4 Steps for Hotels to Deliver Guest PersonalizationReading Time: 5 minutes
Whatever happened to hotel brand loyalty? Recent years have seen a substantial increase in guests critically researching offers and prices to make more informed purchasing decisions. In fact, according to research from Qubit, over 80% of customers would be open to switching loyalties if they found a brand that better catered to their needs. In this blog, we will look at why personalization is important, and how hotels can personalize the guest experience and encourage loyalty.
Why Personalizing the Guest Experience is Essential for Hotels in today’s Day and Age
Following two years of restricted travel, pent-up demand is booming. This presents an excellent opportunity for hotels to reach guests and capitalize on the demand. Sounds easy right? Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. Remember, guests have much higher expectations now that the world has reopened, and your hotel cannot afford to disappoint them.
More than ever, guests now value increased flexibility and exceptional customer service. Not only will they remember and revisit their best pre-covid travel experiences, they will also remember which hotels catered to their needs when unexpected restrictions forced them to cancel or postpone their bookings.
All in all, hotels cannot miss the opportunity to engage returning guests. With limited staff, hoteliers must use technology and automation to fill in the gaps and handle tasks that were previously handled by teams of employees. Most importantly, hotels must develop personal connections with guests at all stages of the journey, tailoring their stay to fit their needs and desires.
And as hotels recover financially, It also helps that personalized marketing has been shown to lift hotel revenue by up to 10%, according to Revinate. In short, knowing how and when to engage with a potential customer is crucial if you want to see return on investment (ROI).
4 Steps for Hotels to Implement Guest Personalization
Unlike ‘mass marketing’, ‘personalized marketing’ requires every hotel’s marketing department and operational staff to look at the specific needs of each guest and provide a tailored offer.
Of course, this will mean more commitment and attention to detail. But if you stop to think for a minute, personalized marketing can also allow you to build a long-term relationship with your guests and bolster your hotel’s brand image.
Below are 4 simple steps to help you personalize the guest experience:
1. Be Where your Prospect Guests are and Join their Conversations
One great way to personalize the guest experience is to engage with travelers who are talking about your destination and their travel plans on social media. A good starting point would be to filter the relevant conversations of travelers who are planning trips – the people who are actually commenting on something that went well or didn’t go well. This will give you insight into how you can better personalize the guest experience from the moment they book a room to check-out.
Imagine this scenario: You own a hotel in downtown London and you manage its Twitter page. You spot a tweet from a disgruntled passenger who has unfortunately traveled via a budget airline. After suffering with limited leg room and landing in some dreadful rain showers, he vents with this tweet: “Just want to get into the hotel already…” You quickly shoot this response: “We have a pint waiting for you!”
Not only will you have given the guest something special before they even asked for it, you will have also transformed a potentially negative travel experience into a positive one, and who knows, you might even get a booking from this gesture?
Using a social media management tool, you can keep track of what your potential guests value and respond accordingly to get more direct bookings. Get started by:
Defining relevant keywords related to your hotel and destination, then start following individuals with the interests that match 100% with your property. Analyze tweets related to your keywords, and if you see travelers coming to your destination, respond. Find the relevant conversations and participate, letting prospect guests know that you have what they are looking for.
Chances are if you follow these easy steps, you will more than likely get a booking!
2. Make Sure your Content and Offers is Tailored to your Target Guests
Be sure to publish relevant content on all the booking channels to encourage potential customers to book with you. When guests come to you directly, recognize them on your branded website, booking engine or call center application and provide them benefits that can’t be found on other channels.
Data from returning online visitors or guests is extremely important to help you tailor offers to them. Knowing your customers will enable you to push the right rates, rewards and offers that are customized to them based on their activity. Know which room type they booked previously and recommend that room type first. If they indicate that they’re traveling with more than two people, suggest a room with more than one bed.
3. Directly Reach out to Your Guests Immediately after They Book
Immediately after booking, hoteliers must reach out and connect with the guest to let them know what to expect on arrival, particularly any new procedures that are in place. This is undoubtedly easier when a guest books directly and you know immediately who they are.
But even when a guest books through a third party, you can reach out through that third party with a confirmation and welcome email and then ask the guest to provide more information so you can customize their stay and communicate with them directly. With the right integrated systems in place, all of these actions can be automated.
4. Personalize Pre-Stay and Post-Stay Communications
Want to make guests excited about visiting your hotel? The pre-stay emails are your opportunity to give guests something to look forward to. This is especially true when expecting guests who have booked far in advance. Sending a confirmation email shortly after they book and contacting them a few days prior to their stay, will ensure your hotel stays top of mind until their arrival.
If you have a special service, offer, or activity, make sure you include this in the pre-stay email. Memmo Hotels, for example, lets customers know about their live music and DJ sessions prior to the guest’s arrival. Whether you offer bike or boat tours, or perhaps have a partnership with some local businesses that can offer a real flavor of your destination, you should highlight this in the pre-stay emails.
Personalized communication shouldn’t end when the guests check out. What information have you gathered about your guest during their stay? When is their birthday? What were their interests? What did they like or did not like during their past stay? You should store this information to segment and create personalized offers for previous guests.
The motto: it’s always better to over-deliver than over-promise — is key. Offering your customers what they want before they even ask for it can go a long way in encouraging customer loyalty and advocacy for your hotel brand. By making these guests feel like they are valued and needed (and they are), they will not only return to your hotel but also be more eager to recommend you.
It’s important to note that all of the above requires some investment in technology. For example, a CRM allows hotels to consolidate profile data and provides a place to dig into these details, look at who your guests are and what their activities are in your hotel, and then be able to drive targeted communications and actions. You can make your CRM even more effective by ensuring it’s fully integrated with the rest of your tech stack – including your hotel website, booking engine, central reservation system, and channel manager.
What is your hotel doing to personalize the guest experience now that travel demand is booming?