The miraculous advent of social media and other communication channels have revolutionized the way a hotel communicate with their guests. Traditionally, most businesses rely on phone and email communication to engage their clients. However, things have changed so much over the last couple of years and every business is finding new and innovative ways to engage their guests.
According to a report, the customers are no longer preferring lesser number of emails because it consumes their time since they have to open and read the email to garner the desired information. They also no longer wish to be contacted via cold-calling because its impractical and contains lots of fuss! They now want to chat with bots on websites and utilize the power of social media sites to resolve their queries. Also, few of the guests mentioned that they still prefer live chat and other similar communication channels.
Hence, it is the high time and the immediate need for hotel businesses to adapt a strategy that includes an interactive guest platform like AI-chatbot or virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. But how best can you do that? How best can you enhance communications with your clients? Well, you need a customer engagement platform, that’s it! Such a platform will assist you to connect with your guests through a variety of channels. A customer engagement system can also give you enough guest data to personalize your marketing and retargeting campaigns. In a nutshell, a customer engagement platform has the capability to revolutionize and redefine your hotel’s customer experience and make it more dynamic thus attracting more millennial travelers on the go!.
What is a guest engagement platform?
A customer engagement platform provides capabilities meant to centralize your multiple interactions with clients. Some of the features you can expect from such a platform include social media, web chat, individualized marketing, and CRM (customer relationship management) capabilities. Importantly, a customer engagement platform equips you with what you need to efficiently communicate with your clients, to track customer behavior, and to test marketing campaigns on the digital platform. These kinds of features can help you to understand your customer’s pain points so that you can address them better and solve them instantly.
Customer engagement is a business communication connection between a consumer and an organization through various channels of correspondence. This connection can be a reaction, interaction, effect or an overall customer experience, which takes place online and offline and includes experiences from pre-booking to post-stay. It’s a customer-to-customer correspondence regarding a communication which can be a product, service or a brand. Customer engagement is a characterisation of a consumer's behaviour which encompasses a host of sub-aspects of behaviour such as loyalty, satisfaction, involvement, Word of Mouth advertising, even complaining and loads more.
In a recent study published by Hotel Online, on-site guest engagement proved to have an influence on guest loyalty. The study discovered that hotels who engage with their guests during their stay see higher guest return rates than for those guests who are not engaged digitally!
The key word here is digital! With a social engagement platform, any company is able to track the guests over a certain time period which may be days, weeks or even months!. The sample set that engaged digitally through their platform were 40% more likely to return to the hotel. With one extra stay of 2 nights each, that’s an ROI of 564%!
Features of an Effective Guest Engagement Platform
Multichannel Communication: Decent customer engagement platforms offer multiple communication channels through which you can interact with your clients. The interaction could be in the form of marketing to your clients across different channels. This can considerably improve your business.
Self-Service: Many customer engagement systems have features that enable clients to quickly find what they are looking for without having to be assisted by live agents. These features can significantly boost customer interest in your company since they will find it easier to find whatever they are looking for or whatever questions they have on your site. These features will also reduce your website’s bounce rate giving you higher ranking in search engine results. An example of a self-service feature is a knowledge base.
PR Capability: Some customer engagement systems have PR capability. For example, some can help you monitor the online reputation of your company and notify you immediately you are mentioned somewhere online.
Marketing Functionality: Different guest engagement platform have email marketing, search engine marketing, social media marketing and web marketing functionalities to help you reach more customers.
Live-Chat: This system functionality allows you to communicate with your clients in real time. It is a great feature especially for those selling new products or services that were hitherto unknown to the market.
Advantages of an effective guest engagement platform
Deep insights/Feedback Survey: The easiest and most effective way to obtain customer feedback – good and bad – is via surveys. Providing the right mix of questions (i.e. customer service, housekeeping, maintenance, room and hotel amenities) will garner the best results for all departments. Along with asking the typical guest related stay questions to improve services and amenities, prompt guests to provide more behavioral questions related to pricing and online shopping behaviors. For example, Revenue Managers will benefit from producing surveys related to the value of their stay to help with pricing strategies.
In addition, having a variety of reports available is key, such as Sentiment Analysis that includes social media feeds. Sentiment Analysis, also known as opinion mining, uses an algorithm that identifies certain keywords or sentiments in guest comment cards that are either positive, negative or neutral, and filters these results. This makes it easy for managers to identify issues that are trending based on guest responses. Adding social media feedback to Sentiment Analysis reporting provides a broader view of what your guests are sharing on Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor and more.
Collect data to anticipate behaviour: When guests make a reservation or sign up to receive a eNewsletter, gather more than just the basic contact data. Ask about travel preferences; what types of offers they are interested in; do they mainly travel for business, leisure or with their family? These questions provide valuable insight into guests' staying decisions to help guide marketers in tailoring an offer that will generate the highest returns and conversions.
Target the right guest with the right message at the right time by segmenting collected data. For example, all guests that say they travel mainly with family can be segmented into "family travel". This ensures that all communications to those guests are relevant to family travel and activities.
Personalized Conversation With Guests: In the age of the Internet, email and mobile phones, more and more customers are buying and researching travel on their own, skipping the personal relationship they had with an agent. Now hoteliers are faced with the challenge of not only taking extra measures to learn more about their guests, but also providing that personalized experience through electronic engagement.
Instead of sending a generic offer to your database, send a personalized message to your past guests with their name and stay history in the email. A welcome email that is triggered automatically after a guest checks in will also go a long way. Similar to the welcome call at the front desk, this subtle engagement strategy can help improve and build a relationship with guests the moment they arrive. Make sure the welcome email includes an instant feedback survey and a direct line to the management team to prevent major issues from happening and limit the amount of negative feedback they share on social media.
So, now you know why a hotel should have an effective guest engagement platform! Schedule a demo with us and we will tell how can you boost your hotel occupancy and ROI via AI-powered chatbot and virtual assistants! Also, in the demo, our sales team will unveil the secrets to redefining your guest experience via ML and will show how can you make your brand more relevant via NLP.