The lodging industry has always led the way in the implementation of customer relationship management (CRM) programs and their applications. Crucially, these have enabled hotels to benefit from information about their guests by developing loyalty programs aimed at retaining customers and strengthening brand loyalty. Manal Syriani, managing director, WAY Consultants, shows us how the right strategy can benefit your hotel.
At its core, a CRM system aggregates customer information collected throughout the guest stay at a hotel and uses this information to improve services and offerings in key target markets. In addition, CRM assists in the development of programs that reward guests for their loyalty.
The hospitality industry is also the motivator for service providers to enhance their programs and provide constant upgrades for their modules and features. In addition, the ability of hotels to collect customer metrics and behaviors throughout their interaction with the different services contributes to the success of such programs.
While the hospitality industry has benefited from such systems, many strategies could still be implemented to further refine the customer experience:
- An integrated system
One such strategy is to widen the spectrum of the customer data collection to cover purchasing behavior in all outlets, including F&B, retail, spa, gym, entertainment and others. The concierge service could also provide key information on guests’ preferences for activities around the city where the hotel is located. This information could prove to be essential for the development of new products and services, and will provide information for the development of packages per target segment.
- External integrations
With the development of social media platforms, additional information about guests could be collected from these sources to enhance profiling and, in turn, personalize guests’ in-house experiences.
- Emotional intelligence
With the development of CRM’s analytical abilities, hotels could benefit from starting to collect feedback on guests’ emotional subtext during their stay. Emotional reactions could result from the consumption of specific products or be linked to the guest’s general emotional state during their stay at the hotel. Attaching emotions to products will assist in shaping consumer behavior and the resulting experience, if feedback is used effectively.
- Maintain personalized interactions
Maintaining personalized contact with guests, even in the current electronic and digital age, is crucial to the essence of service. Moments of truth (customer interactions) are still at the core of the hospitality business.
Other out-of-the-box strategies have been adopted by certain brands to meet guests’ expectations and, in some instances, to drive up sales. Some of those strategies include:
- Furnishing the room with choices of accessories and/or with makeup options for guests attending special events or wedding.
- Providing optional jackets or coats for guests coming from warm regions, who are most likely to forget to bring their own jackets.
- Supplying the room with optional evening gowns or tuxedos as an option, as well for resorts or leisure groups. This gesture could boost sales for retail brands at the hotel.
- Providing guests with a limited selection of board games, books and similar entertainment in destinations that might be affected by extreme weather which could limit customers’ ability to venture out.
Ultimately, the success of any CRM system relies on the ability of management to translate data into actionable steps that serve to meet guests’ preferences.