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Welcome to My Youniverse: Where Brands Customize Their Products and Make Them Younique

Every day we read stories about how hoteliers and the hospitality industry must personalize in order to capture new customers and keep existing ones loyal.

But how can brands truly understand each customer's needs, preferences and tastes? How can brands read each individual customer's mind?

For the next few minutes, let's make this article all about me. I'm going to be selfish, because I know I'm not alone: I'd really like the hotels I'm considering to know my preferences and offer me options and amenities that match my personality.

I want to welcome you to my Youniverse – my individual consumer realm, a place where my individual tastes, needs and preferences reign. I want to engage with brands that get me.

This emerging trend is one of six consumer mega-trends that are already impacting many industries, but especially hospitality. Over the coming weeks, we will bring those trends to life and provide additional insights and ideas on how hoteliers can act to meet evolving customer expectations.

Many leading brands excel at captivating customers' hearts (and wallets), and they are the brands that are acting on evolving customer expectations. How is it that Amazon knows exactly what I like, or is able to provide me personalized recommendations and targeted "Deals of the Day" that are just perfect for what I need … or what I might decide I need after I see the deal?

Personalize, Personalize, Personalize

Hoteliers need to learn about their customers and personalize to capitalize on each shopper's Youniverse. From Amazon to Stitch Fix, we are used to the concept of brands hyper-personalizing our shopping experience along with the products and services they deliver. Today's technology and business intelligence tools make it easier for your hotel brand to offer me those tailor-made experiences that I've come to expect.

So, how can you leverage the data and information you already have? Profiles, perhaps?

Profiles allow your brand to make it all about me (or the individual customer), enabling opportunities for personalization to be seamless and effortless while allowing the expression of your customers' preferences, shopping behavior and their entire experience with your brand to exceed their expectations.

Innovation Ideas

Guests are usually open to telling you what they want, which makes it easy to gather that profile information to personalize their experience. New technology enables brands to gain a subtle understanding of the customer – even revealing preferences the customer might not be fully conscious of.

|Here are some ideas to kick-start your own innovation discussions and capitalize on this emerging trends–not only to personalize the shopping journey, but fulfill those unmet needs with travel options that your guests will love.

  • Smile Suggest is a browser extension that automatically bookmarks pages that produce smiles, giving viewers the option to share them.
  • Could hoteliers personalize the booking experience to match the perfect room or packages results based on emotional responses? Bentley unveiled the Inspirator mobile app that uses facial and emotional recognition technology to generate a customized Bentley Bentayga SUV for individuals. Picture that smile on my face when I view images of sunsets from the shoreline – which, in turn, instructs your website to propose the perfect beach getaway package!
  • The BeautyU app from Covergirl allows you to try out the beauty brand's cosmetics in real-time, using your smartphone's camera.
  • We've seen how Marriott has used virtual reality to teleport" consumers to amazing destinations, giving them a taste of the exciting experiences that await them once they book. How could you let future guests take a virtual tour of your property, or help introduce them to local attractions and experiences they'll enjoy? Virtual reality technology could even add power to simple initiatives, such as personalizing the content you deliver or curating experiences guests will have at your hotel.
  • Since the Youniverse is all about me, one of the most important goals is to make even commonplace things feel special and unique. Even mass-producer Coca-Cola was able to produce a unique concept with the "IT'S MINE" campaign. By emphasizing the fact that no two bottles are alike, this familiar brand created a whole new experience for its fans.

What could your hotel do to help guests see their time on-property not just as a hotel stay, but as a meaningful, maybe even once-in-a-lifetime experience?

What's Next?

You might not be able to actually read guests' minds, but how close can you come? Can you recognize a client's true emotions or needs and shape products and experiences around them? With customer data and the right technology, now you can! And the brands that respond to customers' expressions of likes and dislikes in order to offer an outlet for their desires will win their hearts, their travel dollars and their future loyalty.

Get more ideas here on how to make each of your guests the center of their Youniverse!

(Image credit: Trendwatching)

Karla Fonseca
Content Marketing Manager
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