Our habits and expectations have changed, in some ways drastically, over the last few years.
A recent article from Accor identifies a number of trends that will dominate the hospitality industry over the coming years. For example, the blending of work and leisure (56% of people worldwide have or are considering staying in places a few extra days to work remotely during weekends or holidays away from home, according to an Accor research among workers in 7 countries). 'Wellbeing' in all its forms will also play a huge role in what kind of holidays people decide to take (77% of all consumers take steps in daily life to stay healthy, such as eating with moderation, getting exercise and managing stress). So will conscious living and consuming (85% of people indicate they are prepared to rethink the way they live and spend to tackle climate change).
Let yourself be aware of this shift in consumer mindset as we move on to discussing the benefits of a CRM system for your business.
Firstly, what is a CRM system?
A CRM system is a popular software solution that aids in the management of leads, marketing, sales, and sales teams. A hotel CRM system, on the other hand, is a specialist CRM created specifically for the hotel business.
CRM enables hotel management to meet customer expectations. In addition to handling leads, CRM also aids in managing loyalty programs, customer feedback, and, most importantly, a 360-degree overview of customer data and interactions
A CRM system should help with you with your guest-relationship management. It should also help you to manage the needs of your guest. By bringing all of your guest data together into one place (who are they, where are they from, what are their preferences, what segment are they in, how many times have they stayed with you before etc) it should help you communicate more easily with guests based on their individual habits/preferences, by allowing you to segment their data and personalise communications.
The point is to keep your guests coming back again and again. As a hotelier, your CRM system should help you, not hinder you. It doesn’t take away from real time with guests – rather, it should actually help to strengthen your relationships with them by strengthening your understanding of who they are and what they want.
Personalisation has become a necessity. It's no longer effective to send blanket mails out to your entire database – segment and target your audiences by using things like gender, age, frequency of stays etc. You have the power to segment your contacts and use personalised messaging to engage your readers.
What are the benefits of a CRM system?
A CRM system can:
- Give you a greater understanding of your guests
- Give you an opportunity to build relationships with guests that last
- Give you an insight into how they book and what channels they book from
- Give you an opportunity to see if guests are engaging with your hotel’s marketing efforts
Hotels naturally tend to have bits and pieces of data scattered across different departments. The great thing about a CRM system is that it will unify all of this data, allowing you to segment properly and create more targeted and personalised campaigns. This is the real highlight of a CRM system.
Like all of your tech, your CRM system will need to integrate with your booking engine. (You can learn more about our award winning booking engine here, in case you are interested). In your hotel, various data is probably gathered by many different members of staff. You need everyone on the team to understand the importance of getting the right information from guests, and storing it in the right place. Make sure you explain why it’s important. Get buy in from everyone. If staff understand that it translates back into more revenue for your hotel, meaning everyone reaps the benefits, you will run into less issues.
Healthy, positive engagement with your guests all starts with data. We can’t stress this enough. Having the right data about your guests will help – their names, email addresses, where they live, what are some of their preferences, etc. The more information you have, the better, more personalised and targeted campaigns you can create, and hopefully you will attract guests with these campaigns going forward.
Can you do all this without a CRM system? You can… but segmenting data manually will take up useful, precious man power that could be better utilised elsewhere.
Your CRM system should have the following:
- Quotation management
- Activity logs
- A capable Hotel CRM dashboard
- CRM personalization and adaptability
- Hosting flexibility
- Lead generation from all sources
- Marketing Capabilities
- IVR and telephony integration
- Data quality and deduplication
- Ticketing and helpdesk
- Notifications and escalations
What about GDPR?
Some hoteliers might get a knot in their stomach when GDPR comes up in relation to guest data. But - if you think about it - GDPR is actually a good thing. It makes you genuinely review who is engaging with your communications, and helps you sift through the people who aren’t interested. The goal is not to gain thousands upon thousands of email addresses belonging to people who are not interested in hearing from you. This only leads to unsubscribes, which doesn’t bode well for your performance. The goal is to target people who are genuinely interested in your hotel, and to communicate with them in a personalised way, that strengthens your relationship. Make them want to come back.
To build your hotel tech stack efficiently, read our expert blog here.