Competing with alternative accommodations and local hotels
It’s no secret that hotels face a lot of competition, and it’s been a while since that competition was solely from nearby hotels. Airbnb had an estimated revenue of $3 to $3.5 billion in 2018 and in March of this year, Booking Holdings shared that their 2018 alternative accommodation options accounted for $2.8 million. Despite growing revenues, hotels have a significant advantage over alternative accommodations and venues: hotel staff are groomed in hospitality first, placing an emphasis on excellent service. And in 2019, that excellent service is expected to be more and more personalized. Throughout your guest’s journey, from acquisition to booking to the stay experience and beyond, here are some tips for how you can take personalization to the next level to outpace your competition.
1. Market Personalization
According to Deloitte, 65% of guests report being satisfied when hotels know and remember them, their preferences and their needs. Guests are looking to stay somewhere that can offer them the best experience, somewhere that understands their needs. Alternative accommodations may make it easy to book and suggest local experiences, but once you’ve booked, the service stops. By conveying the personalized guest experience that your property can deliver through your marketing (media, website, social media), you can demonstrate the value you offer to your guests and groups throughout their stay, winning you more business.
2. Find the Right Price
Just like with any other competition, you need to make sure your rates are comparable for the value you’re offering. With the new Alternative Accommodations Solution for Demand360® and Rate360®, you can gain insight into your market’s local alternative accommodations listings, opening a whole new area of visibility previously inaccessible. You can see future availability and rates, watch trends (like a significant increase seasonally which could affect your pick up), and analyze types of listings that are performing well (location, bedroom count) to better understand the types of rooms and amenities that alternative accommodations are finding success with.
3. Discover Your Guests’ Needs
By using your CRM or Guest Management Solution, you can store and then access all the information you need to impress your guests before they even step foot in your hotel. Identifying their interests early on allows you to make appropriate offers before check-in as well as ensure their room is selected and set up to their liking. Simply identifying whether they are traveling for business or pleasure is helpful and will allow you to make the right type of offer. For a business traveler, you may want to send a car service deal, whereas a leisure traveler may be more apt to upgrade to a deal on local entertainment. Providing offers that are aligned with their interests creates a better experience for guests. Understanding guest preferences prior to arrival will allow for a smooth check-in and avoid the hassle of last-minute requests.
4. Greet Every Guest Like a VIP
Once the guest has arrived, you can continue delivering a personalized guest experience. Check-in is often the guest’s first interaction with your staff and therefore your biggest opportunity to make a good first impression. By utilizing your CRM you can greet guests by name, welcome back returning guests, and review previous stay preferences such as request history or experiences booked through your hotel. Mentioning a guest’s previous stay will not only make them feel recognized and valued, but will allow you to confirm any amenities or services they utilized last time. This extra service delights guests and better prepares your staff to plan for your guests’ needs during their stay.
5. Capitalize on Small Opportunities
Unexpected changes such as an early arrival or late departure happen daily in the hospitality industry and hotels have come to expect it. With the right tools, hotels can quickly change an inconvenience into an opportunity to impress the guest – something alternative accommodation options cannot provide. With the integration of your service optimization software and your PMS system you can give automatic updates on room statuses, guest preferences and room rushes so if a guest arrives early you can quickly make that a priority. Prioritizing room cleanings to accommodate early arrivals will please guests by allowing them to begin their stay earlier. And with your service optimization or GMS solution, you can message your guests so they can easily make requests whenever, wherever and however they want.
6. Maximize Guest Interactions
Another opportunity for personalization is the involvement of housekeeping. Housekeepers often interact with the guest multiple times throughout their stay and yet they are rarely given access to information that would be useful for personalized interactions. This could be as simple as knowing it’s a guest’s birthday and wishing them a happy birthday as they pass their room or leaving a note on their bed after tidying up. Providing the housekeeping team with valuable tools for personalization will also enable them to properly equip rooms based on past preferences such as room temperature or extra hangers, giving your hotel another advantage that alternative accommodation options can’t offer.
7. Don’t Forget About Groups
In most hotels, personalization is only considered for the individual guest and is largely overlooked for groups. Impressing group guests with a personalized experience creates the opportunity to receive many great reviews and referrals at once as opposed to just one. By utilizing event itineraries, you can create offers for guests during event downtimes and prepare post-event offers to entice guests to stay again. When guests are on their own for lunch, you can create a specialized offering at your hotel restaurant. You can also prioritize room cleaning for guests at the event to ensure their rooms are clean when they return. Providing a personalized touch for group guests will be a pleasant surprise and will surely set you apart from both the traditional and non-traditional competition.
8. Let Your Guests Tell the Story
After your guests depart, you’ll want to follow up with them to thank them for their visit and ensure they enjoyed their stay. Post-stay communications are essential to gaining insight into the guests’ experience and building loyalty with your guests. Plus they can be used to request reviews and referrals or providing personalized offers for a return stay. And we all know, raving reviews will help your hotel stand out amongst both the traditional and non-traditional competition.
Taking the First Step with Personalization
Competing with both local and nontraditional competition can be tricky, but personalizing the guest experience before they arrive, during their stay and after they leave will surely set you apart from any competition. Utilizing your hospitality tools like Media, Business Intelligence, PMS, CRS, Guest Management Solutions, Sales & Event Management, and Service Optimization collectively allows you to create superior guest experiences simply and easily, delivering a customized and unique stay experience that alternative accommodations can’t even come close to.
Learn more about the new Alternative Accommodations solution for Demand360 and Rate360 here or contact your sales representative.