As most accommodation business’ would know; when a guest books through a third party distribution channel you received very limited information about the actual guest e.g. no email address, date of birth, reason for travel etc. therefore, with the limited information it can be very hard to determine the guest segment or category. Most Accommodation providers have accepted this and merely welcome the bookings from the distribution channels.
What most accommodation providers don’t realise is how Important guest data actually is and why they should be capturing it when gusst check-in and again when they checkout! It is as simple as giving the guest an information form to fill out on check-in, then giving them the same form on checkout with their information pre-filled for them to double check. This information should them be put into the property CRM.
If you haven’t already read the previous targeting blog it’s a must read for any Accommodation Provider.
How can guest data improve your Accommodation Business?
A large percentage of our bookings come from OTA’s and there is nothing wrong with that however, every Hotelier loves direct bookings – you would be crazy if you didn’t love direct commission free bookings! The question is how do you get more? First step to direct bookings is to capture guest’s data. Every month or so email your guest list with special offers and promotions, entice past guests to book direct at your property. – Ever better if you can create a loyalty program, that way guests have committed themselves to marketing messages and promotions and you are less likely to get unsubscribes.
Targeted Marketing and Personalization
General or blanket marketing messages are fine to use in some circumstances however, most of the time prospective guests will delete them before they even opening them. – These marketing messages are often perceived as spam.
Targeted marketing is a completely different game; all of a sudden prospective guests are enticed by their name in an email and actually find the content they are receiving relevant. Why? If your are correctly capturing your guests information you know they are a family or they travel a lot for work, maybe during their last stay they uses the Spa facilities and had a Facial and massage. – All this information is extremely useful. This information should then be reflected in the marketing messages you send past guests e.g.
Last time you stayed with us you had the “deluxe facial”. This week we are having a buy one get one free special for you and your significant other when you book a deluxe room this month.
A few things happened here:
1. Reminding the guest of their luxurious facial they had last time they stayed.
2. Asking them to come again and experience the same facial
3. Inviting their “significant other” to experience your services
4. Encouraging your past guest to stay again however, this time in a better room.
5. Urgency, they only have till the end of this month to book so they will be encouraged quickly.
If the customer truly loved their experience last time there is an extremely high chance that they will book again. – Capturing data and using it the correct way truly makes a big difference.
All business not only accommodation providers should focus a large amount of energy on improving and bettering their business. Luckily for accommodation providers we have fabulous tools such as Tripadvisor, Booking.com and Expedia reviews at our disposal. Quite often guests will review when they are unsatisfied or annoyed at something, yes that’s true but they also review when they have had an above and beyond experience and want to spread the word.
It’s imperative to take all reviews on board and of course respond to everyone’s reviews – even the negative comments. Take the negative comments on board and learn from your mistakes, it is important you remedy the issues so it does not happened again. All staff should be aware of both positive and negative reviews, that way everyone is aware of their strengths and weaknesses.