By Adam Hoydysh, Vice President of Hotel Sales at Plum

There’s no denying it — the modern consumer wants what they want when they want it, and how they want it. We’ve long since entered the ‘Age of the Customer’ and, in that same breath, the ‘Age of Personalization.’ Regardless the product or service, success in 2019 (and we would surmise, beyond) will be largely dependent on a brand’s ability to continuously forge personal connections with customers while offering a consistently frictionless and convenient experience. To remain competitive in today’s real-time world, brands need to effectively anticipate and deliver personalized, on-demand, timely and inspiring experiences.

This trend towards the careful curation of a seamless, customized experience across seemingly every category, has settled with significant weight onto the desks of hospitality leaders. After all, hospitality is, at its core, an industry forged on the principle of establishing a guest connection and exceptional service. Hoteliers are in the business of marketing experience, rather than merely a product or service, that evokes a desired feeling and response in each guest that ultimately drives loyalty and revenue.

We are witnessing an exciting shift into a time during which data-driven insights, artificial intelligence, virtual experiences, digital amenities, and mobile solutions are becoming the norm. Guest service, while still holding on to its traditional roots where necessary (i.e., guests who prefer a high-touch experience), is offering a level of instant gratification, self-service and guest-centric convenience that was never before possible.

What we’re trying to say here, ultimately, is that the future is here — and it’s ‘here and now!’

Frictionless Service

Why does the ‘buzzword’ frictionless hold so much value in the recent economy? Because the today’s consumer simply doesn’t want to wait. Rather, they don’t have to. Over time (and with the nudge of technology), we have learned to embrace a wide-spread culture of instant gratification. Perhaps primarily inspired by the internet, most of us expect to access information instantly, communicate instantly and make purchases, well… you guessed it: instantly. Look to the rise of Amazon’s same-day delivery program, the consumer embrace of virtual voice-activated assistants such as Alexa or Google Mini, AI-powered concierges and self-checkout stores. While some people will continue to show a preference for a conventional shopping process, many of us are making rapid strides towards a future that offers a faster, more seamless path to purchase.

In the realm of hospitality, this becomes especially exciting. The age-old complaints surrounding lines at the airport and hotel front desk? Well, those can be easily remedied with the introduction of technology like check-in kiosks and mobile apps. What about losing your room key? That’s no longer a concern, for those hotels offering mobile keyless entry. However, it doesn’t end there — the demand for a frictionless service has found its way into hotel rooms as well. What does that look like, you might wonder? Well, it looks like a guest having a perfectly chilled glass of wine after a long day, but without the wait.

With new, cutting-edge luxury amenities, more and more hotels are looking to offer guests services that were traditionally limited to more manual processes (room service or restaurant service) within the comfort of their hotel room, at the simple touch of a button. The Plum wine appliance delivers wine by the glass, with consumption that is tracked and billed via integrated cloud-based software and automatically charged to the room. If that’s what the future of in-room service looks like, perhaps coupled with a Smart TV and some complimentary Netflix… count us in.

Right Time and Place Drives Revenue

Never doubt the power of impulse, especially when it comes to buying decisions. The widespread shift to autonomous retail environments isn’t just about the needs of the customer; it also benefits companies regarding consumer spending. In fact, 84% of Americans admit to making impulse buys, nine out of 10 millennials have purchased something impulsively, and studies suggest that impulse buying translates to gratification. This pattern is often empowered by ‘opportunistic purchasing’ desires, meaning that consumers are inspired to make that purchase based on a perceived deal, opportunity or convenience.

So, what’s the best way to tap into impulse and opportunistic purchasing within the hospitality market? Well, the answer is actually quite simple. With the help of technology, hoteliers have the unique opportunity to remove operational delays that act as obstacles. This is where self-service amenities become especially valuable, and likely represent an exciting area of technological development moving forward. With on-demand conveniences such as Plum, hoteliers can create revenue generating opportunities when and where guests are most likely to indulge their impulses.

Looking Ahead

Hoteliers can increase their revenues by catering to this trend of instant gratification and learning how to encourage impulsive buying behavior. Though a relatively new concept, it is ultimately a win-win for hotels and guests. Guests are treated to an experience which is consistently more convenient, reliable and personalized, while hotels can benefit from the competitive differentiation, better reviews, increased loyalty and a boost to the bottom line.

If you ask us, this frictionless, here and now future sounds pretty exciting.

Interested in learning more about Plum to bring on-demand in-room wine by the glass to guests?