We've teamed up with Pegasus for this two-part blog series on how to encourage guests to book direct, and simple ways to treat those guests like individuals. Part 1 talked you through 5 offers to encourage your guests to book direct - now, in Part 2, Pegasus will follow on with tips on upping your service by treating guests like individuals.
If guest service is king, guest personalisation is queen.
It's hard to underestimate the value of being treated like a guest, rather than an anonymous hotel customer. We can all appreciate when people anticipate our needs by offering extra towels, wifi password reminders, or information about local activities that matter to us.
A recent study found that 68% of travellers said they saw little to no difference between hotel chains, and only slightly over half of consumers said they were willing to pay a 10% premium to stay in their favourite hotel. If guests enjoyed a more personalised experience, would they be less price-focused and more service-focused during their next booking?
With increasingly capable, dynamic technology, it’s becoming easier to customize booking engines, websites and services. Here are 3 ways to do it well:
1. Know your guest
Start by evaluating how you utilise your website. Does it speak to your prospective guests and customise offers wherever possible? And how about your internal systems, are you utilising them to personalise guest service?
Modern hotel property management systems (PMS) feature built-in note-taking areas that can be used by staff to track guest preferences and contact information. Taking that concept one step further, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software allows you to track even more guest information in an automated fashion. Whether tracking guest preferences in a PMS, or using a CRM, many hotels can improve how they use this goldmine of information to enhance the guest’s connection to their property.
Hotels are also increasingly using cookies to help communicate with their prospective guests. While cookies can be complicated, they’re essentially a bit of data generated by a website and stored by the user’s web browser, allowing visibility into other websites the user has visited. Employing cookies means hotels can infer preferences and shopping behaviours, and tailor ads and offers to prospective guests — increasing the odds they book on their site.
2. Personalise the booking experience - and provide price comparisons
Guests want to book rooms online that fit their needs. They also want to see how the room rates listed on a hotel website compare against prices they see on other sites. Triptease's Price Check does just that – it sits on a hotel’s website and displays prices from across the web in real time. The idea is to communicate directly with guests about your pricing, reducing uncertainty and increasing the chances the guest books directly with you.
Your booking engine should also align with your website, and any guest information stored in a PMS or CRM. If your guest books a repeat visit, it should auto-fill information from the previous stay. When guests can compare your rate to the OTAs’ on your website, they are more likely to feel comfortable and confident to book right then on your website. It’s convenient, it’s informative, and above all else, it’s personal.
3. Stay in touch
Advances in technology have revolutionised the hotel industry but there’s no substitute for good old fashioned service. Guests appreciate gestures that surprise and delight them. For example, maybe your guests receive a complimentary cup of coffee or espresso when they check in. Maybe they receive a voucher for $10 off at the café. After their visit, follow-up with your guests via email and ask them to review their stay. This is also a good time to offer incentives to encourage guests to book again.
Want to learn more about how to tailor your website and booking engine to increase booking conversions? Find out more from Pegasus.