As we venture into a more advanced world of consumers that understand more about technology than ever before, we are beginning to see more concern about the physical check-in or location-aware technologies that invade these consumers’ lives. In the past year alone, there has been a massive growth shift of location data, and more importantly, the Meta Data that goes along with it.
Recent acquisition of location-based data by Microsoft from location leader Foursquare is starting to set the stage for the Meta Wars. What I mean by this is that the amount of Meta Data that is collected with a variety of digital actions can put together an entire social and digital story about a consumer, their habits and even their interests. Take a look at our own Meta Data grid below to understand the depth of such information extraction that occurs with digital actions. Every action – on phone calls, social, email, photos, and just about every smartphone action that communicates with the outside world – has a layer of data that app creators, data platform companies and brands are collecting to understand their customers better and faster than their competitors.
The need for a guest response form is almost down to nil for the hospitality industry. The amount of information that consumers share willingly and unsolicited along with the Meta Data of each digital action can reshape brands’ entire marketing strategy, real estate selection or even menu development.
The power of this data is just beginning to impact the industry. When you add in the potential of geo-fencing, Bluetooth Low Energy technology and the expansive release of beacon technology for location-aware smartphones, the future has an explosive opportunity for brands. Reaching consumers in a very unintrusive way vs. the traditional advertising model we have practiced over the past four decades, will become the new hospitality data science that we have been predicting for the past three years. See the Restaurant Social Media Index.
This means big change, and soon. Many brands are already practicing these methodologies and it’s beginning to show with brands like Chipotle, who leads the pack in location-based actions in the Restaurant Social Media Index in Q4 2013, followed by Buffalo Wild Wings, Wendy’s, Subway and Shake Shack. These brands are showing significant increased activity in Q4. The result is simple: As Meta Data grows closer into our understanding in the hospitality business, we will grow closer to more profits and better serving our guests.