Leveraging the In-hotel Experience to Drive Incremental Revenue

By Stacy Shaw President & Founder, m-k-t-g | August 09, 2010

So how do you maximizing guests' expenditures? By using a touch-point marketing strategy. Touch points are opportunities for generating incremental revenue from hotel guests throughout their stay from the moment of arrival to departure. Touch-point marketing involves determining the message, identifying the areas of opportunity, developing a method of delivery and tracking the conversion rate. In a nutshell, you have to tell the guest what you want them to do, how you want them to do it, affirm that they have made the right decision and tell them thank you for their spending. In addition to driving incremental revenue, touch-point marketing is critical to building brand loyalty.

The first key to a successful touch-point marketing campaign is a clear, concise message. Don't confuse your guest with too many messages. While we all like options, nothing is more frustrating or will get your guest to tune you out quicker than being inundated with multiple messages telling them what to do. Focusing on one to two message themes at a time will ensure clarity, deliverability of service and a high conversion rate.

The next steps in maximizing the effectiveness of every touch point are to identify where these opportunities exist and what is the best method of message delivery. Take the "five-senses" approach in developing touch-point delivery methods. Appealing to a guest's sense of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing will help cover all the bases. While each property offers unique touch points, the following key areas are common to most:

Pre-arrival

A comprehensive touch-point marketing program begins before the guest arrives. From your hotel's website to the reservation confirmation, you can begin telling guests what you want them to do during their stay and even provide them with an incentive to comply. Make sure guests know about all of the amenities and services your hotel has to offer before they arrive.

Promote your restaurant, health club, spa, 24-hour room service, business center, golf facilities or business center. By providing this information in advance, you are helping the guest plan ahead to experience all that your property has to offer.

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The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.