Creating Customer Engagement in a Customer-Focused Company

By Megan Wenzl Associate Editor, ReviewTrackers | April 23, 2017

A personalized guest experience is important in today's hospitality industry. Guests can voice their opinion about a hotel in seconds because of the Internet, and their feedback is contained in sources like social media sites and online reviews. Potential guests read this information when they are looking for where to stay on their next summer vacation.

Guests will post online reviews about their experiences. According to research by ReviewTrackers, 45 percent of hotel guests are likely to leave to a review after a negative experience, while 37.6 percent of hotel guests are likely to leave a review after a positive experience.

Guest feedback is not only there for guests to research to find the hotel, it is also there for the hotel executive to make sense of: the feedback contains information for executives to analyze and extract insights to that can help improve the guest experience. Relationships with guests are important for guest loyalty, and the type of relationship hotels develop with guests stems from an engaging and personalized experience.

Guest Loyalty Example: Boyne Mountain

When I was growing up my family went to the Boyne Mountain Resort every winter for ski weekends. We came from the congested Detroit area, so it was a relaxing, refreshing break from the city. We ate at the resort's restaurants. We went ice skating and tubing. We talked with the chairlift operators and skied on groomed trails. We had great instructors when my brother and I were learning to ski. We felt a connection to the resort. We became lifelong guests - so much so that when I was a senior in college, my parents even bought a condo at its sister resort, Boyne Highlands, where the same service was provided: a consistent experience across all of Boyne's resorts.

One of the reasons we went back to the Boyne Mountain every winter for many years was because of the guest service. The resort provided a positive, engaging guest experience. The lift operators were friendly - they knew me by name, they cared about their job, were passionate about snow sports, and they helped guests get on the chairlift safely. The engagement and relationships with the chairlift operators was evidence enough that this resort knew the importance of a personalized experience for their guests.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.