Whilst online travel agencies have increased the reach of hotels by providing travellers with multiple booking platforms, there are a few downsides to this relationship. One of these problems is that the online travel agencies retain the majority of their hotel customer data, reducing a hotel’s ability to market effectively to their new guests.
This data is essential to a successful marketing campaign, so to be left without any way to contact your new guests, prior to check-in, can leave hotel managers in a quandary. If you want to benefit from this type of hotel customer data, here are a few solutions that might ease your burden.
Integrate a CRM into your business
Using a customer relationship management platform (CRM) is an essential tool for collecting and managing guest data. Any hotel that tries to organise their hotel customer data without a CRM is fighting an uphill battle and you can be sure that your competition is already using one! Your CRM is a repository of facts that you can use in all your marketing campaigns, but to be most effective it needs to be integrated with your other software. This includes your central reservation system and your property management system.
Make it easy to book directly via your website
To capture your own hotel customer data and reduce the commissions paid to online travel agencies, you need to make it easy for travellers to book their accommodation via your website. The more people who book via your website, the more data you have available, so you need to optimise your website for conversions. This includes adding ‘booking’ CTAs and ‘contact us’ CTAs on every page and post on your website, as this allow you to collect their email address, name and contact details. Also consider adding a live chat box to enhance each visitor’s experience on your website and make sure your website is responsive, so that it opens correctly on all mobile devices.
Optimise your check-in procedures for data collection
Using your CRM, check-in staff can collect all the hotel customer data you require, ensuring that you have a guest’s email address and phone number. If your guest has booked via an online travel agency, collecting this data is essential, because you won’t have been given it via the travel agency. You can use their email address immediately to send information regarding your loyalty program and any discount offers that are applicable during their stay.
Guests love to post photos of their latest holiday and write reviews of their stay at a hotel, so make sure that you track these reviews, as well as your likes, comments and shares. Social media is one of the best ways to attract new guests and generate interest in your hotel, and you can even generate profiles of satisfied guests to target via sponsored ads.
Create loyalty programs and personalise your services
Guests love loyalty programs because they receive discounts and special offers only available to members. In return, they are more than happy to share their personal information, even their purchasing behaviour, when they know that it’s used to enhance their stay at your hotel. Using hotel customer data is also a great way to personalise a guest’s holiday and provide package deals perfectly suited to their needs.