Retailers and hotels across the Emirates are increasingly turning to technology to coax us to spend more, using data analytics to better understand us and our purchasing habits.
One UAE-based company, SweetBeam, which focuses on gathering intelligence for in-house guests at luxury hotels and resorts, claims it can help hotels increase guest spending by 23 per cent on average.
“We live in a world where everyone is bombarded with advertising and people trying to sell things to them. We block out the clutter and get rid of messages that are irrelevant to the guest,” said Troy Simoni, the chief executive at SweetBeam.
The company recently signed a partnership with Grand Hyatt Dubai and is already working with Jumeirah, Kempinski and Shangri-La in Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
The company’s technology analyses the profile of the guest, which includes age, nationality, length of stay, dietary requirements and whether they want a late checkout.
“We take all of those factors, combine them together to offer things guests would like to know, but they might not have been thinking about,” said Mr Simoni. “We measure everything constantly. We know who is buying what and at what time, and that enables the hotel to understand new things. They may realise that they could benefit if they drop the price of the minibar at certain times and sell more.”
The information is communicated to the guest through the television, their smartphone, the hotel’s mobile application or social media.
“So a family with children from Saudi Arabia visiting on a five-day holiday might like to know on the morning of the second day of their visit that the kids’ club is opening, and they’d like to know that in Arabic,” said Mr Simoni. “If you communicated that to a British couple on their honeymoon staying in the same hotel, that would be clutter.”
Preventing this clutter requires sophisticated analysis of the data generated by customers.
“In the digital wold everything revolves around social media. We create so much data. A lot of this data is unstructured. If I could use this data to understand the behaviour of my customers and analyse the data, I would be able to launch the right products,” said Mohammed Amin, the regional manager at the computing company EMC.
So far the hospitality, aviation and retail sectors have embraced the world of big data and analytics the most, according to analysts.
“Retail is by far the largest part of our business,” said Hozefa Saylawala, the regional director of sales at Motorola Solutions.
Motorola uses data analytics to inform a store of not just its inventory levels, but the shopping habits of its customers.
Using this data, which can be collected on loyalty cards, it can push certain discounts and offers to specific customers to encourage them to purchase more in store. The company is working with Choithrams in the UAE to roll out hand-held scanners that customers use in-store to scan and purchase their shopping items, helping the store know exactly what the customers’ preferences are. The technology is already available in several Carrefour outlets in Europe.
Analysing a customer’s purchasing history enables the retailer to suggest various products that may appeal to them, or it can contact a customer through direct messaging to inform them of an offer to help increase footfall to the store. Jacky’s Electronics in Dubai is looking to introduce similar market analytics on its business-to-business sales.