Most hotels have a guest database in some form or another. But as we discussed in our post on arrivals reports, they often fall short of the needs of the modern hotelier. Today’s travelers expect a high level of personalization, and millennials, in particular, don’t respond well to generic email marketing blasts. However, they are much more responsive to email marketing messages that feel more targeted or personally relevant. To get higher ROI on their marketing dollar, hoteliers need to start collecting more information on their guests so they can deliver communications targeted to guests’ personal preferences and expectations. Here are a few of our suggestions on how to build out your database.
1. Capture guest emails
A common pain point for hoteliers is capturing guests’ email addresses accurately. OTAs don’t usually provide the emails of guests who book through them, and not all hotels collect emails. But this is a vital part of building your guest database. The more guest emails you have, the more you can communicate with your guests at different stages of the travel process. You can send out pre-stay emails to get guests excited for their stays and perhaps offer a room upgrade. You can send out a post-stay survey two days after the guest checks out and increase your volume of guest feedback. Six months after they check out, you could choose to target your guests with a special rate to entice them back and encourage them to book with you directly this time rather than with the OTA.
2. Engage on social media and review sites
Social media is an area where consumers are willing to share personal details. In some instances, it has also become a very public customer service channel. Many consumers prefer to give feedback on Twitter or TripAdvisor rather than talking directly to hotel staff. Social media and review sites can be a great source of guest data for this reason. You can learn pieces of information from a person’s social media profile like their interests, their job title, their demographic information, and their location. From previous reviews on TripAdvisor and customer service interactions on Twitter or Facebook, you can learn more about guest expectations and preferences. With all of this information, you can build targeted communications to drive repeat bookings and loyalty.
3. Record purchase history in your guest database
By recording purchase history, you can start building intelligence on your guests’ interests. Do you have repeat guests who are foodies? Yogis? Golf enthusiasts? Did they book an appointment at the spa? With this information, you can target your guests with promotions that are more likely to speak to them personally. If your property is near a golf tournament, or a famous chef is visiting a local restaurant, perhaps you’d like to invite guests who may be interested to stay with you at a special rate.
Want to drive more direct revenue and connect with guests? Download our free Email Marketing Strategy Guide. Never before has there been a more jam-packed, industry-specific guide to help hoteliers master the art (and science) of email marketing. Over 40+ topics with actionable insights, strategies, and best practices for email marketing.