Tomorrow’s home away from home: Custom-fit customer experience design
It is estimated that there are, around the world, more than 13.4 Million hotel rooms available every night. And if we were to add all other properties such as Airbnb, the number would be much larger. With so many rooms available, it was only a matter of time before customer experience design was to work its magic and transform these rooms into your home away from home. Leaving the traditional hotel behind, new thinking is transforming the industry, ensuring customers will find options that are always closer to what “home” really means for them.
As a nod to our latest article on customer experience design in fashion retail, the approaches we explore today are not designed to cater to every hotel guest.
Your room, your terms!
For most of us, being away from home and our loved ones is hard enough. If we need to adapt ourselves to a standard we do not usually abide by, it just gets more uncomfortable. Cachet World is the platform which understood the burden this represents to you. This solution vendor offers dynamic packaging capabilities. In other words, guests can customise their room from the bedding to the brand of shampoo and other perks. Gone are the days when you had to use the hotel branded shampoo that somehow ruins your hairstyle rather than sublimate it.
In the age of digital and personalised service, Cachet World takes you away from the one-size-fits all hotel room, ensuring guests can model the room to their individual needs and lifestyle. Any hotel adopting such an approach to customer experience design is in an enviable position to strategically drive their performance in the Personalisation and Time & Effort Pillars of Customer Experience Excellence.
Feeling at home while being away
Whilst the above example brings your hotel room as physically close as possible to what home means, another approach consists of making you feel at home by ensuring you can keep your habits.
At Hotel Buddy, in Germany, there is no staff at all, no reception clerk, nor breakfast waiters the next day. The hotel has been designed to let customers check in within minutes, grab the key and go to the room, without the need to utter a word. This is as close from home one could get.
The room offers all the amenities one could expect from being at home: free high-speed Wi-Fi, free coffee and breakfast and for the more tech-savvy: a smart TV and a tablet. This is complemented by express check-in and out. In this specific situation, the objective of the customer experience design is unequivocal: getting as close as possible to the habits and feelings of being at home.
Whilst these models won’t disrupt the industry in its totality, there are other innovations that have a broader appeal. Replacing the key to your room is one of the hottest trends of the last few years in customer experience design. We started the move from physical keys to key cards in the 1980s, our decade is focusing on eliminating the key altogether: some integrate it to your Smartphone, like Hilton with their HHonors App, others replace it with some wearables, such as PDC’s Smart Band® with a wristband (or a smartwatch for others). Similarly to the ATM for banks, the hotel key card is meeting an increasing number of alternatives to replaced it as the industry’s standard.
These CX efforts have wide-ranging applications and should inspire many on how experiences could be redesigned – including through the removal of a journey stage altogether.
Take this inspiration home, consider how to apply it in your industry and sleep on it. As the saying goes, the night brings counsel.