The interview with Accor's Vivek Badrinath, Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of marketing, digital solutions, distribution, and information systems, was conducted by Peter O’Connor, Academic Director at ESSEC Business School, for the Hotel Yearbook. The plan stresses "reinventing the customer experience through digital technology". What exactly do you mean by this? Today's world has become increasingly digital, which has a massive effect on how customers behave. In particular they are better connected and better informed, with the explosion in information available over digital channels giving them access to a wider variety of options. Switching between brands is now also easier than ever, because they can get the feel of a brand just by surfing the web. Lastly they place a lot of trust in other people opinions, in particular their personal and professional networks, a process that has been simplified by the growth in social networks. These behaviours have had a huge impact on how customers interact with and book hotels, prompting us to relook at how we manage every stage of the customer journey - from dreaming and selecting the ideal property through the pre-stay and stay, and ultimately to how we facilitate post stay interactions. Our objective is to rethink the way in which we work with the customer and incorporate digital technology where appropriate to give them a better experience where ever possible. Concretely we will do this by improving our knowledge of the customer to enhance the welcome they are given and the services they receive. For example our "Mobile First" initiative features a single mobile app incorporating all of Accor's services before, during and after the stay, and will act as the customer's primary point of contact with both the property and the chain. The "Seamless Journey" initiative takes this idea a step further by enhancing customer convenience, for example with electronic payment, one-click booking, and online check-in. Lastly our "Customer Centric" initiative focuses on leveraging customer data to ensure highly personalized service and follow-up, as well as centralizing feedback into a single platform called "Voice of the Guests". Read the complete interview at Hospitality.Net