Saturday, March 24, 2018

OTAs are marketing directly to your guests – and so should you

In the battle to convert guest loyalty and guest data ownership from an OTA to your hotel, there are two important contact points that must be monitored and measured.

First, well-run hotels keep close track of how the front desk captures direct contact information from OTA guests, particularly email addresses.

There are many ways to ask a guest for this information.  The best way for your hotel to make this request can be developed by the front desk team, but the important point is that the General Manager should measure how successful the team has been at doing it.  It’s also important to ask the front desk team asks the guest if he or she wishes to “opt-in” for direct mailings from the hotel.  If they “opt-out”, this must be noted in the database.

What is a good target capture percentage for the front desk?  90% would be good target, and at the end of the month this is an ideal night audit task, with the resulting report for the previous month in the GM’s inbox on the first of the month.   This is an ideal place to offer an incentive for the front desk team.

Second, the voice reservation team can touch an OTA booking after it has been made.  OTA clients often call the hotel to confirm their bookings or to ask questions about the hotel, and if the voice team is using an effective CRM such as Track Pulse (the system we have chosen to install at Travel Outlook), it makes it easy for the voice agent to ask the OTA guest for his or email address.  The agent can also enter the information directly into the PMS.

Of course, the ultimate goal is to add the customer’s contact information to the hotel’s database for direct marketing of specials and other hotel information.  You can be sure the OTAs are using the information for exactly the same purpose.

About John Smallwood

John Smallwood
John Smallwood is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Travel Outlook. John created the Travel Outlook concept in 2006, after more than twenty years’ experience in owning hotels and hospitality management. He earned a BBA from New Mexico State University, and before starting in the hospitality industry, he worked with AT&T.

One comment

  1. Great article. Front desk and voice resv team could request an email address to send a copy of the guest receipt. It’s a direct benefit to the guest and staff could include the question about sending periodic special offers as well, as a win-win.

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