Hoteliers already solicit and measure guest feedback pulled together from many different channels. They measure guest satisfaction ratings, rankings and sentiments, and slice and dice it by every department and factor they can, ensuring brand and operational quality, consistency and performance. That’s all common best practice, which begs the question, are you measuring the quality of your guest relationships in the same way? Are you analyzing ways to strengthen and deepen those relationships?
Imagining the ideal guest relationship
I love asking hoteliers to envision their ideal mix of guests. Who would they like to fill their hotel with and how would they acquire them? The answer often starts with increasing repeat business among their loyal VIP customers. And, finding and acquiring more guests through direct channels. The more direct business, the better, and this only improves over time with your best guests. Loyal guests are less price-sensitive. They love your hotel, they know what to expect, and they’re willing to pay a little more to get it.
First, let’s look at the most loyal guests—those guests with whom you have formed a bond and often a strong personal relationship. These guests are a pleasure to serve. Your hotel has successfully become a ‘home away from home’ for them. They value the hard work you put into creating the kind of memorable guest experience that keeps them coming back.
These guests also have a very high lifetime value for your hotel. In fact, Kalibri Labs recently released a report indicating that hotels saw a $65 net benefit for a three-time returning guest when compared to filling the same room with four OTA customers. These guests add even more value when they are fully activated and empowered to share their experience.
Alongside those most valuable guests, you will want to mix in high-value group business. Of course, your perfect guest segment mix will be both seasonal and dynamic—a luxury resort will have a different mix than a business hotel and occupancy in high season will look different than it does in low season. But whatever mix is right for your hotel, the key is getting those folks to come to your property and book directly over and over again.
Turn guests into ambassadors
In this world filled with so many choices, so much marketing, and so little time, we often shortcut the decision-making process by asking our friends for recommendations. These are people we trust to steer us right with honest advice, and we likely share common interests.
Do you recall asking a friend or colleague to recommend a place to stay on a trip and then staying there? Can you remember a time when a friend raved about a travel experience they had and you felt inspired to follow their lead? It turns out, these organic referrals between trusted friends happen a lot. They occur outside of Google, the OTAs and the review sites. And when they do happen, they often result in a valuable booking. In fact, a warm trusted referral from a loyal customer who already loves you is always the highest quality lead.
Moreover, this new potential guest also likely has a similar profile, similar demographics, similar spending patterns, and similar preferences to the referrer. This means this new guest is also highly likely to love your hotel and become one of your next loyal customers. How great would that be? What golden potential.
Of course, having most of your hotel filled with loyal guests, at a high rate, would be the ideal situation for any hotel. So, how do you convert happy, loyal guests into evangelists? The answer is that you give them the kind of distinguished experience that they’ll rave about. And you do that through personalization.
The Value of Personalization
We’re in a golden age of personalization. Customers expect it. According to our 2019 Marketing Benchmark Report, segmented, personalized emails perform more than three times as well as generic emails. But the reality is, most hotels aren’t doing a lot of personalization today. Not because they don’t want to, but because they don’t know where to start.
At the root of their challenge is the fact that guest data is messy and inaccessible. It’s often locked up and unusable in property management systems and other data sources. Before you can reach your dream hotel mix, you have to be able to see and know your full pool of customers. Revinate’s CRM can help. Using profile synthesis and machine learning, we’re able to ingest data from almost any system, organize it, clean and dedupe it, and finally present it in a way that’s intuitive and easy to action.
Next, you must be able to easily and intelligently segment your data so you can see who your most loyal guests are, how many times they’ve stayed, how much they’ve spent, what their preferences and habits are and how they book. Only then can you know your most valuable guests, and start to serve them in truly personalized ways.
And personalization works for corporate customers as well as leisure travelers. Business travelers have different needs and desires than leisure guests. Knowing what’s relevant for them (daily breakfast, happy hour, gym access, early check-in) and providing it or offering upsells that speak to their needs, can not only improve the guest experience but lift incremental revenue at the same time.
At Revinate, we’re striving to help you better understand guest spending behavior, across all your properties, to be more targeted with your marketing messages, whether it’s to leisure, group, or corporate travelers. The end goal is to help you be smart and successful in getting the right heads in the right beds at the right time at the right price through the best channel to maximize net revenue. In short, the goal is to make the most of every guest. The future is bright for hoteliers, powered by Revinate.
And if you aren’t currently on the Revinate Guest Data Platform, set up a demo today, or drop me a personal note.