Category: Data strategy

4 pillars of personalization for hotels

You just know it when it’s right. Welcome back, Casey, your room with a terrace on the 20th floor is ready – would you like us to reserve a facial at the spa again for you? That feels like the hotel knows me, in the best way possible. But when they don’t recognize me at the front desk and I’ve been there 20x? Or used my data in a way that feels invasive? Not a good look either.

With a treasure trove of data to collect and analyze and a myriad of technology systems, hotels are well positioned to deliver nuanced personalization that makes guests feel at home and known. It all starts with the strategy that guides every element. How will your team execute, regardless of the program or interaction? To help guide you, today we’re offering up 4 core pillars for hotels mapping out their personalization programs.

Make it subtle & seamless

Guests should be able to see the value in sharing their preferences. Personalization can be as simple as a friendly “Hello, Jane!” message, but there are so many more sophisticated, innovative options that can encourage guests to share the subtle touches that keep them happy. Imagine allowing your guests to set their preferred temperature for a room even before they arrive, and having the system remember those preferences at whatever property they stay at in the same chain. Or, as Hilton announced, allowing guests to upload their art and photos to display in their room. Subtle touches that encourage guests to share their preferences make them feel at ease with sharing their data. Guests can sense when something is wrong, from when their data is being used in a manner that feels invasive to recognizing that their repeatedly preferred options are being ignored. The right CRM can help make sure the process of personalization is streamlined, accurate, and, from a guest’s perspective, completely seamless.

Show you listen to preferences, likes & dislikes

Repeat guests are a godsend. Not only have they proven their loyalty to your hotel, they’ve already told you what they like. Every choice a guest makes is a valuable data point. The right CRM platform, especially when used in conjunction with tools like Cendyn’s eNgage guest intelligence solution, can unlock the power of your hotel’s data so the information is right at your staff’s fingertips. With robust personalization tools, you can intelligently guide staff so that they are well prepared to have meaningful interactions with guests throughout their guest journey. Upselling is definitely an important part of that, but just as important is the ability to make repeat guests feel like staff remember their preferences and are eager to make them feel at home. Building loyalty should be a priority at every touch point in every guest’s journey.

Take heart, move & react to surveys

The importance of robust, relevant, pre- and post-stay surveys cannot be emphasized enough. Not only do they provide you with data that’s as good as gold, they allow you to get to know what new guests like and give you the tools to win their loyalty. The right CRM allows hotels to engage with guests every step of the way, making them feel understood and valued. Pre-stay surveys can get them in the right mindset before they even arrive, while doing double duty by allowing staff to access an informed guest profile from the moment a guest walks in the door. Post-stay surveys, on the other hand, let you know what worked and what didn’t, while making sure guests feel heard. Surveys should be treated as living documents that are analyzed regularly for effectiveness and used as learning tools for staff, while making sure all of that valuable data is automatically saved to each guest profile.

Pay attention to the clues

Most of the time, it all starts with a search. Over 90% of customers use searches at every stage of planning purchases, seeking inspiration, reviews, prices, and so much more. Prospective guests already build a search history and gain an informed perspective before they even think of booking a room. Now is the time to bust out your arsenal of personalized marketing tools (like retargeting via cookies) to make a connection with your hotel shopper in research mode. It’s so important to be able to retarget prospects with beautiful, compelling marketing content inspired by the specific terms guests are searching for across multiple social platforms and ad channels. If they’re looking to book for a work trip, tempt them with photos of your high-tech business center, not families lounging by the pool. Guests are much more likely to book a room that’s in line with their search history. It worked well for the Set Hotels, which saw a 60% increase in web bookings after launching a personalized, omni-channel strategy that provided users with customized ad experiences. Making sure prospective guests know you’re paying attention to they want will convey to your guests the kind of customized, tailor-made experience they’ll have at your hotel.

Personalized touches are like art. Guests may not be able to explain it, but they know what they like. So make sure you give it to them. Let Cendyn give you the tools to make every stay a masterpiece.