BIG DATA – SMALL DATA - LOST DATA Why “PERSONALIZATION” can’t give you the “EXPERIENCE”
Personalization – a word used by hospitality managers almost as often as experience means nothing else then computerized evaluation of our personal information and behaviour to sell more, better and more focused. Nobody is interested in you as a person – you as a paying customer – that’s what the computer wants. Ask a Manager once about the meaning of personalization – I am sure the answers would make a great youtube hit.
We were always using personal data of our guests. The only successful way I can recall up to today was the great Maitre’D, the caring Concierge and the good Hotel Director who knew their guests. In the past some introduced ledgers to note the info down and nobody read them. Now we let computer do the job and only a fraction is used and some are miss - used. I agree that it makes sense to evaluate data for revenue management and all other technical data that once evaluated and processed can be used by computers. Problem is that the computer still can’t use the human well. The human is the weak point here.
Car is gone?
In a resort I recently stayed with my wife the young man at the front desk checked us in and ask how we arrived. By car? Yes by car we said and he got his computer to print us a parking pass for the underground garage. Very nice. We parked the car there. The next day when we checked out and settled the bill the young man – same like the day before – ask if he should call us a taxi? Now I don’t expect him to remember that we came by car but his computer – printing the ticket – should have reminded him. Call us a taxi? Why? Car got stolen? Garage burned down?
Repeat guest - repeat questions
In another small 5* star resort in Germany that we frequently visited over the last five years I always – every time - get confronted with the nicely ask question how we heard about the hotel? They must have records – they only have 30 rooms. They just don’t know where. Personalized service only means that they send me advertising non stop. They do! The computer knows more about me! He just doesn’t tell the staff.
Still some work to do I believe. Maybe we just try to keep and take care of long staying staff that enjoys remembering guests until we get the machines to work ?
Author: Stephan Busch earned his Master Certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University, USA and is Academic Director at the State University for the Humanities Moscow RGGU, Faculty of Tourism & Hospitality.
Stephan Busch has an invaluable and diverse experience in launching operations, business development and service training- for hotel and cruise companies in Asia, Europe, Canada and Russia.