Guests like to feel valued by hotels. That’s a no-brainer. But in a world where 76% of travellers book online, customer personalisation is happening earlier and earlier in the customer journey. And if you don’t keep up, your business will feel the strain.
It’s integral to your business that you can also deliver personal touches when the customer is booking; you need to understand your demographics in order to do that. So once you’re happy with your website, it’s time to start working on your existing customers.
Plenty of hotel marketing solutions
will focus on the ease of use of your site, and while that’s important, you need to know what your customer is looking for first. Are they business travellers? In which case, deals marketed towards newlyweds won’t work. Ask customers to create profiles, and then, crucially, use the data to improve the quality of your hotel direct bookings
Offer deals that appeal to your core customer base, and make sure that these are prominently displayed in the booking options. That means making sure that your website is available to access via mobile, setting your customer experience apart from the crowd—Deloitte even did research that suggests that, by 2020, customer experience will be one the most important brand differentiators above even price or product.
If you want to up your hotel direct bookings, the actual process of making a booking should be quick and easy for customers; they find the deal they want, authenticate the days they’ll need it for, and pay for it. Greater personalisation armed with easy booking means that you’ll see more and more customers converting online, rather than doing research amongst your competitors before making their choice.
It’s also easier for casual browsers to become customers and future guests of your hotel if your website integrates your booking engine. An incredible 40% of consumers will abandon a webpage that takes more than 3 seconds to load, which means that waiting to access another website in order to book a room might be cause enough for them to abandon their idea of staying with you and book with another hotel instead.
If the guest has an existing relationship with you—from a profile created for a previous stay—they will naturally want to use your site as opposed to giving all their details away again to another website. Make it easy for them to pick you by creating and sending out personalised deals as part of your hotel marketing solutions, inspired by the post-booking, pre-arrival and post-departure questionnaires many hotels use and their prior behaviour online. Post-departure questionnaires are also a way to incentivise future bookings if you offer a saving or deal exclusive upon returning the survey.
Make sure your guests know that they’re personal to you—explain how you’ll store and use their data, assuring them that you follow data protection and that you’re asking for their details so you can make their stay better. It’s the truth—but customers will be impressed that you’re making every aspect of their stay comfortable before they’ve even set foot inside the hotel lobby.