BlogHow Hospitality and Entertainment Brands Can Future-Proof the Guest Experience

How Hospitality and Entertainment Brands Can Future-Proof the Guest Experience

By Eric Smuda, XI Strategist

Last week, I led a roundtable discussion at the Future Guest Experience 2019 conference, where I had a chance to chat with executives and CX experts who are searching for ways to future-proof their guest experiences.

One of the biggest challenges that I’ve seen businesses face today is creating experiences that are both consistent and memorable. The truth is that it’s no longer enough to provide an experience that is solely consistent or memorable; the former lacks novelty, while the latter lacks, well, consistency. At the same time, companies must also strive to provide these experiences today and in the future—essentially “future-proofing” their brand against issues that guests might experience with it.

Fortunately, there’s a path to providing better guest experience, and it begins with considering what guests are truly after (it’s much more than a purchase) and leveraging the right strategies that can help you improve the guest experience today and redesign it for tomorrow.

Here are a few strategies to get you started:

Improving Experiences Today

In today’s experience economy, it’s no longer enough for a business to merely provide products. Guests seek much more than a transaction; they’re after an emotional connection that creates a memorable experience.

Consider a guest who meets with their friends regularly at a restaurant; eventually, their experience transcends ordering an appetizer and becomes fond memories of dinnertime conversation. Unfortunately, typical survey approaches cannot capture the emotion that makes these experiences memorable.

Just so we’re clear, questions that offer guests a zero-to-ten scale to define their satisfaction aren’t going to properly reflect those guests’ true feelings. The best way to capture a guest’s experience is to let them describe it in their own terms. 

In my experience, providing surveys with open-ended questions, reading comments and analyzing the common themes therein are an effective means of identifying today’s drawbacks and successes. Using this method, businesses can pinpoint where they might be coming up short and—thanks to that aforementioned feedback—create plans that result in transformative change and consistent, memorable experiences.

Redesigning for Tomorrow

Companies that leverage CX technology to staunch today’s problems are well-positioned to keep them from popping back up tomorrow. The only way to truly future-proof an experience, though, is to stay proactive. 

Future proofing starts with combining guest and loyalty data. Companies that can accomplish this will achieve an unparalleled view of the brand experience that their guests are having. That’s what future-proofing is really about: capturing guest data and preferences at the point of contact, then using that information to design new, more personalized experiences.

Numerous companies are taking advantage of future-proofing. For example, several retailers have begun combining facial recognition technology with CRM data; this information is then forwarded to frontline employees to ensure a more personalized experience.

What You Need to Future-Proof Tomorrow—Now

I’ve seen companies that take the time and effort to use unstructured guest feedback capabilities reap sizable benefits. At the same time, it is important to remember that the intelligence you receive from your guest experience efforts is only effective if you act on it.

That proactivity shouldn’t be limited to guest experience, either. Companies that can combine CX data with the right hiring, onboarding, and training processes to deliver a better employee experience will be best-positioned to future-proof their experiences. The more of these pieces that businesses have in place, the better off their future-proofing will be.

Of course, all of this is easier said than done. Even the most CX-savvy companies may find it challenging to isolate their brand’s signal from the noise and balance short-term fixes with long-term improvements. InMoment’s customizable guest experience platform and inveterate consultants make it an ideal place to start for any company considering future-proofing. 

If you’re ready to take the next step toward improving your guest experience today and creating memorable experiences tomorrow, reach out and schedule a demo today to see how the InMoment platform can work for you!

Eric Smuda has built a distinguished career out of turning venerable brands into CX powerhouses. His novel, impassioned approach to customer experience implementation changed the face of the rental car industry, in which he found award-winning ways to connect customers and companies. It’s only fitting, then, that Eric serves as a Principal of CX Strategy & Enablement at InMoment, lending his seasoned perspective to many of the company’s strategies.

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