How hotels can earn guest trust and encourage data sharing

How hotels can earn guest trust and encourage data sharing

As privacy concerns surrounding data capture reach a fever pitch, consumer data—perhaps better described as the critical currency that drives personalization—is becoming a protected commodity. For a long time, brands across industries could collect and store online data without explicit disclosure of the capture and, more importantly, without first obtaining consent. This was a discreet and arguably invasive practice.

Over time, privacy and privacy concerns began to compete with consumers’ desire for a data-driven, personalized experience. The result? A widespread erosion of consumer confidence, which for customer-facing, service-based brands such as hospitality, is very bad for business.

All of this coincides with massive data privacy changes from Apple and Google, which will significantly impact channels like Facebook and mobile apps. Of course, data will continue to provide insights and personal touchpoints, but the rules of engagement have changed. Industries such as hospitality, which rely on extracting travel information to curate more relevant messages, offers, experiences and loyalty rewards, need to adjust their approach.

As we bid farewell to 2022, “Ask and you shall receive” is no longer the reigning mantra; rather, this should be replaced with “Incentives, and you shall receive.” Data is valuable, and it’s time for hotel operators to establish a two-way value exchange that encourages guests to share their information for an enhanced experience.

It’s time to turn the page on the wild west of data collection

“The data harvested from our devices, along with our trail of electronic transactions and data from other sources, now forms the foundation of some of the world’s largest companies,” Harvard Business Review shared in February of this year. “Personal data is also the source of millions of small businesses and countless startups, turning it into customer insights, market predictions and personalized digital services. Over the past two decades, commercial use of personal data has become like the Wild West. But now, due to consumer distrust , the authorities’ actions and competition for customers, these days are quickly coming to an end.”

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Simply put, hotels cannot offer a good guest experience without prioritizing data protection and transparency; one level of service (personalization) cannot come at the expense of another (privacy and consent). In 2023 and beyond, good service will be synonymous with increased data protection and transparency.

If hotels raise their efforts to meet guest expectations for customized offerings and experiences, and treat personalization as a strategic priority, they will see immediate benefits that yield long-term results. That’s why every hotel’s primary task should be to clearly demonstrate the value exchange: a personalized experience at every touch point in trading data. The good news is that tailor-made travel is exactly what guests want. Fortunately for hotels, modern loyalty programs represent an ethical and efficient way to capture guest data and establish a clear value exchange, rewarding guests for sharing their data.

The value exchange: What do you give guests in exchange for their data?

A significant shift is that consumers recognize the value of their data and are willing to share personal information in exchange for something in return. People are usually more inclined to do something when it benefits them. A 2022 Coresight Research study revealed the following:

  • 80% of consumers are willing to share personal data to obtain loyalty program benefits.
  • 70% of consumers are willing to share their data to receive special discounts and offers.
  • 71% of consumers would shop more often with brands or retailers that customize their communications.

Why should guests give up personal data without getting anything in return? Shouldn’t this interchange be a two-way street? What new experiences and services can guests expect in exchange for their data and loyalty? Win-win involves identifying the value exchange and unlocking the right data.

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Next-generation technology sets the stage for this dynamic by allowing hospitality brands to offer their guests data control and value in a seamless, scalable way. Modern loyalty platforms like Laasie look to instantly reward guests with relevant, high-value rewards when they take a desired action, such as booking directly or choosing to share their information.

In a completely transparent way, Laasie collects all relevant and appropriate data points shared by guests, and then converts this data into actionable insights hotels can leverage to intelligently guide their business strategy. In exchange, guests benefit from a more personalized experience and can choose from an open marketplace of instantly selectable rewards options across shopping, dining, activities and more.

Simply put, Lassie’s loyalty program automatically incentivizes and earns traveler consent, unlocking richer experiences, better service and high long-term loyalty. This is not just the future of hotel loyalty – this is the future of guest data capture across the industry. Ultimately, hotels will be able to unlock the true power of a dynamic, customer-centric loyalty program powered by AI and instant gratification, and as a result, build meaningful, value-driven relationships with their guests.

It may be the end of an era of easy access to guest data, but it’s only the beginning of a new era of deeper trust and engagement between guests and their favorite hotel brands.

Ellis Connolly
Revenue Officer

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