Maximising Your Marketing Effort with Guest Data

Today, more than ever, you need to connect and communicate with your guests who are caught in the fast-online-lane, with a smorgasbord of competition at their keyboard fingertips and a tough economy that has changed spending patterns on travel and accommodation.

One thing that has not changed, though, is your guests’ appreciation of personalised attention and being recognised as a regular. While it’s automatic to provide this level of service when your guests arrive at your front counter, providing this personalised attention before they arrive and after they have checked-out, is one of the most invaluable and cost effective marketing activities to improve your occupancy and ultimately, revenue.

Accommodation properties collect an abundance of guest information every day, with every booking made, yet, it’s what you do with this guest data that maximises your marketing effort.

Marketing is all about recognising your guests as individuals, where they come from, how often they travel, their personal preferences, special rates you may have given them in the past and most importantly rewarding them for coming back. Marketing does not need to be difficult or complex; in fact it is the small recognitions that make the most impact.

You can achieve quick results by sending out pre-stay emails a few days before check-in to welcome and confirm bookings – this is a sure fired way to reduce last minute cancellations and manage arrival date changes to avoid having rooms you can’t book at the last minute through no-shows etc… Sending post-stay emails to thank your guests for staying with you and looking forward to seeing them again is a small courtesy. You might be surprised how many people remember that you bothered.

Sending broadcast emails to promote special rates for Easter, Christmas, mid-week or weekend packages or just to let guests know you are heavily booked for a period and want them to book early to avoid disappointment is not an annoyance if you target the guests who will benefit from having this information. Most will thank you for giving them the details.

Other than regular communications with your guests, you can also profile your customers from the data you collected when you took their booking. Drilling down into this information will show you the trends occurring in your property including your busiest booking days, how your guests found you and made their bookings (online, phone, via your website, walk-ins), average room rates and occupancy achieved, cancellation/no show rates etc… This invaluable knowledge helps you schedule staff, improve your website, add more online booking channels and set benchmarks for future marketing activities.

Applying a rating system to your guests, based on the number of stays or the revenue they spend, helps you recognise them more easily. More importantly a rating system helps your casual staff or relief managers recognise your VIPs in your absence.

Sounds like hard work? Agreed, it can be very difficult to extract, compile and keep guest data up-to-date when you want to send out a marketing piece or understand your guest profiles.

The good news is that modern property management systems like Centium Software’s GuestPoint make these laborious marketing activities easy, turning your guest data into an invaluable resource.

With automated built-in guest marketing tools, designed specifically for small to mid-size properties, such a system quietly manages all your guest data behind the scenes, with simple to use screens to target and output guest information in just a few clicks. Star ratings tell you who your VIPs are and you can quickly send broadcast email campaigns, understand at a glance where your customers originate from, how often they stay and how much they spend; and, send pre and post stay emails automatically to each and every guest so you don’t have to do a thing.

The most important aspect to guest data goes back to the old saying of ‘garbage in, garbage out’. If you are not collecting email addresses as part of your booking process then you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to send a quick, friendly email inviting them to stay again or thank them for their business.

If you are not collecting the source of where their booking came from you are depriving yourself of knowledge of where to invest your hard-earned money to find more guests like them.

It is never too early or too late to start. The rewards are worth it!

Chantal Mortimer
Centium Software 

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