When we talk guest engagement, we often think of it in terms of the service delivered on the property.
By Glenn Wirick, EVP of Sales and Marketing at Pegasus Solutions
But we must look at guest engagement more holistically, ensuring that hospitality delivers on its promise. The promise means quality experiences for guests—at all touchpoints—in delivering the ultimate in service. Hoteliers worldwide strive to connect with guests, and the effort must begin as soon as the guest picks up a phone to make a reservation, or when he or she decides to explore the property online.
In the article 2017 Set to Bring Modest Growth for U.S. Hotel Industry by Zacks Equity Research, it’s said that travel consumers are looking for unique experiences at all price points. Further it reports that hoteliers believe their diverse portfolio will deliver on that growing demand.
However, when it comes to guest engagement, the article emphasizes that hoteliers need to adapt to changing consumer expectations. Instead of offering intricate programs and schemes to gain guest loyalty, hotels would be better off focusing on a re-imagined technology strategy (or in other words, where online touchpoints deliver quality experience just as well as offline touchpoints.) Differentiated offerings must provide unmatched travel experiences - anywhere.
The NASDAQ article also indicates that while loyalty programs have a place in the hotel’s marketing plan, they can’t replace the delivery of exceptional customer service. Hoteliers want guests loyal to their hotel, not the loyalty program itself. Surely hoteliers would much rather have a loyal guest with a relationship to the hotel, instead of the guest who only counts points.
When we look at these differentiated offerings, we must look at person-to-person phone calls that not only can increase conversions, but also deliver on the service promise. Whereas in the past call centers were often seen as a necessary evil for some independent hotel and small chains, this is not the case in 2018. Today’s data-driven call centers have information available to their agents that will enhance the service and relationship. After all, hoteliers should remember that most people still like to talk to other people. They will still pick up the phone and call the reservations line even after doing research online.
Guest service is also delivered at post-stay touchpoints. Whether it be thank you emails, coupons for a next stay, or sending a quick satisfaction survey – all are touchpoints of service. With each contact, hotels must ensure that the highest level of service is delivered. Now you’re promoting positive experiences and delivering on the promise.