Building and maintaining strong guest relationships is essential to a modern hotel’s success, especially for independent hotels without access to constant technology upgrades and endless marketing budgets.
A recent report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index Travel Report indicates that, while guests love hotel websites, there’s much less love for hotel loyalty programmes. At a time when such a strong book direct movement is taking shape, low satisfaction with loyalty programmes should ring some alarms.
So how can you make sure that your hotel, at least, has an all-star track record with building guest loyalty? This week we read some great guides on ways to build those relationships. Key themes were:
- Building trust among first-time guests through your reviews and content
- Developing your hotel’s USPs to keep those guests coming back
- Using email to send them offers tailored to their interests and increase familiarity
Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in.
American Customer Satisfaction Index Travel Report 2016: Travelers More Satisfied with Airlines and Internet Travel Services; Hotels Have Room for Improvement
“The lack of differentiation among Internet travel companies means the real competition is with the websites of hotels and airlines,” says Claes Fornell, ACSI founder and Chairman. “Consumers like the convenience of one-stop shopping for their travel needs, but online booking sites reduce revenue for airlines and hotels by charging them commission. Airlines and hotels have tried to lessen the appeal of Internet travel sites by eliminating loyalty perks for those who book through a third party and by providing a better online experience on their own sites.”
Well, is it working?
Many hoteliers collect and analyze data, but not everyone knows how to use their insights to set goals and objectives for their team. When it comes to your online reputation, knowing what to look at is the first step in making sure you’re putting your best foot forward online.
Check out these KPIs to set realistic goals, involve all members of your team, and obtain a deeper understanding of how you’re performing in the eyes of your guests.
Content marketing is more than a buzzword. It’s an important part of your hotel’s marketing strategy. Simply put, it’s the creation and distribution of valuable assets, such as videos, blog posts, and e-newsletters, as marketing tools to attract and retain customers.
For hotels and other accommodation providers, these assets showcase your property’s unique story and brand. They attract your target guests, influence them to book a stay, and retain them as repeat guests.
Creating emails that get responses is an incredibly valuable skill for marketers. Responses in the hotel email marketing world typically equate to directly attributable revenue – direct bookings, upgrades, amenity purchases, and more.
They can also drive engagement and develop a rapport with guests who have booked with you in the past, and make them more likely to book again in the future. But, what makes an email likely to get a response?
What’s the secret sauce?
A good book direct strategy is near the top of most hotelier’s list this year. Book direct campaigns from Marriott and Hilton are making headlines, and the focus of the industry as a whole is pivoting to look at booking direct as the way to grow profit margins.
Competition in the hospitality industry is at an all-time high, and it is only going to get fiercer. If hotels want to outdo sharing sites like Airbnb and, more importantly (at least for now), their competitor sets, they need to be doing everything they can to optimise their online presence and drive direct bookings.