In an ultra competitive environment, hoteliers are searching for ways to make a lasting connection to their guests. Whether these guests are first time visitors or volume rate weekly business travelers, it is vital to make a lasting impact.
With the number of stay options for guests increasing, the margin for error is narrowing. It is more important than ever to create a “welcome home” or “welcome back” feeling for your guests. As a former hotelier, I understand the feeling of losing a guest to the hotel down the street is tough to swallow.
But, here’s the realistic picture: Say as a guest, I have stayed multiple times at both Hotel A and Hotel B. I always get upgraded upon check-in at hotel A, but only get upgraded sometimes at Hotel B. And, maybe Hotel A remembers details about me. What if I booked a room with Hotel A for my anniversary last year, and this year the hotel were to send me a reminder email such as, “Did you remember to book a trip for your anniversary?” As a guest, I would definitely book Hotel A over Hotel B.
Here are some examples of information your Front Desk should collect:
Collect the Email Address
Email addresses are so important in 2015 as almost everyone, including your grandma, has one! The reason we want to collect email addresses is to track stay history, differentiate between John Smith and John Smith, use for guest marketing purposes, send post-stay surveys, and track social media presence.
Record Preferences so the Guest Feels “At Home”
Ask a repeat guest why he or she keeps returning to a particular hotel destination. Many times, the answer will include the words “home away from home.” Travelers want to feel as though their preferences and needs are met when they are away so recording preferences is the final touch in creating a lasting experience. If your guest enjoys waking up to the New York Times or prefers a 7 am wake up call, what’s better than meeting their needs and making them comfortable?
The next time a repeat guest arrives at your hotel, what better way to greet her than “Welcome Back Mrs. Johnson. I hope your son’s birthday last week was enjoyable for everyone. Here are your room keys and your Wall Street Journal will be at your door daily. Enjoy your stay.”
Find out the Reason for the Trip
Finding out the reason for someone’s trip will help you and your teams go above and beyond in creating a great experience. When your agent begins talking to the individual about why they are at the hotel, a meaningful connection is created. Finding out specifics like dinner plans or important meetings can go a long way in customizing amenities, services, or offerings during your guest’s stay.
In relation to finding out reason of the trip, noting important dates like birthdays, anniversaries, annual meetings, etc will go a long way in creating a “wow” experience. Simply adding the birthday of the guest when checking the ID allows for great follow-up for guest marketing purposes.
Take Note of Accompanying Guests
Whether the reason for the trip is business or pleasure, it’s also a good idea to take note of accompanying guests. For example, a guest traveling with children could be surprised with a plate of warm cookies or a few small plush toys upon arrival. A guest traveling alone would appreciate an invite to a wine reception.
Having your Front Desk agents collect imperative information during check-in can result in such affinity to your property. When affinity builds, the margin for error decreases as guests feel closer or in-tune with your hotel. For example, you may be a little more lenient with your favorite restaurant mixing up your order than the new hot spot down the street. Winning today’s guests from your competitors is all about the level of personalization you can achieve with your hotel’s service.
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