The synergy between digitalisation and personalised travel  

by | May 22, 2024

Personalisation remains one of the strongest strategies within travel and tourism, especially as international tourism reaches pre-pandemic levels. Per the first UNWTO World Tourism Barometer of 2024, international tourism ended 2023 at 88% of pre-pandemic levels and is expecting a full recovery by the end of the year.

With this growth, many businesses understand the importance of personalisation, especially as tourists from around the world travel with heightened and diversified expectations. Many senior leaders see offering customers an excellent personal experience as key to market success.

How is digitalisation helping personalised travel experiences?

Digitalisation is helping businesses create an ecosystem of interconnected travel-related services. A recent study by McKinsey reveals that the personalisation does not end when a guest arrives at a hotel but continues to expand into other related services, such as the restaurants, clubs or spas they visit.

Here are five significant ways digitalisation allows brands to create that interconnected system of personalised experiences.

1. Guest profile management

Digital solutions provide a centralised hub for storing guest data, helping businesses maintain updated and comprehensive guest profiles. These contain data such as preferences, previous stays, and special requests such as dietary restrictions, enabling hotels and service providers to understand what guests need and forecast future buying trends. Real-time updates and access to guest profiles ensure the staff can provide personalised services at every touchpoint. Guest data also enbale hoteliers to understand how the industry grows and the demand changes with season, time of the day and even how expectations change with the generational shifts. As a result, hotels can have a deeper understanding of the needs of their target audiences and optimise their offerings accordingly. Tailored experiences and personalised services add a new dimension to hospitality services, leading to higher guest satisfaction and fostering loyalty and positive reviews.

2. Reservation customisation

Reservation customisation helps hoteliers to create personalised booking experiences, including room preferences, special requests, and loyalty program integrations. This level of personalisation goes beyond basic reservation information and caters to the individual tastes and needs of the guest, from bed preferences, room locations and room views to in-room tech configurations. Guests can specify their preferences during the booking process, ensuring that their accommodation aligns perfectly with their expectations. Digital ERP solutions facilitate seamless reservation customisation, allowing guests to communicate special requests, dietary preferences, and other personalised requirements which will then be saved for the hotel to access. This attention to detail sets the stage for a more memorable and enjoyable stay, allowing hotels to be prepared for the guests before their arrival.

3. Enhanced loyalty programs

By integrating loyalty program details into the reservation process, hotels can also take reservations to another level. Recognising loyal guests based on their purchase patterns and histories enables the system to plan personalised loyalty packages; this can include personalised messages, exclusive offers, or loyalty points. By appropriately acknowledging and rewarding these loyal guests, hotels can foster a sense of appreciation among customers. Loyalty program data also enables hotels to implement dynamic pricing strategies, such as adjusting room rates based on loyalty status, purchase history, and demand fluctuations. For instance, this may include personalised discounts, packages, or upgrades based on the guest’s loyalty status. Not only will this maximise revenue potential for the hotel, but it will also create a more enticing and rewarding experience for the guest.

4. Tailored packages and add-ons

Add-ons, packages, and ancillary products/ services relevant to guests add value to their stay. To hyper-personalise the experience, hotels need to curate packages and additional products that meet the preferences of each of the guest segments. For instance, a family travelling with young children will prefer having options like babysitting or activities curated for kids. Conversely, a travelling couple is more likely to appreciate a romantic dinner and related products such as wines or chocolates that complement their dinner. A property’s PMS can provide flexible rates and package management tools to record, identify and meet these needs. Integrated reservation solutions, POS systems and CRM solutions allow hotels to record guest data and set up discounts and package add-ons for specific customers.

5. Building a personalised messaging strategy

Integrating hotel ERP software with hospitality CRM and hotel websites makes it possible for hotels to retrieve guest behaviour data and create tailored messages across multiple channels. Personalised communication that meets individual preferences is vital when building long-term loyalty and engaging with guests post-stay. Modern PMS and CRM systems make sending personalised pre- and post-stay emails effortless. By setting up email templates that provide reservation information, personalised emails can be automatically triggered by stay or booking dates and other parameters. Personalisation on websites, social media channels, SMS and WhatsApp messaging can further enhance the tailored user experience and drive engagement. A messaging strategy optimised based on the booking behaviour, travel purpose, and feedback allows hotels to send relevant offers and recommendations that match each guest’s profile and interests, consequently, showing the guests that the property or brand values their feedback and understand their needs.

Digitalisation and personalisation redefine the benchmarks for hospitality

Digital solutions have become the backbone for many travel service providers, including hotels, restaurants, wellness centres and clubs. The ability to collect and synchronise data regarding these multiple operations empowers businesses to store and analyse vast amounts of data, which is then utilised to create detailed guest profiles, enabling establishments to anticipate and fulfil individual guest needs.

However, the convergence of smart technology and hospitality operations does not come without challenges. While technology enhances employee capabilities and redefines hospitality operations, it also leaves key areas to consider.


Reeves Mathews | IDS NEXT


Reeves Mathews

Vice President - Global Customer Success

Reeves heads our global customer success operations, managing a team of over 100 professionals, with a mission to ensure top customer satisfaction and loyalty. He is responsible for customer engagement, technical support and key account management.