Personalization & Relationship Building is Business-Critical for Hotels

By Mia Schipani Principal & Chief Communicator, Schipani PR | February 17, 2019

Due to the rapidly moving Digital Revolution, people today are overloaded with data, information, emails, text messages, email blasts and social media therefore ongoing "educational, experiential and personalized" marketing tactics that engage "people" are the most effective strategies to reinforce brand loyalty and generate new business today.

In addition to the surplus of information shared, the travel and tourism industry has experienced a tremendous growth over the last several years generating a widespread increase in competition. In the past, boutique hotels have competed with other boutique properties and larger chain hotels with one another however today, all are vying for the same audiences who all demand "personalization."

According to Deloitte, the global travel industry gross bookings reached $1.6 trillion in 2017, making it one of the largest and fastest growing sectors in the world.

As result, now is the time for hotels to innovate, stand out from the rest and change the status quo. Boutique hotels may be more agile and able to execute quicker than larger chains when it comes to personalization and people relations however, all hotels large or small should consider taking a fresh look at their approach to PR, sales, marketing and social media.

The guests' demand for personalization relates not only to how we communicate with them digitally, via marketing and PR efforts, but internally too – upon making reservations over the phone, upon arrival, check-in and check-out. Personalizing the guest experience today may encompass a comprehensive look at your hotel's communication strategy which will probably include a new brand voice, brand guideline and therefore, online and offline strategies.

Millennials are the focus today and, as we know, authenticity matters to this target market and audience. They do not want to be sold, look for brands that provide a unique experience and align themselves with noteworthy social causes. People Relations, personalization, engagement and establishing a relationship with your customers are now business imperatives.

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.