An Inside Look at The Future of Guest Communications
By Ryan Day Founding Partner, The Portal Live, LLC | July 17, 2011
Guests using a hotel's mobile application benefit from unobtrusive marketing using promotional notifications and direct messaging. By keeping guests informed and offering exclusive promotions, guests are able to get the most out of their vacation and feel like a VIP doing it. At the same time, having a constant connection to guests provides a tremendous opportunity for hotels to maximize revenue while allowing for instant adjustments that immediately boost the bottom line.
Guests represent a captive audience of pre-qualified consumers. These highly motivated consumers are actively looking to indulge in the best the area has to offer and have discretionary income to spend on services and experiences that will last a lifetime. Guests often arrive with little knowledge of the surrounding area and welcome suggestions that cater to their individual tastes.
Communicating with guests is no longer restricted to the guest room telephone. Well-designed mobile applications will provide functionality encompassing the entire travel experience. Services should including pre-planning, on property, and post stay customer relationship management communication.
Mobile applications allow the guest experience to begin far prior to check-in. Pre-planning communications help build excitement and anticipation of an upcoming trip. Hotels may capitalize on this planning stage, welcoming guests, learning their preferences, and arranging services and experiences in preparation for guest's arrival. This enables hotels to earn their guests trust and begin developing a positive brand association.
It's critical to customer relationship management (CRM) to maintain contact with guests even after they check out. App's should stay on guest's phones and remain useful after they check out of the hotel. This enables hotel's to maintain communication with previous guests and build long-term relationships by sharing new hotel features or offering reward points. Exclusive, members-only invitations make guests feel privileged in that they belong to an elite group, further reinforcing brand loyalty.
Today's travelers are either familiar with smartphone applications or at the least intrigued enough to give them a look. Once guests make the decision to try your app it's crucial to provide an experience that will keep them coming back. Hotels should avoid developing novelty applications that offer limited information and functionality because these are of little use to guests and provide almost no incentive for guests to access them more than once.