This is the 4th and final article of the series where we’ve approached how Augmented Reality (AR) can be applied to the Hotel Business. Hotels can definitely create new and value-added services working before, during and after the guest’s stay.
In the previous article, we discussed how AR can be used to engage guests during their stay, creating a whole new way to interact with them and add value to the experiences – both the ones lived inside the Hotel as the ones at the destination itself. In case you missed it, give it a look here.

On the last article of this series we’ll see how AR helps Hotels keep in touch with their guests after they leave and how this can be leveraged to increase loyalty and keep guests coming back for more.

There is a distinct difference between a guest who has enrolled in a loyalty program and one who makes regular, truly loyal use of the brand because of its value. For most customers, only one brand really “wins” and the prize is a dedicated relationship that delivers revenue in the long term. The journey past that behavioral tipping point is part science, part emotion. AR is great way to connect with this emotional aspect by delivering new and different experiences.

Consumers can easily skip, mute or block ads but living an experience is a decision. Keeping a Hotel app, instead of deleting it on the way back to the airport just to keep getting access to AR experiences is a huge loyalty push. It gives Hotels the chance to maintain a direct communication channel with their guests and keeps them engaged with the Hotel and its brand.

The more time guests spend using the app after they leave their room the better the chance of building a relationship with the brand and generating guest loyalty.

Loyalty programs encourage guests to shift from a “one-time only” decision making to a more dynamic (and consistent) decision making. This increases repeat purchases and the connection to a brand. Hotels can upgrade their guests’ loyalty programs by offering exclusive AR experiences and content, designing tailor-made components in each experience in order to offer a truly personalized marketing medium.

This can be as simple as introducing the guests name somewhere in the experience or as extensive as changing an entire printed ad. For example, when viewed through the Hotel’s AR app, a standard printed ad on a magazine can be completely transformed to display the guests name, previous stays information, his preferences and suggest a new destination within the Hotel’s portfolio. If the guest used the app during his last trip, photos and videos of his last experiences can also be added to make the ad “come alive”.

Building this kind of tailor-made experiences allows Hotels to constantly “wink” at their guests, letting them know how important they are while pushing different offers, hotels and destinations.

Plenty of hotel brands use the concept of home and comfort in their marketing. When it comes to loyalty programs, it’s important to remember that home is more than a physical location. It’s a sense of unquestioned belonging. AR can very useful in blurring the lines between a guest’s home and the Hotel, allowing him to relive and revisit the experiences and sites that made them feel so welcomed in their last trip.

Guests feel that they belong, that they have a “home” brand, when that brand succeeds in carrying them over the tipping point from serial transactions to a sustained emotional relationship. This continuous relationship between Hotel and guest through AR can also be leveraged during special holidays or dates. Having a virtual representation of the Hotel Manager or even that especially nice receptionist from the guest’s previous stay welcoming the guest back home, wishing a merry Christmas or handing them a virtual cake on their birthday are all simple AR experiences that can make a real impact.

Although people are known as the best asset a Hotel can have, sometimes special features or art pieces make a huge impression on guests. AR gives the opportunity to transport these physical objects back to the guest’s home. Really liked that one paint the Hotel had in the lobby? Why not bring it to your own living room and even order a copy in-app?

Food is often also one of the key memorable aspects of a Hotel stay. Allowing guests to view a 3D virtual rendering of the Michelin Star dishes right on their dining room table can create a powerful “throwback” experience and a spur an impromptu return trip.

High-frequency travelers participate in multiple Hotel loyalty programs, waiting to see what generates the most value before focusing on one. AR can help Hotels give these travelers a “gentle nudge” past this tipping point, making guests go out of their way to build equity with their brand of preference. As Millennials become a more dominant spending segment, it will be especially important for hotel companies and brands to understand their purchasing and loyalty behavior.

The rise of AR in our everyday use means more and more consumers will get accustomed to the technology and start to expect it in their daily lives and in their travels. It’s up to the Hotel companies and brands to start making AR a part of their experience in order to keep up and meet their guests’ expectations.

These are just some examples, to find out more about what AR can bring to the Hotel Business and Hospitality join in the conversation at Augmented Reality in Hospitality.

For any additional information, feel free to contact me directly or visit us at IT People Group.