Travellers planning their holidays spend countless hours immersed in endless research, exploring destinations, modes of travel, schedules, and places to stay. Choosing a hotel can be particularly overwhelming due to the plethora of options available, and travellers will inevitably opt for the one that speaks to them the most. You need to differentiate yourself from the crowd and ensure you are the top choice for your target audience. To be their pick, you have to demonstrate your ability to meet their needs during their research phase—you have to grab their attention online. We will look at why you should provide a personalised digital guest experience and what are some easy ways for you to get started straight away.
Why a Tailored Digital Guest Experience is Crucial for Hotels
Being able to offer a personalised guest experience in the digital world is beneficial for both hotels and guests. Modern travellers expect a personalised experience, and hotels that can’t offer this may miss out on prospective guests. Adapting online interactions to individual needs and preferences is now crucial in fulfilling guest expectations and delivering guests’ desired service.
With a personalised digital experience, guests receive quick and easy relevant information for their interests and needs. As a result, you are sure to get your relationship started on the right foot. With this initial boost of satisfaction, guests are more likely to return to your hotel in the future. On top of that, they’re likely to spend more. By offering personalised deals and incentives, hotels can promote additional facilities and services, leading to increased revenue.
First Moves: Harnessing Data to Get to Know Your Guests
Collecting initial information about your guests is relatively straightforward. When a booking is made, details like the dates of stay and the number of guests are automatically recorded in your PMS. You may want to check out information like check-in and check-out times, room preferences, and spending habits to create offers that really suit your target audience’s needs and habits.
However, you need to dig deeper than that. Think about compiling data from various sources, like your social media platforms. Have a look into your analytics and see who is interacting with you by liking your posts, commenting, or even just following you. A detailed analysis of your website traffic can also provide valuable insights.
Don’t be scared to also send out a survey—online, by email, or in person. These surveys can ask about guest demographics, satisfaction, travel behaviours, and preferences regarding amenities and services. Pay attention to the feedback you get. What aspects did your guests enjoy? What did they dislike? How could you have made their stay better? Take note of every bit of information you can get and try to find patterns across target groups. From then on, tailor your online presence while keeping your target guest in mind.
How to Personalise the Digital Guest Experience
1. Stay in Touch Via Email
Implementing an email marketing strategy is a straightforward method to maintain communication with your guests and provide them with a personalised experience. Don’t only stick to sending out emails for booking confirmation. Think about sending emails before they arrive and after they leave your place.
Before arrival is the prime time to learn more about what your guests like. Ask them about their food preferences, how they’re getting to you, and why they’re travelling. Based on what you offer, you might suggest add-ons that could bring you additional revenue while also improving your guests’ stay. You can also use these emails to recommend local sights and give them helpful tips and advice to make planning easier. If you have partnerships with local businesses, this is the time to leverage them.
After their stay, it’s the perfect opportunity to build on your relationship and encourage their loyalty. Thank them for staying, ask for their thoughts, and find out how you can do better next time. Use their responses to add to what you know about your guests, so you can appeal to them more effectively in the future. You might even think about offering them a discount on their next stay as a thank you for their feedback.
2. Make the Most of Social Media
Social media is an excellent way to connect with people and understand what they’re looking for. First off, you’ve got to figure out where your guests hang out online. Are they active in Facebook groups, finding ideas on Pinterest, or scrolling through Instagram? See which platform drives the most visitors to your site, and focus on sharing content there that grabs their attention.
Use the data you have collected about them to post about things they might be interested in or that they might find value in. Follow their reactions and adapt your social media and content strategy accordingly.
3. Boosting Credibility with Relevant Information and Testimonials
Social proof is a powerful tool for boosting conversion rates as it portrays you as more transparent and credible. Since guests tend to trust the opinions of other guests, displaying testimonials will make you seem more trustworthy as well. On top of that, social proof can also be great for personalising the digital guest experience.
People generally trust those who are similar to them. So, it’s smart to display relevant reviews in the booking engine, especially when you know a bit about the guests. If a family is booking, show them reviews from other families who’ve stayed with you. This relatability can increase the likelihood of them making a reservation.
Likewise, if guests are bringing pets, inform them about the special treats you have for their furry friends at your cafeteria. Both the guests and their pets will appreciate this thoughtful touch.
4. Tailoring Exclusive Offers for Your Target Audience
You have access to a wealth of information that can help you craft personalised offers for your website visitors. For starters, you can have targeted welcome messages based on where the traffic to your website is coming from. For instance, if visitors are coming from Instagram, consider a message like, “Discover the most Instagrammable spot in the Alps”. If they’re coming from Google Maps, try bundling a stay with a free guided tour of the local area. The possibilities are endless!
Depending on your guests’ cookie settings, you might be able to personalise even further. If they’ve booked with you before, greet them by name. If they’re from a specific region you’re targeting, like within 200km, think about last-minute weekend getaway offers.
Don’t forget about the booking engine. It’s a goldmine for targeted offers since you know things like room preference and party size. Tailor offers to their stay details. For example, if the booking is for two people, over the weekend, in your “Romantic Suite”, it’s safe to assume that the guests are a couple that wouldn’t mind a complimentary glass of champagne with their dinner. Use the booking engine to present these offers and maybe suggest a room upgrade at a special rate.
5. Explore AI-Driven Solutions for Guest Services
Your guests need to feel taken care of. A question submission form won’t do for guests looking for answers to their questions quickly. Make sure you have a thorough FAQ section. Like this, most questions that can show up will be answered.
However, there will always be unique questions that the FAQ may not address. In such cases, consider utilising AI-powered chatbots. This technology is becoming more and more advanced, and could even provide your guests with help planning their itineraries. This not only personalises the digital experience for your guests but also reduces the burden on your staff and aids in gathering real-time feedback.
Lastly, make sure you have a quick way for guests to contact you directly. Create a Whatsapp business account and ensure someone is constantly monitoring it.
6. Empowering Guests to Customise Their Stay Online
A final measure to ensure a personalised digital experience is to empower guests to tailor their stay online. Whether it’s through your chatbot, WhatsApp, during the booking process, or via a form, inform guests about the available customisation options. Consider offerings like early check-in, late check-out, dietary preferences, and even the option to pre-order meals to their room upon arrival. This approach not only opens up avenues for additional revenue but also gives guests a sense of autonomy over their experience.
You’re Equipped to Deliver a Personalised Digital Guest Experience!
Guests are not only seeking personalised stays but also expect to access all the information they need instantly. Therefore, it’s essential to offer a personalised digital guest experience, not just focusing on personalising their experience at your property. By implementing the tips provided, you can ensure guests feel welcomed even before they set foot in your property, boosting conversions and generating additional revenue in the process. It’s a win-win!