with location technologies such as geofencing and beacons. These technologies let companies know exactly where their customers are in real-time, so apps can better respond to their needs and deliver contextual digital experiences that go above and beyond what’s possible through limited in-person interactions.

Let’s jump in and take a look at a few examples of how this powerful technology can transform nearly every aspect of a guest’s on-premise experience - whether they’re at an all-inclusive resort with their families, traveling for business, or catching a game with friends.

Delighting guests with location-based mobile check-in

Picture yourself having just landed at the Las Vegas Airport. You’re still in your seat as the plane taxis to the gate, and you just got the go-ahead from the flight crew to use your phone. As soon as you turn it on, you receive a push notification from your hotel welcoming you to Las Vegas and offering you a chance to skip the line and check in on the app. Who wouldn’t want that? Speaking from personal experience, there’s nothing quite as frustrating as landing in Vegas, taking a cab to the resort, and standing in line for 45 minutes just to check in. Companies like MGM Resorts are already embracing mobile check-in — with upwards of 40% of their Las Vegas guests checking in through the MGM Resorts app — but this doesn’t even take into account the ability to add a location-based component to the experience. So, when it comes to facilitating the arrival and check-in process, we’re really just scratching the surface of what’s possible from the customer experience perspective.

Reimagining on-site guest services

In July Hilton announced they will no longer offer daily housekeeping at their properties, which makes them the first of the big brands to make this COVID-era policy a permanent change. If this trend continues in the coming months, hospitality brands will need to seriously rethink a wide range of on-site guest services. The challenge is delivering quality service while navigating changing consumer expectations and preferences as well as a tight labor market that makes it difficult to deliver pre-COVID levels of service at scale. Imagine this: you’re on your first family vacation since 2019 (with three kids), and housekeeping is no longer an everyday occurrence. What if when you left your suite and headed down the hall towards the elevator, you received a push notification proactively asking you if you want the hotel to take care of the housekeeping while you’re gone? Beacons make this level of personalized, proactive service feasible, and we think this type of digital innovation is primed to play a major role in the way that hotels and resorts operate moving forward.

Driving incremental revenue with personalized, contextually-aware suggestions

All-inclusive resorts, cruises, and private clubs all have one thing in common: a captive audience. By their very nature, these leisure destinations capture a disproportionately high share of a visitor’s budget, and location-aware applications provide a huge opportunity to deliver personalized, highly relevant suggestions geared at driving incremental revenue opportunities—think experiences, shows, meals, spa treatments etc. It’s not uncommon for travelers to arrive at a resort before their room is ready. Imagine after dropping your bags at reception, you receive a notification for 20% off a spa service while you wait for your room. Not only do you get to start your stay off with a dose of pampering and relaxation, the resort secures incremental revenue.

Powering engagement with event-specific triggers

There are also event and location-specific offers that can be triggered through physical proximity to a specific venue. For example, mobile betting tied to a specific sporting event. Think about walking into a venue and getting a push notification from your mobile sportsbook app with offers for boosted, in-game bets that are relevant to that specific event (and only available in-person). Gambling is just one example, but any venue with an app—a theme park, museum, movie theater, concert venue, etc.—can take advantage of this technology to help build unique offerings for app users that are tied to a specific time and place.

Location technology is at the core of each of these next-level guest experiences and will play an increasingly important role in how travel and hospitality companies think about blending the physical and digital guest experience through mobile apps in the years to come. It’s also why WillowTree is so excited about our partnership with Radar, the leading geofencing platform. Together WillowTree and Radar can help your brand unlock the potential of geolocation data and deliver truly differentiated guest experiences.

If you’re interested in learning more about what’s possible with this type of technology, we’d love to talk. Feel free to connect with us personally on LinkedIn and reach out to the Radar or WillowTree team to start the conversation!

Nick Zettler
VP of Business Development
Tyler Convey
Product Marketing Manager

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