Nobody likes to be treated like they are on a conveyor belt, least of all, customers who picked your hotel amongst the many others they could have chosen. That has to mean something, and it is worth acknowledging.
Shared values are important when maintaining customer relations. A loyal customer base is a valuable asset, one that requires care and nurturing. Every customer wants to feel special and for that reason, a little goes a long way when it comes to being attentive to their needs, likes, dislikes, and tastes. These insights will allow you to develop and sustain a rich database that will help you profile your customers. A Harvard Business School paper claims that raising customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by at least 25%.
The standard information (full name, address, telephone numbers, date of birth etc.) is normally collected from guests during their stay. An extra step can be taken by noting down any special anniversaries, food and drink preferences, room preferences and requirements, leisure activities and specific interests. Having this extra layer of information makes the customer more than just another log in the database - it creates potential for future dialogue and opportunities to present offers and extra services that will specifically appeal to them.
Your database can be used in many ways to keep in contact with existing clients, as well as helping to identify customers who haven’t returned after their first stay. Targeted marketing campaigns can then be effected for both the frequent and the one-time guest.
Consider the following ideas to leverage your customer database:
- SMS messages. When taking customer details, ensure a mobile phone number is provided. This will enable you to send targeted text messages not only to existing clientele, but also those who have only stayed once and never returned. Any special offers, discounts, upcoming events that may be of interest, last minute bookings, new restaurant menu, places to visit etc. can be highlighted within the text
- Targeted Email Campaigns. Regular email campaigns build your brand, maintain your profile, and make you harder to forget. Campaigns can be set up as often as needed (monthly, quarterly, six-monthly). Make them interesting and informative. Allow your customers to reminisce about their stay. It will then make them more inclined to tune in when you send information about any offers you are running
- Social media. The advent of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ etc. means you have far greater opportunity to reach out and engage with customers. Running competitions, giveaways etc. on social media sites as well as the hotel’s website is a brilliant way of interacting and maintaining good harmony
- Say Thank You. Be sure to send an email to the customer thanking them for visiting and maybe offering an incentive to return. The incentive could be a discounted room, an upgraded room, a free meal or bottle of wine in the restaurant, a complimentary spa treatment, free Wi-Fi, discounted leisure activities. The list is endless.
- Referrals. Another way of bringing in new customers is to offer a variety of discounts to existing clients for recommending friends or family
- Host Special Events (e.g. murder mystery weekend, quiz nights, happy hours, disco). Having an in-depth profile of your customers will allow you to determine whether there are certain activities which interest your potential customers. Surveys and feedback forms after a visit will always aid future customer relations strategies
These are only some customer retention and lead generation strategies which are easily achievable using your existing database. Maintaining a relationship with your customers is your primary objective, and using tactics such as discounts, offers, promotions, and giveaways will help to entice and reward them for their loyalty, not to mention better the chances of positive word of mouth marketing.
A comprehensive database can also anticipate the requirements of a guest before they stay at the hotel. By building a solid database and gathering as much knowledge about your guests as possible you can engage with them, put their needs first, and enjoy a long, happy relationship together.