Are you frustrated with OTAs supplying an alias email address when delivering a booking to your hotel – and then modifying them once you’ve managed to get the real address?
NB: This is an article from Guestline
Here’s how you can populate your system with the correct guest email address – to improve the guest journey, drive direct bookings and enhance guest communication. OTA’s argue that it offers a better guest experience, routing correspondence through their own platforms. However, they provide you with a temporary email address (which expires after the guest stay) and they also have a habit of stripping the content of emails, removing hyperlinks and trimming URLs so they no longer function.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and stay up to date
This presents obvious challenges – guests can’t complete the digital registration process (when the hotel sends a communication asking the guest to check-in online, the guest is unable to access it) and it prevents any future correspondence direct with the guest.
Ensuring the correct email address is in your PMS
Hoteliers are a tenacious bunch and often find innovative ways to circumvent the barriers placed by their so called “partners”. Whether it be during the digital registration or the check-in process, they will acquire the guests real email address and diligently input this into the PMS.
However, OTAs have a habit of sending modifications. The update logic will spot that modification has different profile details (email address) and will dutifully unlink the lovingly updated one and replace it with a shiny new, incorrect, profile. You’ve now lost the true guest details and caused a duplicate. Even if that modification didn’t take place, the next time they stay, the system would not find the existing “true” profile and would cause a duplicate.
What do you do when the OTA then modifies the email address?
When we receive one of these masked emails in a ‘Booking Create or Modification’ message, we remove it from the equation. That way we match on the other fields, like name, street, postcode and telephone. So once the “real” email address has been captured, we no longer unlink that profile. And best of all, we don’t create a duplicate. We’ll therefore only use the masked email address if we can’t make a match to a profile that has a “real” email address.
How this benefits both you and your guests
With a correctly populated PMS, your marketing team now has an accurate email database to which they can send promotional and news-worthy information. Hotels often sending tempting offers to encourage guests to re-book [direct] and even upsell them pre-stay with exciting experiences or treats they can relish during their stay.
By staying in regular communication with your guest, you can build loyalty and keep them up to date with all your latest news – not only will this improve guest communication and drive sales but these bookings will be made direct thereby reducing your costly OTA commissions and enhancing the relationship with your guests.
Additionally, your database will be uncluttered, and your guest profiles will be correct and secure – meaning your marketing will be more effective, you can personalise your guest’s experience and you can reward their loyalty.
A win in win all round in our book!