262“The passive consumer of analog media has rapidly evolved into an active creator of content moving across multiple digital media channels.” (Baker, 2010)
The emerging technologies epitomize the consumer lifestyles. Additionally, it also points towards increased internet activity and social media usage through integrated media apps through mobile devices.
The consumer is usually at the epicenter of the convergence trend, and more often than not, consumer leads the technology adoption curve, while a hotel enterprise is forced to play catch up in order to pursue customers in the domain of consumer engagement. According to Adam Cahill, EVP co-media director, responsible for digital strategy and media across all Hill Holliday clients, “it boils down to three key consumer behavior changes… (they are) more mobile, (do) more simultaneous consumption, and (they are) more social.”
According to a white paper from Mindtree titled Mindtreedigital: Insights into consumer engagement in hospitality, there are two major forces that have influenced the growth of digital technology in the hospitality industry today. (A) Increasing importance of the social media as a way of life, (B) use of social media as a platform for interaction with each other and with brands, products, and services, and (C) growing adoption of technology devices for interaction with an enterprise viz. the hotels.
Additionally, “adoption of technology” has altered both the operational and the philosophical aspect of how any hotel enterprise looks at customer engagement.
Therefore, a new class of technology is evolving termed as customer engagement technologies (CETs). According to Customer engagement technology study: 2013 , “CETs can be defined as technologies and/or applications which are utilized to create deeper, more meaningful connections between a company and its customers to enhance the overall quality of their experiences, drive customer loyalty, and ultimately lead to increased sales and profitability.”
Emerging insights are now pointing toward trends that fuel merger of consumer technologies, mobile and convergence technology and the social media – for creating opportunities and expectations for enhancing guest services and guest expectations in hospitality industry. Then they are brands that are scaling up the social competencies of their websites, 263in order to bond with their customer. Additionally they synchronize their strategies to achieve deeper customer engagements.
The industry has started to use new technologies (also known as “funware”) and the power of social networking.
An example of a new strategy is the new buzz word “Gamification,” it is the new concept on the block. It offers a powerful marketing strategy to hospitality companies for little or no cost. Gamification techniques challenge and motivate customers through competition, recognition, and rewards. Further, because the dynamics of gamification are highly transferable, they can be applied to achieve many different goals: to create viral PR and buzz, increase loyalty or compliance, crowd source new products or solutions, gain feedback, recruit talent, and so forth.