“…Like other luxury hotels, the Peninsula collects a cache of information about its customers, which is stored in a guest-preference database. But it’s done with only one purpose: to upgrade the experience. It contains information about your favorite food, your preferred room and what side of the bed you sleep on…Experts will tell you it’s unfair to compare a hotel with a few hundred guests with a chain with tens of thousands. Maybe, maybe not. La Quinta Inn & Suites recently used a feedback-management platform to harvest information through social media and surveys to determine what guests thought of its breakfasts, which are included in the price of their stay…”
Airlines, car rental companies and hotels ought to spy on their customers more often. Collecting information about you to improve customer service — and only for that purpose — could return the American travel business to greatness.
That’s no coincidence, says Offer Nissenbaum, managing director of the Peninsula Beverly Hills. “If you collect all the little details,” says Nissenbaum, “you can meet and exceed a guest’s expectations.”
Actually, figuring out which side of the bed you sleep on seems to be one of the hottest data points in the hotel business. The Ritz-Carlton, which also delivers above-and-beyond service, notes your preferred side, says spokeswoman Allison Sitch. Why? Because that’s where the staff will place a water bottle and other amenities, which means a lot when you roll out of bed in the morning.
The volume of data being collected by luxury hotel chains such as Ritz-Carlton or Peninsula might make an NSA agent blush. But the hotels gather it unapologetically, “as long as the data is being used to make the customer happy,” says Sitch.
The insights were sent directly to front-line employees and managers for their feedback. La Quinta responded by adding signs and more prominently displaying the healthy foods they already offered, and customer approval rose.