Hotels survive on repeat business. Loyal guests that keep coming back drive huge amounts of revenue toward the bottomline. Unfortunately for those plying their trade in the hospitality industry, it’s getting more and more difficult to maintain customer stickiness. Potential guests can compare options and book from their phone, and the sharing economy is doing its fair share to disrupt the hospitality industry with services like Airbnb and VRBO.
To combat this, most hotels offer some sort of loyalty program. Well, that’s what they call them, but the programs don’t have much to do with loyalty. A more appropriate name would be a discount program.
Typically, these programs aim to win the business of travellers by offering discounts and rewards in exchange for frequent business. The consequence: your customers are loyal to your discount, not your brand
This is all not to say that traditional loyalty programs aren’t valuable and don’t have a place. They’re important and should be used by everybody. But if that’s the only tactic you’re using to secure repeat business, you’ll find yourself with more empty rooms than the Overlook Hotel.
Personalize the guest experience
Easier said than done, right? Yeah, but not as difficult as you may think.
The first step is to develop a database of all of your guests. When somebody reserves a room at your hotel for the first time, look at it as an opportunity to capture as much information about your guest as possible. Email address, other potential destinations, and reason for travel are all valuable examples. The more you know about your customers, the easier it will be for to provide a personalized experience. Gather this information tactfully. Asking too many questions could drive people away.
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Once you know a thing or two about your patrons, you can begin customizing their experiences. Let’s say, for instance, you learn that a guest is allergic to chocolate, rather than leaving a Hershey Kiss on their pillow, leave a mint. If a guest loves to use the gym, put them in a room that’s close to it.
As you learn about your customer, you can store and organize this information onto a contact record. When a guest returns, an employee can open their contact record and immediately get up to speed on that customer’s preferences. This empowers every employee to treat repeat customers as if they know them well and helps ensure that each guest has a great stay
Of course, you can’t be expected to know all these things about your guests from the outset, but the more a guest returns, the more opportunities you have to learn their preferences. Your customer database shouldn’t be static, you need to constantly be updating and adding to it. Just like any relationship, the more time you spend with someone, the more you learn about them.
Thanks to the flexible functionality of ActiveCampaign, you can use the CRM to manage the personalization of your service. Here’s an example of a pipeline you could use to manage interactions with your guests:
Coupled with ActiveCampaign’s automations you could automatically send emails to patrons as they progress through the pipeline. As a guest moves from the “1st Visit” stage to the “5th Visit” stage, automatically send them a personalized email with a gift card and a short questionnaire to collect more information about them to create an even more personalized experience upon return visits.
Other pipelines and automated processes enable you to easily do things like send pre- and post-stay emails, notify guests of special deals, and share content to keep your hotel top of mind.
These tools enable you to utilize all of the advantages of a traditional loyalty program, while introducing a personal touch that previously was not an option. When applied correctly, you forge long-term customer relationships that improves the experience of your guests while boosting your bottomline.