Successful guest experiences don’t happen by accident. They’re made up of a series of meticulously planned, strategic touchpoints and phases that come together to form successful stays and lasting guest relationships. Sales experts across multiple industries talk about the buyer’s journey, which typically includes awareness, consideration, decision, and loyalty. A hotel guest’s journey is similar, but more specific to the hospitality industry. The hotel guest journey looks like:
- Research and exploration
- Post-stay (loyalty)
Successful hotels are paying attention to the guest journey and using each step to build their strategies. And they’re using hotel technology and mobile tech trends to attract and retain loyal guests. Let’s explore a few of the ways you can leverage technology and the guest journey to enhance your hotel’s business in 2023.
Research and Exploration: Leverage Mobile Technology to Stand Out
In the past, prospective guests might plan a trip by reading travel magazines or consulting a travel agency. Today, they’re much more likely to plan their trips on their phones. They see pictures and videos on social media from their friends, as well as the influencers that they follow. They check Google for the best deals on flights and stays at popular destinations.
Savvy hoteliers are leveraging guests’ online habits to increase brand awareness and attract more bookings. Tailor your social media strategy to include compelling pictures, videos, and content about your hotel and local attractions. Research the most popular booking channels for hotels in your area, and stay up to date with compelling content on those sites and platforms. Encourage guests to post about their stays with you and to use your branded hashtag on social media. The goal is to ensure that your hotel appears multiple times as an appealing option while guests are in this research and exploration phase of their journey. The more successful you are at building brand awareness for guests considering booking a trip, the more you’ll be top-of-mind when they get to the booking phase.
Booking: Keep Mobile Users in Mind
More and more people are booking their hotel stays on their mobile devices. According to Hospitalitynet, in 2021, more than 40% of hotel bookings were made on mobile devices. Furthermore, 66% of millennials now prefer to book hotel stays on their phones. This means that hotels must prioritize the mobile user experience on their websites and apps. Hotel Technology News reports that 80% of guests are willing to download a hotel’s app to check in and out of hotels. Ensure that your website is just as user-friendly to someone booking a stay on their phone as it is for desktop users. The easier you make this step, the more guests will want to continue booking with you.
Pre-Arrival: Nurture Guest Relations
Pre-arrival communications can position your hotel to provide personalized, boutique experiences – without increasing work for your staff. With the right software, you can automate much of the pre-arrival communications process, including surveys on guest interests to ensure that they receive the appropriate targeted emails and texts about the amenities and promotions that will most appeal to them. Check out our article on what to include in pre-arrival communications for more details on this topic.
Check-In: Make it Easy With Digital Key Technology
The check-in process can be a sticking point for many small and independent hotels. With staffing shortages and challenges, hotels struggle to reduce wait times at the front desk when guests arrive. However, if you offer mobile check-in with Digital Key, you can help guests bypass the front desk. At this point, you’ve already positioned your hotel as an attractive place to stay. With the right hotel technology, you can notify guests when their rooms are ready via a mobile app. And, with Digital Key technology, they can go directly to their rooms instead of waiting to check in at the front desk
The Stay: Embrace Mobile Technology for Guest Services
Along with mobile check-in and Digital Key, hotels can improve this portion of the guest journey by further embracing mobile technology. Instead of forcing your guests to call the front desk for room service and other amenities, implement an SMS platform that allows them to send their requests via text. SMS and chatbot technologies free up hotel staff and give guests a more convenient experience at the same time.
Check-out: Streamline the Process for Positive End-of-Stay Experiences
Do you require your guests to physically check out at the front desk? This is another area where hospitality technology can help you improve the guest journey while unburdening hotel staff. With Digital Keys and a user-friendly hotel app, guests can check out on their smartphones. This simple capability gives your guests a stress-free end to their stay, showing them that you provide the best experience possible – from beginning to end.
Post-Stay: Keep in Touch to Build Guest Loyalty
Of course, the guest journey doesn’t actually end at check-out. You want to stay top-of-mind for your guests’ next trip as well. This is where you can implement similar strategies to the ones you used in the pre-arrival phase of the guest journey. Leverage automation to target guests who used specific services and amenities, and send them promotions for the things they’re most interested in. Add guests to your mailing list with monthly updates on specials and events in your area. Stay in touch and keep guests coming back for years to come.
Creating a strategy with consideration for every phase of the guest journey can significantly improve the guest experience. Tailoring the journey makes each stay feel more personalized, which will build loyal, lasting guest relationships. Embracing mobile trends and hospitality technology can help you implement those winning strategies.
Want more info on how your hotel can benefit from Digital Key technology? Schedule a demo today.