Two trends stand out from InterContinental Hotels Group’s annual trends report, released this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The report ‘The Uncompromising Customer: Addressing the Paradoxes of the Age of I’ looks at the conflicting situations consumers find themselves in and which impact their purchasing decisions.
Conflicted consumers aren’t great for brands trying to operate in an increasingly competitive landscape.
The study is comprised of four paradoxes with the first loooking at how connected we have all become and yet there is still a desire for not only individuality but also, anonymity.
The ‘Paradox of Separate but Connected’ as it is named talks about the need to cater for the desire to belong to something but kept free from “intrusive alerts.”
It also highlights how quickly brands need to connect with consumers dealing with short attention spans who are dealing with information overload.
And, age has an impact in how and where brands communicate with consumers and how they will respond.
IHG provides examples of how it is dealing with the paradoxes such as its meetings products and bedroom design concepts to make for a more productive stay for corporate travellers.
A further trend, or paradox, is the idea of being in control but “not being the controller.”
IHG labels this ‘the Paradox of Do It Myself and Do It For Me In My Way’ and the report talks of how mobility, articifical intelligence and other technology developments have created this control conflict.
The company points to its Facebook Messenger Bot, unveiled last summer, which acts as a customer service tool as an example of helping guests and giving them control before their stay.
IHG also says it’s using virtual reality not only to help design rooms but also to get insight from guests and how they view the hotel experience.
As part of the report, the hotel giant also comes up with some ideas for addressing today’s conflicted consumers.
It says, for example, that brands need to recognise that the needs of the consumer change depending on the occasion.
Brands and companies also need to think about conversation being a two-way street and listening can help build trust.
Lots of the insight in the 2017 trends report has been discussed before but it serves as reminder of how the travel industry faces rapid technology development, with all predictions for it to accelerate further, and constantly changing consumer behaviour.
The full report as well as an executive summary can be downloaded here.