The hospitality sector continues to be one of the world’s fastest expanding industries – with global estimates reaching $1.6 trillion in 2018. The market is being driven both by more disposable income from emerging economies and also rising desire to travel more broadly in the developed world. The number of international travelers has doubled over the last 20 years with growth not only in developing countries, but also in established markets like the U.S. which is on pace for another record breaking year in 2018. Further, strong economies also mean a healthy demand for business travel so the sector is seeing increased revenue from multiple areas. The opportunity for hospitality companies is clear – the challenges lie in changing consumer behaviors and stiff competition for traveler interest. One of the biggest consumer shifts contributing to hospitality industry success is a focus on experiences rather than products. As experience providers, hospitality brands – restaurants, transportation, hotels and resorts – are well-positioned to benefit from this trend. Leading companies are evolving that idea to leverage the entire traveler lifecycle, expanding customer touchpoints and personalization to build consumer loyalty. In its 2018 Hospitality Industry breakdown, Deloitte Consulting frames the hospitality opportunity as “data-centric personalization” - know me, engage me, empower me, hear me and delight me. Per Deloitte, “innovation will inevitably spark growth and change across the sector in 2018. Established industry players should stay nimble, alert - and perhaps even a bit daring.” So, how can leading brands stay ahead of the competition? The answer is by listening to customers – both within hospitality and also in adjacent spaces that impact the industry (e.g. healthy living, family needs, etc.). Social listening is uniquely suited to inform an overall traveler strategy and the individual personalization needed to help hospitality companies differentiate from the competition. Specifically, social listening complements other research with unfiltered consumer opinions, immediate feedback on traveler experiences (both your own and competitors), and insight into broader category trends. Get the full story at Hotel-Online