Building relationships with your guests is much like going on a blind date; so unpredictable, but so much potential. First, your matchmaking friend paints you a picture through general information; who they are, where they’re from, what they do, why they are perfect for you. You start to form an idea of what they’re like, but you need more information. So, you meet and begin to gather your own intel to complete the profile. Do their interests, needs and wants match yours? Is there a future for the two of you? Every little piece of data you collect helps you to understand them more, and if all goes well a second date might be on the cards.
Unfortunately, hotels don’t have the luxury to be a serial dater, they need to keep turning one-off customers into a long-term relationship; it costs more to find new customers, than it does to keep the old ones coming back. Therefore, establishing meaningful relationships with your guests is important in creating loyalty. Establishing a relationship with your guests and generating loyalty is all about trust; trust built through give and take, conversation and shared interest. The goal is to ensure your guest wants a second date with your hotel, so how does data help get them there?
Meaningful data = Meaningful Relationships
Can you have a meaningful date if you just talk about yourself all the time? Not likely. So how can you have a meaningful conversation with your guest without collecting meaningful data?
Conversing with your guests and arming your hotel with data allows you to have meaningful conversations with them. Meaningful conversations help the guest to trust you, and trust begets loyalty.
Here’s an example of a guest experience and how it can differ with the application of a bit of cheeky data:
Mr Jones is a fan of classic cars. For the past 10 years, he’s gone to the classic car show in the city and stays the weekend at whatever hotel has rooms – he isn’t fussy. His wife books his room through whichever online travel agent gives her the cheapest price. So, each year the reservation is sent to the hotels and the only contact details they have is Mr Jones’ name and phone number.
How do you piece together a picture of this guest? What do you really know about Mr Jones other than the fact that there are a couple of reservations, that might be for the same person who stayed and spent X amount of money. How do you leverage such fragmented information to get the guest to return?
This year Mr Jones finds himself at hotel at which he sporadically visits if the price is right. This time, a reservations agent has taken a moment search for any previous bookings for Mr Jones and finds that he has had three past visits, always for the same dates; the profiles are merged to help connect his guest history. When Mr Jones arrives at the hotel, he is pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a friendly smile and a “Welcome Back”, something that hasn’t happened before. The bubbly agent checking him in proceeds to ask him if he is here for any of the events on at the Convention Centre next door, and so he gives up his reason for staying. As she is setting up his key, she asks for an email address to which his bill can be sent to at the end of his stay, and whether he would like his work or home address to be on the final bill and to confirm the correct address.
It doesn’t seem like much, but by collecting this information the hotel can begin to personalise and target their guests with relevant and meaningful communication, because without relevance or meaning, how can you spark the interest of your guests?
Part 2: Creating Value & Loyalty explores how data can create value for Mr Jones to ensure that he comes back again this year.
It should go without saying that your CRM software is critical to the process; it is the hub of data-driven communication after all. We are beyond excited to announce a slick new look and user experience for our CRM platform – dataArc. Click here to stay up to date with news on the unveiling.