When it comes to luxury venues, there’s no better way to please guests than with personalized perks. Ana Brant, the director of global guest experience and innovation for the Dorchester Collection in London, dove into the “Algorithm of What Luxury Customers Really Want,” and pointed out the challenge with after-the-fact feedback. “As the luxury segment depends upon anticipating, and then exceeding customer expectations, this is a problem. In the absence of a more nuanced understanding of customer feedback, the data we collect today is driving the industry toward standardized service, and standardization turns luxury into a commodity – the very opposite of what luxury customers want,” she writes.
Feedback is being pulled by Metis, a “curated, big data analytics aide-de-camp” Siri-like software tool with a British accent, which was created by Kyle and David Richey. In March 2016, Metis presented her findings to 30 Dorchester Collection leaders. She based her analysis on millions of words from online conversations.
Perhaps some of the most surprising findings were that a third of guest reviews mentioned breakfast, which is a feature that the hotel may have overlooked and underused. In the Hotel Bel-Air in L.A., data found that the majority of reviews raved about its “secluded” outdoor spaces, including patios and terraces, along with the wood-burning fireplaces – the only in L.A. Metis also noted that its website wasn’t featuring those favorites as much as they should be, another surprise to the group.
Brant adds, “It’s not what the data tells you; it’s what you do with what the data is telling you that makes the difference. Can you resist the temptation to standardize, and use the data to uncover what makes your business unique?”
In her conclusion, she urges hotels to use big data to uncover what guests really want, instead of making assumptions. This practice applies to all levels of customers, who are often upfront about what they’re looking for. The key to unraveling millions of words in reviews is finding patterns and trends that point out what your property can do better. When we think about feedback, being reactive is now a thing of the past. Modern technology allows us to aggregate client feedback are saying so that we can create a more personalized, thoughtful, and satisfying experience throughout their entire stay.