A hotel’s personalization of service is the key to create an unforgettable experience for guests. A personalized hotel experience goes beyond the kind of amenities you have or discounts in store. What makes a hotel’s guest experience such an important subject? Independent hotel owners competing with larger brands need to set themselves apart from the competition. This is a surefire way to gain repeat guests and position your property right.
With advancements in technology, you can sell your hotel guest experience to keep travelers engaged at your independent property. Guest personalization in the hotel industry goes beyond addressing your guest by a name. And, any business that is about customers is definitely in the people business!
An immersive experience holds value even for guests who prioritize hotel bookings over the pricing factor. Guest personalization in the hotel industry is therefore the buzzword that continues to dominate the US market this year. This is no longer an option – it is mandatory for independent hotels to deliver personalized experiences. It is anticipated that our digital universe would have grown by 2020*. (From 4.4. Zettabytes today to 44 zettabytes.) You shouldn’t really be worried about the shortage of guest data. According to a report by Google, guests are showing preference to book on their smartphones (79%) which also indicates the need to adopt technologies to reach your target group across the globe.
*Source – www.pure360.com/power-personalisation-travel-industry/
How independent hotel owners can provide a personalized hotel experience in 3 easy ways
A personalized hotel experience is often misunderstood as a complicated process which burns a hole in the wallet. However, there are different ways to personalize guest experience without increasing your costs. All you need to do is listen to what your guests have to say to discover endless opportunities to serve them better.
Let’s take a quick look at how your hotel can add the personal touch to create to the ‘wow’ factor.
Ways to Personalize your Hotel Guest Experience
Know your guests. Find out what they want. Chances are, you’ll have all your answers. You need to use various methods to deliver a fantastic hotel customer experience using the right ideas, tools, and technologies.
1) Data Magic
So, a personalized guest experience isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Pay attention to your guests, even if you have thousands to deal with at your hotel. Can this be done manually? The answer is no!
You not only require data, you need to decode it as well. You need to capture data that works best for you and is stored in your database. You can use forms, surveys, track website browsing behavior, loyalty programs (type of points redeemed), and more. Technology makes this process a whole lot easier.
Quick Tip: The inclusion of a property management system (PMS) allows independent hoteliers to record and store data for future use. Data analysis is equally important to clean and transform your data to discover more in the guest behavior patterns. A PMS includes detailed reports for easy analysis.
Here’s a quick example of personalized guest experience:
1) Before the stay: Targeted advertisements are best suited for potential guests. Your content and marketing communication must be relevant and should drive them to your site.
2) During the stay: Recommend activities or services as per the preferences of the guest (Outdoor activity for adventure-seeking travelers.)
3) After the stay: Send automated emails that ask relevant questions to check if their stay was satisfactory, ordinary or beyond expectations.
Focus on every opportunity to use your data, know your guest better and provide a personalized hotel experience that creates a lasting impression. Different travelers have varied priorities and preferences. It’s relevant communication that makes the difference.
2) Orchestrate Technologies
Hyatt has shown preference for automated solutions to provide an impressive personalized guest experience for each and every guest. With the implementation of technology, staff are left with more time to interact with customers. Marriott created virtual reality pods for customers to step into the property virtually and make a reservation on the spot!
Hotel owners who have not yet embraced technology struggle with using the full potential of personalization. Technical barriers due to the legacy systems and improper data centralization limit the ability to understand customer data, feedback. This also prevents adaptation to new methods and subsequently, branding of the hotel.
Quick Tip: Modern property management systems and software have a host of features beneficial for the independent hotels. Data collection, addition of notes, sharing of guest data with hotel staff, automated mailers and more is possible with a PMS.
Here’s a quick example of personalized guest experience:
1) You have a repeat business traveller. You can easily store his/her guest data to ensure you allot a room as per preferences. Include add-on services such as a free conference room to make him/her happy. streamline the stay.
2) Customizing the food as per tastes without the repeat guest needing to constantly remind your staff for every visit only adds a personal touch.
3) Automated emails that collect feedback saves time for the busy front desk staff. This also gives enough data to understand where your hotel can improve. Your marketing efforts must deliver unique messaging tailored to a guest’s prior experience.
*Source – https://blog.thatagency.com/hotel-marketing-trends-2018
1) Are there any unique ways a guest can check-in, book rooms or use add on services?
2) How easy is the process for a guest?
3) What value can you provide as per the type of the guest?
These questions will help to determine details.
Quick Tip: As an independent hotel owner, providing better service to guests is simplified with the use of a cloud-based PMS. It’s all about smart hoteliering.
Once your staff is liberated from mundane routine work, they can take the guest experience one notch higher to interact with travelers as we’ll see next.
3) Make the personal connect
A personal connect is important for guest personalization in the hotel industry. While smart technologies simplify the process, engaging people with a warm and welcoming behavior will always make a strong impression. The personal touch is the heart and soul of the hospitality industry.
Use the personal connect to –
1) Develop a strong trust-based relationship.
2) Seek constant feedback. Don’t wait for the stay to get over, ask questions even during the stay.
3) Ensure your manager pays careful attention and monitor’s guests’ behavior to provide an impeccable service.
Quick Tip:It’s important to listen and then understand to improve personal guest experience. Recording experiences in a PMS allows staff to access details anytime, anywhere.
Independent hotels that focus on personalized hotel experience can even attract customers willing to go premium for a high level of service. If you have any questions, we’d be happy to answer.