The guest experience and hospitality goes hand in hand. Given the current state of hospitality, it has become as important as ever to offer world class service. We previously touched on why a personalized hotel guest experience was one of the 3 main pillars of hotel customer service and in today’s article, we dive deeper into why and how.
First, to understand why it’s so important, we’ll talking about the few reasons why attitudes towards travel have changed in light of the ongoing global pandemic:
It’s risky: The risks with traveling nowadays were never things we thought about before the pandemic. Now, even leaving your house to see a friend seems like a risk. And we’re not just talking about the risk of catching Covid. There’s a risk of the monetary and logistics of traveling. What if the borders close by the time you leave on our trip?
It’s stressful: Booking a trip and taking a vacation never was this stressful before. Constant flight changes, worrying about travel requirements and restrictions, booking and paying for Covid testing and multiple centers… a traveler must really weigh the pros and cons when considering travelling now.
And despite all this, it’s needed.
Being cooped up for over a year has not been friendly to our mental health. But even more than that, being separated from loved ones and family has taken its toll and the desire to reconnect or just simply to be away from home is at a tipping point. The need to getaway is higher than ever and people are ready, despite the above mentioned stress and risk of travelling.
With the stakes being higher, the moment your guest presses “book” or steps into your lobby, it’s go-time. Giving a personalized hotel guest experience will give them a better experience overall, which will lead to positive reviews/brand reputation, which will in turn, drive up bookings into the future.
Now let’s talk about how.
6 tips to create a personalized hotel guest experience
Having a personalized hotel guest experience really depends on your tech stack. By leveraging technology, you can offer on-time, relevant and seamless personalization without it becoming a huge time-consuming task.
With the world going touchless – here are 6 tips on how to leverage your tech to offer a contactless personalized hotel guest experience:
1 – A virtual concierge
An online chatbot is a great way to facilitate communication with your guests when they are needing information, requesting room service or maintenance, or even when they are asking about recommendations nearby. You can program many automated responses based on what your guests ask and it’s a great way for your guests to stay in touch while they’re out and about as well.
2 – Don’t overshare
Going above and beyond for your guests by offering world class service is the goal, but we also don’t want to go too overboard with communication while doing so. Make sure to be sending only relevant communication to your guests by accurately capturing guest data and segmenting appropriately in your CRM. Properly segmenting your guests and customer personas, you’ll be able to effectively communicate relevant information to each group, and not overwhelm (or annoy) your guests.
3 – Virtual booking assistant
You can design a more personalized hotel guest experience by integrating your chatbook to your booking engine, so your guests can book a reservation simply by messaging the chatbot. This will definitely be something that your guests aren’t used to seeing and will leave an impression because of how easy it is. This not only personalizes their experience, but will also drive direct bookings to your website.
4 – Pre-trip communication
Ensure your guests are being communicated to before they arrive at your hotel.
Pre-trip communication should include a warm welcome, pertinent details to their booking, and an opportunity to upsell and gather more information to further personalize their stay. For example, including a couple questions like purpose of their stay, activities they like to do and general interests like sports, or wine/beer. This will allow you to send relevant information on local attractions and activities, or set-up a complimentary gift in the event they might be celebrating something.
These are all things guests remember and appreciate.
5 – Offer personal communication channels
Messaging services are the new norm when it comes to communicating with guests. WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are great ways for your guests to communicate with the front desk, especially with the younger generations now making up the segment with the largest spending on travel.
Your guests will also have more incentive to respond to things like post-trip surveys, or simple feedback about their visit with this type of messaging. It’s quicker and more efficient than email and you’ll be able to capture more data if it’s properly integrated with your other systems.
6 – Returning guests are just as important as new guests
Repeat guests should be treasured like gold and treated as such. You’ll be able to see when a guest has visited in the past in your CRM. You will also be able to see other relevant notes like specific preferences or things they purchased during their last stay. Use this information and personalize their next visit to make it just that much more special. If they booked a wine tour on their last visit for example, leave a bottle of wine from one of the wineries in their room for their arrival. It’s a great touch, memorable, and you’ll most likely be seeing them again when they visit next time.
The world as we know it changed at the beginning of Covid. Social distancing and a contactless approach to almost anything is the world we live in today. Hotels’ making the most of this situation by utilizing their tech are coming out on top. Travel is risky and complicated, so by offering a personalized hotel guest experience, your customers will feel appreciated – making it worth their while to stay with you during a time like this.