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.