The Wired Hotel: Getting to Know Your Visitors

By Jerry Tarasofsky CEO, iPerceptions Inc. | January 27, 2012

Understanding who your web site visitors and customers are, what they want to do, how they tend to behave and if they've had a rewarding experience at your web site does not necessarily have to be a complicated process.

To develop a deeper understanding of who your visitors are and learn how to create a site that accommodates their wants and needs, you should now or in the very short time commit to the ongoing development of a solution to monitor customer satisfaction and their web site experience.

Let's face it - web sites are designed by people, for people. For a site to succeed, it must attract and please your visitors and customers. If a site is intended for, or targeted to a particular type of visitor, then the appeal and functionality of your site must be optimized for that type of individual. If your site is intended for a particular type of visitor ie. a business traveller, then an obvious measure of the site's success is the extent to which the business traveller's needs and desires are met. When you get right down to the basics, the best way to understand if that business traveler's needs were met is to ask them.

On the net, the visitor is king and you should be using your site to engage them in a dialogue. You can't assume by simply watching what they do that you know what they are thinking. Even more important, every opportunity you give your customers and visitors to interact with you is another opportunity to extend your relationship with them and increase lifetime customer value. It builds goodwill and fosters a sense of community that is so critical if you want to increase visit frequency to your site.

There are many ways to get to know your visitors.

The first and most obvious is to ask them for input. Why not place a "feedback" button on every page of your site or in the site's navigation bar. Every touch point is another opportunity to collect visitor feedback. Depending on the nature and structure of your site, you may want to solicit customers, visitors, or both. If you do provide this feature you must ensure that people who have submitted comments or require feedback receive response within 24 hours. It is also an excellent idea to acknowledge their feedback, even by using auto-responder type e-mail.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.