Give Your Guests Something to Write Home About
By Darren Panto Business Development Director, iRiS Software Systems | February 14, 2016
More and more guests post reviews online, tweet about their experience or post photos about their idyllic holiday getaways. This trend is gaining considerable momentum and many potential hotel guests place a lot of importance on these online opinions and will often make their decisions on which hotel to book based on these recommendations. Hotels can see this as an opportunity to boost their online presence, their brand awareness and grow their online community of fans. What tools can hotels use to encourage guests to post positive online reviews, tweets and photos? How can they increase customer loyalty and see their guests as their best marketers?
More Than a Booking App?
Guest facing technology is on the rise in the hospitality industry in general and particularly in hotels. We have seen an increase in the use of this type of technology from mobile booking applications to in-room tablets enabling guests to order room service or even large touchscreens displaying information in hotel lobbies. There are many reasons why hotels and restaurants are choosing to adopt these various apps ranging from saving guests time to improving operations.
However the main aim of all this technology is to enhance the guest experience, to give hotel guests a unique experience that differentiates the hotel from the competition. This is the new 'frontier' hotels are exploring to stand out and attract attention and as much as 89% of hotel guests surveyed say they want stay-enhancing tech. In order to improve their guests' experience, they first need to identify what the main frustrations for guests in hotels are; the biggest one of which seems to be time wasting activities with as much as 67% of guests naming waiting in line to check out as their biggest frustration and 50%* of them being annoyed at having to queue up to check in. So it would stand to reason that hotels focusing on time-saving technology would have happier guests more willing to share their positive experiences on social media. Indeed, research conducted by iRiS Software Systems showed that 92% of hotel guests would actively use the time saved with a third of guests using the time to post a positive review on social media(1).
This shows that hotels can encourage their guests to use social media in a positive way by analyzing broad industry trends (such as hospitality technology) and implementing targeted solutions that fit their clientele, they can empower their guests to act as the hotel's best marketers via the medium of social media. Targeted guest facing technology solution that enhances the guest experience can subtly encourage them to willingly use social media to share their positive experiences. The guests won't feel pressured to share and will therefore be more spontaneous leading to potentially viral content. It is important that the hotel staff respond and interact with their guests on social media in a timely manner so that they feel listened to and rewarded for posting positive stories on social media. A positive experience in any hotel will create loyalty in a guest and social media is a great way of magnifying the word-of-mouth effect. The unsolicited publicity and favorable public reaction from guests is also very credible marketing for the hotel.
In terms of generating revenue, potential guests are now paying more and more attention to online reviews and the hotel's twitter feed before making their choice. With the rise of millennial travellers, a great way to attract those tech-savvy guests is by enhancing and modernizing the guest experience with guest facing applications.
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