Winning guest loyalty in today’s extremely competitive market is more challenging than ever, but hotel technology is always evolving to meet that challenge. From mobile keys to chatbots to room control apps, technology that once seemed futuristic is being used by guests in hotels today—albeit mostly at big-brand properties.
While such technology will become more accessible to independent properties in time, smaller hotels have the power to win guests with technology they already have.
Earning guest loyalty is about fulfilling the guest’s emotional needs from their stay, not impressing them with flash gadgets. If you make guests feel welcome and valued and contented, you’ll win their hearts and future business.
Woo Them with Your Website
A property website is the cornerstone of any hotel’s digital marketing strategy and, by now, most properties have one. Is yours bringing website visitors through your property’s doors?
Your website is often the first point of contact guests will have with your property, so the first step to winning them over is by providing an authentic, user-friendly experience online.
Let current design trends guide the look and feel of your website with big, beautiful images, compelling copy and intuitive navigation that seamlessly combines to tell your property’s unique story. But be sure to portray an accurate representation of your property and the stay experience; building up guest expectations online just to dash them at the door only results in disappointed guests who won’t come back (and might leave bad reviews).
As most internet traffic now comes from mobile devices, it’s essential your hotel website is mobile friendly to give your customers a seamless user experience across devices. And that includes your online booking engine. Today’s consumers have come to expect the convenience of purchasing almost anything they want, whenever they want, online. Your online booking engine must provide an intuitive, user-friendly and secure booking process across all devices to convert website visitors into paying guests.
Win Them Over with Great Customer Service
As the control center of hotel operations, your property management system (PMS) is crucial to delivering great customer service. From reservation confirmations to guest check-in to housekeeping, modern PMS centralize and automate data to streamline daily workflow for higher efficiency that results in smooth service delivery and more time to focus on guests.
For example, a PMS’ integrated housekeeping module centralizes data between the housekeeping and front desk departments, showing front desk staff which rooms are ready for check-in, and housekeeping staff which rooms have been vacated and are ready for cleaning—in real time—ensuring no guest is checked into an unclean room. Such data transparency helps staff serve guests faster and more effectively.
A modern PMS also allows hotels to collect guest data in reservation folios and guest profiles for the purpose of personalizing the guest experience, from recognizing repeat guests and rewarding their loyalty to identifying guest preferences and personalizing communications.
Make use of your PMS’ inbuilt housekeeping and reservation alarms, flags or pop-up reminders to provide the kind of attentive service that will win guests over, whether granting a guest’s request for extra pillows, or leaving a complimentary bottle of wine for the couple celebrating their anniversary.
A feature of most PMS for independent hotels today, automated guest emails are a simple yet effective way to personalize the guest experience and earn guest loyalty. Using reservation data, automated emails are triggered by designated parameters (including booking and reservation dates and room and rate types), resulting in highly targeted communications that are relevant to recipients. Pre-arrival emails provide a prime opportunity to ask customers about any special requests or requirements regarding their upcoming stay, allowing you to anticipate their needs and showing guests you care.
Wow Them with Extras
Surprising and delighting guests is a sure way to win their loyalty, and doesn’t take high-tech gadgets to do so.
For today’s travelers, though, it does mean fast, reliable WiFi. While wireless internet is no longer an extra but a necessity (free WiFi is the number one preferred hotel amenity among travelers), a strong WiFi connection is appreciated and noted by guests, especially those who have experienced frustrating connections at other hotels.
Beyond good WiFi, delighting guests is aided by high-touch rather than high-tech efforts and goes hand in hand with personalizing the guest experience. A vital tool for delivering great customer service, modern PMS empower hoteliers to go the extra mile for their guests.
Using guest data contained in the PMS, hotel staff can anticipate guest needs and tailor repeat stays to past preferences. Whether it’s a simple note welcoming a guest back, or complimentary safe snacks for a guest with food allergies, thoughtful personal touches go a long way in earning loyalty.
PMS with built-in POS functionality and a flexible online booking engine that accommodates add-ons or booking options, allow properties to offer guests the option of tailoring their stay with on-demand extras purchased during their stay or at the time of booking. From wine and chocolates to spa treatments and activities, the ready availability of ancillary services and products can elevate the guest experience and contribute to your property’s wow factor.
Winning the hearts of your guests is all about how your property makes them feel. If you make things easy for them (like booking a room, checking in and accessing great amenities), and make them feel valued through attentive and personalized service, they’ll be back. With a great website and user-friendly online booking engine, a modern property management system and, of course, fast WiFi, your property is already well-equipped to win loyal guests.