Use Hotel CRM to Engage With Your Most Valuable Guests
Building a relationship with your guests is the cornerstone of hospitality, but creating loyal, advocates of your brand requires a step beyond that.
NB: This is an article by Nicki Graham, Director of Marketing International at Cendyn
You may have a few guests who return frequently, sometimes at the same time of year, sometimes for business or sometimes with their family but how do you ensure that these guests keep coming back and keep promoting your brand online and to friends and family? With hotel CRM maintaining this relationship is now much easier.
We encourage our hotel clients to communicate with their guests using multiple channels throughout the travel journey. This seems like a big undertaking, but a big part of this communication can be done through automation. Using this in association with social engagement, great face-to-face customer service at the property and targeted marketing campaigns allow for a communication strategy that works well for hoteliers and their guests.
A big part of automation is tailoring every email to suit the needs of every guest that receives it. And this can work wonders with your most valued guests. We’ve seen that identifying if a guest has had a past reservation isn’t enough anymore. Hoteliers should be identifying how many times that guest has returned and the reasons for each visit, and including that information in the communications sent to them.
Imagine this, you’re coming up to your 3rd visit to a hotel in New York City, you decided to stay there again because of its location, that you enjoyed the local restaurants, and that it will be convenient for you and your family to get about easily during your long weekend break. Wouldn’t it be great if you knew the hotel you were staying in was going to recognize your loyalty? And that doesn’t mean present you with a loyalty card, it means tailoring everything to suit your needs based on what worked for you previously.
With hotel CRM not only can you differentiate based on the number of previous reservations at your property or at a hotel within your chain or group, you can also combine this with other criteria based on the type of reservation it may be; time of year, no. of guests or traveling with children for example, previous wine choices, favorite dining spots, spa choices etc.
To help you visualize how this would work, we’ve put it into practice. Here’s a great way to use this type of automation and communicate with your valuable guests, to help maintain their loyalty and advocate your brand:
1 WEEK BEFORE CHECK-IN
Send an automated email to guests before they arrive:
- Let them know how excited you are that they are returning to your property again
- Get them excited about their stay by saying there will be a personalized gift awaiting them in their room on arrival
- Share details of local activities/events or new dining spots they may be interested in. Use details of their reservation to tailor the communication – if they like the spa, share spa treatments available for example
Share a gift with them on arrival in their room:
- Use your CRM to understand what the guest enjoyed during their previous stays and tailor a gift to suit their needs:
- Where did they dine?
- What wine did they enjoy?
- Are they traveling for a specific event?
- Do they have children traveling with them, if so, would they enjoy some personalized cookies waiting for them on arrival?
- Small touches go a long way and will be remembered by every guest whether they’re a repeat guest or a first timer
1 DAY AFTER CHECK-IN
Send an automated email to guests once they have settled in:
- Welcome them to the property again let them know the best way to contact you if they have any questions or requests
- Ask them if they loved the gift left for them in the room
THROUGHOUT THEIR STAY
Engage with your guest socially:
- If the guest does engage on social media while on the property, make them feel extra special by engaging back!
- Keep your social media team on the ball by looking out for hashtags associated with their location and hotel
- Thank them for any posts and keep an informal friendly tone that is in line with your brand
3 DAYS AFTER CHECK OUT
Send an automated email to guests after check-out from their 3rd time staying with you:
- Thank them for their recent stay at the property
- Encourage them to complete a survey because as hoteliers no matter how many times a guest stays, every stay counts and if there’s anything that they could do differently, they’d like to hear about
- Embrace feedback through your online survey and via review sites such as TripAdvisor. This will drive loyalty by showing your guests you are open to their feedback and opinions, it’ll get them coming back for a 4th visit!
6 MONTHS AFTER CHECK OUT
Send an email to guests after their previous stay:
- Invite them to come back for another visit
- Incentivize with offers and reasons that you know brought them back in the first place
This example is simple to implement using hotel CRM and will enable hoteliers to build longer-lasting relationships with their guests. It fits in with what guests want and how they want to engage with the hospitality industry. It can work in addition to any other automated, confirmation or BringBack emails that are set up by simply adding more flexibility to your message.
Remember, travel is all about experiences, whether for business, leisure or adventure, it’s about leveraging technology to allow you to make those experiences happen for your guests.