With the rise of Millennials and technology-savvy travelers, guest expectations are evolving.
Hotels are finding that the current state of guest relations, general email blasts and one-off interactions with staff, is failing to cut through the noise and build loyalty with repeat guests. Today’s traveler expects an increased level of personalized service and continuous, targeted communication. To take it a step further, today’s travelers expect a relationship with the brands and businesses they love.
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Many hoteliers are learning that automated messaging is the way to take guest relations to the next level. By allowing hoteliers to collect guest information in a nonintrusive manner, automated messaging enables the delivery of highly targeted communications and personalized service to improve the guest experience. This in turn creates, cultivates, and constantly improves a deeply personal hotel-guest relationship, resulting in true brand loyalty.
Automated messaging can be found throughout the guest lifecycle — in the planning phase, during the stay and after a trip has ended.
Before the guest checks in, hoteliers can reach out to guests with automated communications like transactional pre-arrival emails, advanced check-in capabilities, and other targeted communications. They can send an email that confirms booking, and encourages guests to set personal preferences and follow the hotel on social media.
As guests become increasingly mobile-savvy, travelers are becoming more adept to check in on-the-go, allowing hotels to message guests on the fly and offer upgrades to room reservations and special offers. By doing so, guests are inclined to provide feedback and update preferences on themselves, allowing hotels to note the additions to their saved preferences. Ultimately, this lets hotel marketers add guests to segmented lists, where they can target promotions accordingly.
For example, a couple that booked a massage during their last stay with the hotel might receive a 2-for-1 spa offer upon booking again.
During the Stay: The Right Experience for the Right Guest
Hoteliers can now take advantage of the data they’ve collected to deliver a more personalized guest experience. They can send the right amenity promotions to the right guests via email, SMS, or app notification. They can also use social data to surprise and delight. For example, wine lovers on a business trip might get a special invitation to a wine tasting happy hour event. A guest who likes the San Francisco Giants would be delighted to receive a tailored surprise package on game day, like Cracker Jacks and a local San Francisco craft beer like Anchor Steam.
Hotels should take this opportunity to note any feedback from previous surveys, online reviews, and social media. Guests who have previously written a rave review or a glowing tweet for special treatment should be flagged, while also noting any issues raised in negative reviews or feedback.
After the guest checks out, hoteliers should still be in communication with their guests, soliciting feedback and seeking to build loyalty. Send an automated email reminding the guest to take a post-stay survey and/or leave feedback on review sites like TripAdvisor, activating your customers as brand advocates. Hoteliers are able to deliver automated, targeted return offers, based on collected data to encourage the guest to book again, and book directly with the hotel.
Building Towards Seamless Guest Relations
Many hoteliers are already using an automation system in combination with hotel CRM (Customer Relationship Management) technologies. However, this information is often leveraged only in one-off interactions with guests. To succeed, hotels need to do better in is combining CRM with marketing automation to create a cohesive strategy across the guest lifecycle.
The automation of communications throughout the guest lifecycle increases efficiency by eliminating repetitive marketing tasks and guest satisfaction guesswork. With all of a hotel guest’s information organized and centrally stored, hoteliers who use automated messaging can create trigger-based campaigns to send pre-stay emails, targeted on-property promotions, and post-stay guest satisfaction surveys. Automated messaging also enables smaller hotel teams to drive interaction formerly achievable only by much larger marketing departments and expensive legacy software packages. This is especially important for smaller hotels with a limited number of employees who wear multiple hats, or a hotel group with centralized guest relations and marketing teams that support many hotels.
More importantly, automated messaging, if done correctly, can greatly improve the guest experience.
By moving from singular, transaction-based guest interactions to one-to-one ongoing relationships, hoteliers can get even closer to delivering the ideal guest experience, increase brand loyalty, and drive incremental revenue along the way.
This content is created collaboratively in partnership with our sponsor, Revinate. Register now for their upcoming webinar, Modern Techniques to Capture New Bookings.