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A great deal has been written over the years about the viability of moving a hotel’s property-management system (PMS) to the cloud to take advantage of the latest technologies, but hoteliers need to realize that it’s not the only viable option. All platforms have advantages, including self-hosted, private cloud and on-premise solutions that leverage the latest mobile, contact free and web-based technologies. Independent operators can still enhance the digital guest experience, support personalized and mobile check-in, deploy contact free technologies, and secure hotel/guest data even if their PMS does not reside in the cloud. It should not be a question of “Cloud or On Premise?” but rather “Does the PMS solve your business objectives in both technology and service?”

Much has been written in the mainstream hospitality press about the challenges COVID-19 has presented to the industry. Hotels are in more pain than at any time in our memories. Because of the extensive media coverage, I won’t dwell on this topic further in what is primarily a technology column. But it’s the background for this week’s column, and so merits acknowledgement.

Are You All In?
Posted: 07/27/2020

Imagine everyone in your organization engaged, aligned, and performing to their potential. Imagine everyone playing “All In.”

Great organizations have synergy. Their culture allows them to play to a rhythm at a different tempo than the average organization. How do you get that at your organization?

Many front-line hospitality workers rely on tips for a significant part of their paychecks. If not for tips, many hotel associates who serve as waitstaff, bartenders, housekeepers, bell staff, concierges and pool attendants would soon be looking for other jobs. This is a regional issue: in most of Asia and Europe, staff get higher base pay, and tips are either not expected at all, or are truly discretionary. But in the U.S., Canada, Britain and other countries, tips are an important reality, and one that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

As somebody who’s helped to grow a company from 13 people to nearly a thousand, I know very well the excitement that comes with having a mindset focused entirely on growth. Every newly acquired customer, every new office and every milestone means the gap between you and your nearest competitor is that much bigger and that much harder to overtake.

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Guest Arrival: Turning Your Data Into Action

by Christophe Tayon

For the hospitality and travel industry, guest arrival represents a crucial moment that drives overall guest experience and loyalty. It's a necessary and common interaction yet one where the stakes are high because the guest’s impressions from check-in can set the tone for the entire stay. 

Keep in mind that typical arriving guests will have experienced a long journey to the hotel. They will be interested in getting checked in and settled as quickly as possible. Adding to the pressure of the moment is the fact that modern guests not only expect great amenities and service but a personalized experience as well. Hotel and resorts therefore should leverage guest intelligence to create meaningful engagements and emotional connections with arriving guests. By doing so, the hotel and resort cultivates loyalty and nurtures profitable, long-term guest relationships.

Below are the three important steps needed to create a personalized and brand-engaging check-in experience.

Step 1: Leverage your guest history to create a dynamic Arrival Report

A typical report should include, at the minimum, the following notes and information about the prospective guest:

  • Recency of stay
  • Frequency of stay
  • Relative value
  • Booking or distribution channel
  • Key reservation information

All of this information can be pulled directly from your existing hotel systems; however, you’ll need to centralize all of that data in a single location within your CRM in order to create a comprehensive guest profile. Once that occurs, these unique data points can be used to create arrival reports that address each guest’s history, value, behavior, desire and intent. We have routinely seen arrival reports that include as many as 40 discreet variables. In addition, the reports are automated and provided on-demand so they may be accessed by key stakeholders at any time. This best practice allows each arriving guest to get the critical and personalized attention they require just when it's needed most. And it’s the type of next-level guest arrival experience that allows operational managers the ability to gather valuable, additional profile information, to successfully upsell, and to begin to cultivate loyalty.

Step 2: Pre-Plan Guest Arrivals for Short, Meaningful Interactions

Every arriving guest approaches the front desk with some level of experience with your brand. Whether a first-time guest or your most loyal one, each should be treated in the context of where they are in that figurative brand journey.

For example, a new guest can be offered a tour or quick explanation of the hotel's amenities at check-in, and asked to provide their email address if you do not already have it on record. A VIP guest on the other hand, should be greeted with a personalized message that addresses their preferences from previous stays, such as ‘Welcome back, Mr. Smith. Your usual room is ready. Would you like us to reserve a tee time this weekend or book an appointment with Julie at the spa?”.

Below are a few fundamental ways to capitalize on guest arrival with short, meaningful interactions:

  1. Make sure you have the guest email address. Guests who book through an OTA may not have their email address in your CRM platform and if this is the case, the front desk should kindly ask for it. From that point, your automated marketing can nurture and re-market to the guest, encouraging them to book through your direct channel for their next stay.
  2. Anticipate desire and intent to upsell the guest. Your data, whether related to guest history (e.g., a guest that is a regular spa user) or marketing channel (e.g., a guest that clicked an upgrade offer but did not convert) or pre-arrival survey (e.g., a guest who prefers fine dining), can help your front desk up sell at check-in with a personalized offer that connects to the arriving guest emotionally.
  3. Cultivate guest loyalty with rewards. Nothing helps turn a regular guest into a loyal brand advocate like a room upgrade, complimentary drinks or massage offer, or other gift that is proportionate to the guest's lifetime value. Again, it is about making a powerful, emotional connection with a guest at the moment they are most receptive to it.

Step 3: Streamline Front Desk Operations by Effectively Integrating CRM

The best way to ensure an ideal guest arrival experience across multiple properties and front desk agents is to utilize business rules fully integrated with CRM. This guest intelligence module instantly provides suggestions to front desk agents, beginning with appropriate greetings, and then moving to possible upsells and ways to improve guest satisfaction using predictive analysis. Our hotel partners select the business rules that drive this automation and fit their property’s goals, making our guest intelligence module an effective and valuable tool to optimize the check-in process, improve guest relations, and relieve the stress on agents to optimally perform during peak activity.

About The Author
Christophe Tayon
Director of Marketing And Demand Generation

Christophe Tayon is the director of marketing and demand generation for Cendyn/ONE. He has over 15 years of experience in the travel industry working for and with OTAs, GDSs, devising marketing strategies to structure solutions to support and promote retail and channel sales. Christophe is a travel and marketing technology advocate. He joined Cendyn/ONE in 2015.

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