How to Improve Guest Retention Through CRM Integration
How to Improve Guest Retention Through CRM Integration
Guest retention is one of the highest priorities for any hotel — attracting new guests costs around 15 to 20 percent of room revenue, cutting into your already-thin margins and hampering growth. If you can convince your existing guests to come back several times a year, you’ll save significantly on marketing and other acquisition costs, and your bottom line will benefit.
What a CRM Can Do For Your Hotel
A customer relationship management (CRM) tool is an excellent way to incorporate all your customers’ information into one central location. At its core, a CRM is a database — it stores all the information you need to know about each of your guests, including name, title, booking history, home town, social media profiles, interests, and billing information.
What’s more, you can use your CRM to integrate every point of contact you have with your guests. Not only will it incorporate every email, phone call, and text that comes in or out from a certain guest, but you can use all those data points to draw conclusions and find patterns in the data. You might find that people from coastal cities prefer mountain views or that people from certain zip codes spend more in the hotel restaurant. The more data you gather, the more intelligent and guest-specific your experience can be.
How to Use a CRM to Improve Guest Retention at Your Hotel
To keep guests coming back, you’ll want them to have the best possible experience at your hotel from the moment they first contact you to the moment they walk out the door at the end of their trip. One of the best ways to do that is by offering them a personalized connection wherever you can, and a CRM is the best way to accomplish that. Here are a few approaches to start with:
- Check your past bookings: go through your records and treat your past guests the way that you’d treat new guests. Your CRM will help you find your best guests based on how frequently they book, how long it’s been since they last booked, how long they stayed, and how much they spent on their previous stays. Every hotel will be different, but you’ll start to see patterns. An ideal guest might book every four months, spend $500, and stay for four nights. Using that information, you can find the guests who are most likely to book again and keep in touch with those guests as time goes on.
- Craft messaging for past interests: if your guests ordered the restaurant’s seafood special the last time they came and referenced it in their review, send them a coupon for a local seafood place. If they came to your hotel on a mountain biking trip, mention the new trail that just opened. You can keep all this information in your CRM and use it to present targeted emails and other messages to your guests.
- Look for the motivation behind booking: business travelers are looking for a break from what are often repetitive and monotonous trips. Vacationers are looking for a place to relax after a day of tourist activities. People want your hotel to feel like a sanctuary, a community, and a home away from home. Try to create a guest experience that speaks to people’s need for relationships — address them by name, offer them coffee in the mornings, and organize activities through the hotel that your guests might enjoy
- Offer the right incentives: a loyalty program is an excellent way to bring guests back for another visit. Allow them to accrue a variety of rewards that they can redeem on future trips, but don’t limit yourself to free rooms — you can also offer vouchers to local restaurants or activities, upgrades, or a free breakfast every morning of their next stay.When you offer incentives, keep track in your CRM of who’s acting on which ones so you know which incentives are the most effective. As you start to build associations between certain personas and the rewards they prefer, you can craft more personalized rewards for future guests to keep them coming back.
- Focus on feedback: guest feedback is one of the most powerful tools in your toolbox as a hotel owner or manager. Your future guests will look at reviews thoroughly before they book, and your existing and past guests will leave you actionable feedback that you can use to improve your facilities and services.With the help of a CRM, you can even use guest feedback to send personalized messages. Maybe several of your guests have complained that you don’t offer an airport shuttle service. If you decide to add an airport shuttle service, you can email those guests and mention the new airport shuttle, thus addressing their pain points specifically and incentivizing them to stay with you again.
- Automate follow-up: many CRMs can also be integrated with your email and social media services to follow up with guests on your behalf. You can reach out to your guests a day, a week, a month, or six months after they stay with perfectly tailored messaging, all without user input. Automating your outreach will help you gather positive reviews and repeat bookings by creating a connection with each guest that feels personal and individual.
The Benefits of VoIP CRM Integration
Setting up a CRM is just the first step — integrating it with your VoIP system will take your guest service offerings to the next level. Since VoIP systems are digital, they can be seamlessly connected to other software on your computer network, adding another layer of guest service to your hotel.
When your phone system is integrated with your CRM, you’ll have access to everything you already know about your guests from before you even pick up the phone. As soon as the phone rings from a previous guest, you can program a screen to pop up on the front desk computer that tells you the guest’s name, home town, the reason for their last stay, the room they stayed in, any special features they requested, and more.
With the power of a CRM and VoIP, you can answer the phone with a guest’s first name, ask them if they’d like the same room, and help them book local activities. The more you can make your guests feel at home, the more likely they are to come back!