Customer retention isn’t just important – it’s essential to the success of almost any hotel in the world. According to numerous studies, attracting a new customer can cost significantly more than retaining a loyal customer. Likewise, repeat guests are more likely to act as evangelists for your brand, and they tend to spend more on hotel amenities and upgrades, as well. So, how can you ensure that you delight your guests enough to be their first choice for their next trip – and the trip after that? We’ve put together a few of our top tips to keep loyal guests returning again and again.
Identify top-priority repeat guests
First, to develop an effective guest retention strategy, you’ll need to target the right guests. Some guests will only travel to your area once in a lifetime. Others will travel to your area for work, leisure, or family time multiple times per year. Your goal is to identify and target the guests who are both most likely to stay with you frequently and spend money on upgrades and additional services during their stays.
You can utilize your CRM to determine top-priority guests by segmenting them based on how recently they’ve stayed with you, how much revenue they generated during their stay, and how frequently they book rooms at your hotel. Once you’ve identified the best leads in your CRM, you’ll have a list of customers for the next step in your strategy. Remember, though, that this should not be a static list. You’ll want to mine your CRM and update your list with new guests who fit into this category at least once per quarter.
Know what types of guests your hotel attracts
Along with identifying your top leads, you can use customer data to make informed decisions about repeat guests. Are most of them business travelers, or does your hotel attract more families on vacation? With this information, you can make adjustments to your hotel’s services and amenities to become even more attractive to them.
For example, business travelers typically spend most of their time working or networking. They may enjoy their jobs, but they likely miss the comfort of home too. For these travelers, personal touches can go a long way. Greeting them by name, delivering personalized communications, and anticipating their preferences can make them feel more at home in your hotel.
Whether you’re targeting families, solo travelers, couples, or business travelers, craft a hotel experience specifically for them. And be sure to highlight the services and amenities that set your hotel apart in all of your marketing outreach and pre-arrival communications.
Use technology to create a memorable experience
As you craft an enhanced guest experience, remember that seemingly minor details can have a major impact on guests’ overall experiences. A business traveler arriving on a red-eye flight may need to drop their luggage and head directly to a conference with no time to rest. For them, the ability to check-in online, bypass the front desk, and go straight to their room with a Digital Key could be a major selling point. Likewise, smart technology in their rooms can help them feel more at home with the ability to log into their streaming accounts. Check out our recent article for more tips on how to leverage technology to set your hotel apart from the competition.
Target your frequent flyers with personalized messaging
Once you’ve built your list of high-priority guests, leverage personalization and segmentation to craft the best message to attract them back again and again. Use any information you have on their previous stays to develop messages that will really speak to them. If they ordered room service every night, offer a complimentary in-room meal at their next stay. If they took multiple trips to your hotel’s spa throughout their last stay, send a coupon for a discounted deluxe treatment next time they’re in town. These are just a couple of ways that you can leverage information from your CRM to deliver messages that add value and attract those top-priority guests back to your hotel.
Fine-tune your loyalty strategy with follow-up communications
After your guests check out, you have another opportunity to enhance their satisfaction and refine your customer retention strategy. Send guests a post-checkout survey to learn about services they most enjoyed, any improvements they’d recommend, and how likely they are to book with you again. You can use this information in multiple ways. Once per quarter, for example, you can gather all of the data you receive in post-checkout surveys and use it to make data-driven budget planning decisions to determine where to make updates or add new services.
Offer the right incentives for repeat bookings
You can also use this data to further segment your top-priority customers and offer them the incentives that they most want. You might ask, for instance, about which services guests enjoyed the most. Depending on guests’ answers, you can then offer discounts on appetizers at your hotel restaurant, spa treatments, room upgrades, or other amenities. Use the information you gain in these communications to build relationships with your guests and offer them the incentives that they care the most about.
Apply these tips as you build your customer retention strategy and you might be surprised at how many more repeat guests you acquire. With those delighted frequent flyers, you’ll have a growing list of brand evangelists who choose your hotel over the competition every time. Good luck!
Want to learn more about how Digital Keys can help increase guest retention? OpenKey is the leading provider of digital key services. Schedule a demo today to see how you can do more for your guests with Digital Keys.