Touchpoints not to miss during a guest’s stay
A hotel experience begins well before a guest arrives in their room.
Unfortunately for guests at many hotels it begins with a standard, purely administrative booking confirmation sent by the Property Management System (PMS).
This first contact is sometimes even the only communication a guest will receive before their arrival.
This is the first personalised information introducing the hotel and what the guest’s future experience will be, so appearance and presentation are important.
It can contain important information about the stay, a way to book additional services and to enrich a guest’s stay, or mention the cancellation conditions.
In addition, if the customer cannot be contacted by e-mail, the hotel can send a text message reminder, with a link to the map to find the hotel and directions on how to get there.
Using this approach, you will save the customer time (if you offer the possibility to make a pre-check-in before their arrival for example) which will inevitably increase their satisfaction.
Although contacting your guest before their stay is essential, you need to personalise your messages as much as possible to avoid annoying the guest more than you help them. The challenge is to fine-tune the spacing and content of your mailings, so that you provide only the information the guest needs, when they need it. This will give you more control over the customer relationship than any OTA (Online Travel Agency).
ARRIVAL AT THE HOTEL
The arrival is in reality a pivotal moment in a guest’s experience, however, in a lot of hotels, it’s one which presents something hugely painful: the check-in.
Imagine yourself, exhausted after a long car journey or a tiresome, delayed flight, meaning you had to drag your suitcase around for several hours. Finally, you arrive at your hotel and can think only of throwing yourself onto your bed and enjoying your stay. Instead, you see stretching out in front of you, a long queue to the front desk.
It is unacceptable for the first physical contact with a hotel to be a 20-minute queue. Especially when, at the end of this queue is a receptionist who asks for information you have already given when you made your reservation, and who is too busy making sure all their guests wait as little as possible to welcome them and take time to introduce them to the establishment.
This frustrating situation can be very easily avoided by giving your customers the opportunity of pre-filling in the check-in form in the comfort of their own home a few days before their departure, or at the airport while waiting for their flight or in a taxi on the way. Offer them a streamlined arrival with less waiting, more fluidity and less discomfort, and even the possibility of integrating their room key into their smartphone.
In addition, retrieving guest information in pre-stay allows you to personalise the arrival. This is what truly distinguishes a banal welcome from a personalised one. A basic welcome consists of the the same generic speech to all clients, a receptionist who stares at their computer instead of looking at the guest, and who performs slow administrative tasks. In the case of a personalised welcome, the receptionist welcomes the guest by name and, with access to all the guest’s historic data, asks the guest if they want the same room as their last visit.
For this, you need a CRM which retrieves the client information you already have (previous reservations in the PMS) or any data the customer provides you with before arriving (when they fill in the pre-check-in form for example). This tool is essential for a receptionist to know which customers arrive that day at the hotel and how to address them when they arrive.
DURING THE STAY
It is still common to find a printed paper copy of the Room Directory in hotel rooms.
Most customers however will search for information on their smartphone; replacing the Room Directory with a digital customer portal is an up-to-date way to present hotel and guest stay information quickly on any smartphone.
We can even go further by allowing users to order hotel services directly on the portal. This facilitates agile communication and is an easy method of upselling to guests with news of promotions, a concert at the bar, a discount on spa treatments, happy-hour, etc.
The landline telephone is also an outdated communication channel that can easily be replaced. An SMS or chat communication system is far more convenient for customers.
For the client, it is a familiar means of communication that they are used to using on a daily basis.
Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of an Asian client on holiday in Spain with very little knowledge of English.
If during their stay, they encounter problems and have to make an urgent request, they will not be comfortable calling the reception in a language they don’t speak.
On the other hand, if they have access to a messaging system with an integrated translation tool, they will be confidently able to prepare their request and seek help from the receptionist.
At LoungeUp we also develop integrations with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp platforms which are familiar to our clients.
AFTER THE STAY
You have numerous options post-stay:
- Do nothing
The easiest and most common option. This option is not going to help you build customer loyalty.
- Send the same newsletter to all clients
For example, by offering seasonal promotions. Are these strategies effective? This option doesn’t produce good results because it is not relevant to the customer.
- Send a personalised post-stay newsletter
What we recommend is to send personalised, segmented and therefore relevant newsletters.
In other words, a communication that contains a message that is personalised in content and in form.
Personalising the content means not saying the same thing to a new customer, a customer who has come several times and a customer who has been coming back for 10 years.
It is not sending the same message to an Asian guest visiting with his family as you do to a European guest on business travel.
Thanks to segmentation, you can send out more effective marketing campaigns. For this, you need a CRM that manages customer information and allows you to combine the criteria you need: age, nationality, language, preferences, interests, satisfaction, number of stays, type of stay, …
The possibilities are endless and serve numerous agendas: increasing bookings in low season, introducing a new service or establishment, bringing back a business client returning to a trade fair, parents visiting their child at school, a couple celebrating a wedding anniversary, etc.
Photo Credits: FreeRangeStock
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