Over the last 10 years, industry disruptors have rocked the business world in ways we’ve never seen before, and leading the charge is disruption’s poster child, Uber.
Not only has it streamlined getting anywhere in the world’s major cities, Uber‘s visionary business model is a goldmine of lessons for hotel marketers. Their model nourishes their own growth, with their incredible way of combining a smooth payment system, customer-focused service delivery and smart and nimble use of mobile technology. This has left taxi companies reeling from a drastic loss in market share, customer loyalty and brand security with every passing day.
Uber is undeniably a case study in business brilliance. Here are their principles hotel marketers should consider replicating:
We’re going to wager that no one enjoyed calling a cab, hailing a cab, waiting for a cab or paying for a cab. Modern consumers value customer service and convenience more than ever before. They want what’s easy and Uber instinctively locked into that preference from the very beginning. They address all of those commonplace annoyances that come with taking a cab and took them out in a single shot using a stunningly simple interface. Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk said it best: “Uber doesn’t sell transportation. Uber sells time.” They understand how much easier it is to pay with your phone, without having to dig around your bag for your wallet. The app’s clean and uncluttered design allows you to request the nearest driver and pay for your ride with just one button. It’s as simple as you can get.
What can hotel marketers learn from Uber’s simplicity?
Examine your booking experience and consider how you could simplify even the smallest of details. Minimize any hurdles to making a reservation. Are you cluttering your booking engine with too many options, text or fields to fill out? Consolidate as many fields as you can to get as close to a one-touch experience as possible. Pre-fill certain fields if they are a returning guest. Streamline your mobile booking site so a user can book a room with just one hand holding their smartphone.
2. The importance of technology
It all comes down to making your customers’ lives easier with brilliant technology. Uber harnessed the technology we were already using, mobile phones and mobile apps, to address an antiquated necessity – transportation. Think about the aging technology you normally see in taxi cabs, including their mileage trackers and credit card readers that often are broken at the most inconvenient times. Uber allows you to pay without the awkwardness of counting out change or figuring out a tip. Plus, they email you a receipt, which makes it easier for business travelers to track their travel expenses.
Uber continues to be a leader in innovation. They recently launched UberEats, delivering lunch and dinner from popular restaurants to users in under ten minutes. With their new UberPool option, users can opt to share a ride with another user nearby who is traveling along the same route, transforming a solo ride into a social experience.
What can hotel marketers learn from Uber’s tech-savviness?
Be open to technology that will enhance your guest experience and help you reach guests in more places online. Consider mobile check-in apps, keyless entry, and offering live updates to the room bill that guests can check via their smartphones. Invite guests to ask questions via an online chat option on your Website. Automate marketing emails to past guests who stayed during slow seasons or to visitors who visited your website, but left before booking a room.
3. Deliver a great service/user experience
First and foremost, Uber focused on creating the best experience for their customer. It took taking a taxi, an act that many people dreaded, and made it fun and enjoyable from beginning to end. With the app, you know exactly where your driver is, what their name is, and how their car looks like. When they arrive, they greet you by name, have an impeccably clean car, and give you a free bottle of water (sometimes even candy!). Uber’s rating system, which allows both drivers and passengers to rate each other, keeps everyone accountable. It gives drivers the incentive to offer the best customer service and keep their vehicles pristine. It also gives passengers the incentive to not be rowdy, disrespectful, or uncontrollably drunk. These small details have made grand strides in delivering an experience that the taxi industry has yet to match.
What can hotel marketers learn from Uber’s service experience?
Put yourself in your guest’s place. What would make their experience so much more valuable or more brag-worthy? Consider waiving wifi fees, offering a complimentary happy hour featuring local craft brews and food items, or delivering happiness to them, such as Four Seasons Chicago’s traveling Martini Man, Ice Cream Man and Hot Chocolate Doc. Another popular option is allowing guests to text customer service requests, instead of dialing 0 from their room phones and being put on hold.