Everything is personalized these days: from your iPhone case to your Facebook settings, to Google algorithms ranking results to suit your location and previous searches. Even ordering a coffee at Starbucks has become an art in individualization. It comes as no surprise, then, that guests expect this kind of personalization in their hotel stays. And so, it is up to hoteliers to offer personalized guest experiences in order to attract guests and to keep them coming back.
“Norm!” We all love the feeling of being known and welcomed in that Cheers kind of way. But providing personalized service is more than knowing your guests by name. It’s leaving a bottle of wine in the room of a couple celebrating their anniversary, or knowing that Ms. Smith enjoys a fresh cup of coffee brought to her room as part of her wake-up call.
In this way, you can provide customer service that is intuitive to your guests’ needs and connect with them on the kind of emotional level that builds loyalty to your property. This is how luxury travel is defined in the 21st century according to this recent ehotelier.com article. Luxury is less about amenities and more about personal attention and care, making it an intrinsic value guests expect. Personalized service makes guests not only feel welcome, but valued, leaving them to feel good about themselves, creating an emotional bond between you and your guests. This is the type of bond that creates guest loyalty, bringing them back time and time again.
How do you provide unique individualized offerings without hiring private detectives and spending a fortune in the name of personalized service? It’s easier and more economical than you think.
First, small and boutique properties have an advantage over large chain hotels as not only is the customer base smaller, but larger brands must rely on service and amenity standardization to stay true to their brand.
Second, any extra expense incurred by offering personalized services and amenities can be incorporated into room rates because guests are willing to pay a premium for this type of satisfaction. Remember, the emotional connection personalization creates is a value-added amenity. Plus, satisfied guests lead to positive recommendations. In this article on personalized service and perceived value, providing such outstanding guest service can translate into guests who share their positive experiences with friends and family and on social networking and review sites. Word-of-mouth advertising is priceless.
But providing exceptional personalized service at the luxury level does not necessarily mean an increased cost to the hotelier either, as it is not all about amenities but rather bespoke experiences. It could mean hosts meeting guests at the front door equipped with iPads to check guests in with a few quick taps as they do at the Andaz Wall Street; leaving a chocolate bar in the room double wrapped with a personalized wrapper printed off from your own printer; or part of the reservation process could include asking about preferred room temperature, ready set for their arrival. Little touches like this can be standardized in hotel processes at little expense.
PMS for Personalization
Whether offering standardized personalized services or more bespoke offerings, a property management system (PMS) is the cost-effective solution that allows you to easily keep track of all your guests’ personalized preferences and provides a system for delivering those individualized services and amenities. WebRezPro offers just that in addition to interfacing with a host of systems, giving you and your guests access to unparalleled personalization. Let’s call it the extra-hot venti caramel macchiato of personalized guest services.
WebRezPro has the ability to collect guest profiles, send pre- and post-stay emails, set pop-up reminders for staff, flag VIPs and more. Use the guest folio option to enter personal guest details to remind staff to provide an extra pillow, express an anniversary wish or offer to make dinner reservations.
WebRezPro offers a variety of system interfaces for increased guest personalization. Start with listening to what your guests are saying. An article on the Path to Personalization says that your customers are leaving digital trails across a variety of social media platforms, blogs and review sites. WebRezPro integrates with Revinate, a reputation management platform that uses social media listening tools to find out what people are saying about your property. It also collects and analyzes guest feedback, allowing you to leverage customer data to improve overall guest experience.
Guest personalization can also be enhanced with in-room entertainment integration. For example, guests are looking to relax at the end of the day. After a cocktail in the lounge (perhaps complimentary) they want to just kick-off their shoes and chill in-room. Customize this experience with a PMS Entertainment System interface. We’re past Video on Demand options. Software integrations like Sonifi Solutions and roomioTV provide interactive channel guides, Netflix access, cross-device content, and even guest apps such as for in-room dining. This is all leading up to the ability to provide customized in-room entertainment packages based on guest folio information.
With WebRezPro, you have the capacity to set up various booking options as part of the reservation process. You can offer your guests the opportunity to personalize their stay with chocolates or spa treatments, for example, via options that can be selected within the room booking form. The Booking Options feature can also be used to gather more information about the guest, such as whether they need an airport pickup.
WebRezPro also offers an optional ActivityEngine module for properties that run scheduled tours and activities, allowing guests to book an excursion along with their accommodation and customize their own stay-and-play experience. When a guest books a tour, it can be a great opportunity to offer further personalization; how about including a selection of complimentary fly hooks to go with the fishing trip your guest booked?
Flexible Rate Setup
Value-added packages are popular with hoteliers and guests alike. WebRezPro offers you the ability to set up tailored packages that can add value (or perceived value) to your guests’ stays. Romance packages can include wine and chocolate-covered strawberries at a rate that incorporates additional expenses. And here’s your chance to add that personal touch with a hand-written card or a complimentary coupon for the restaurant. During shoulder seasons, packages may include free room upgrades. These kinds of packages are easy to set up in WebRezPro with unlimited rate changes, “day-of-week” pricing, daily overrides, and a variety of rate setup options.
Mobile PMS with Electronic Signature Capture
WebRezPro is optimized for mobile devices so it works seamlessly on iPads (or other tablets) allowing you to actually meet your guests at the front door (or wherever) and provide timelier service throughout their stay. Along with the handy electronic signature capture feature, you can offer a paperless guest check in that is efficient and mobile.
We all know that it’s the guests that are the reason for operating a hotel in the first place. Make sure your guests know they are valued by providing truly personalized service that keeps them coming back for more.
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