Earlier this year, Airbnb rebranded itself with a new logo — a symbol they called the “Bélo,” meant to indicate connection and belonging — and the motto “people, places, love.” It was a move clearly meant to highlights of the service, which allows people to open their homes and properties to travellers looking for a place to stay: personal connections. Rather than the formal distance of a hotel stay, Airbnb users are staying in someone’s home, and whether their hosts are present in the space or not, patrons have many more opportunities to interact. Whether this means sharing space with their hosts and chatting every day, or simply interacting through correspondence and reviews before and after a stay, there is a personal touch, and the chance for connection, that other kinds of travel accommodations don’t provide.
That kind of connection and personal attention is what the creators of Voyat, “a social CRM tool aimed at the hotel industry,” are hoping to bring back to the hotel experience. Benjamin Habbel, one of Voyat’s co-founders, created the service based in part on his own travel frustrations.
Online booking made his hotel stays anonymous; staff had no idea who he was, what his personal needs were, or what his history as the hotel’s client might be. In contrast, Airbnb, which also uses online booking, created a direct connection between clients and hosts.
Voyat’s strategy is twofold: first, the service allows clients to connect their social media profiles, such as Facebook and Google+, to a loyalty account. This will help hotels not only get to know their clients better and more closely, but also let them track what those clients are saying about their hotel stays on various social channels, both positive and negative. Secondly, the service enables hotels to better track their clients travel habits, the frequency of their stays, and their needs, and offer individually tailored rewards
Online booking has thus far led to completely different experiences for clients of traditional hotels and services like Airbnb: while the former has become more distant and anonymous, the latter has found opportunities for personal connections and relationships. Voyat’s hoping to make hotel service personal again — do you think their model is a recipe for success?