Maximize Your Hotel Systems to Simplify the Guest Journey
Guest blog post from Kathryn Baker, Principal of KBB Consulting, a partner company of Total Customized Revenue Management
We’re all busy – the busiest we’ve ever been, or at least it feels that way.
According to a 2017 Gallup Poll, four in 10 U.S. adults say they lack the time to do all they want, and 44% feel frequently stressed.
We live in a world of long work hours, conflicting schedules, and gym memberships waiting for us to take notice. Grocery stores allow us to place our orders online and come pick them up, or they deliver them to our house. Amazon will not only deliver packages to your door, but will bring them inside for you. Meal delivery services are on the rise, and apps on our phones allow us to do everything from buy toilet paper to deposit checks. In general, we are all looking for ways to make our lives easier and save time.
So what can we take from our digital lifestyles and apply to the hospitality industry? We should try to implement ideas that will make guest’s lives easier and save time! This should always be the goal when planning any marketing strategies, technology upgrades, or product offerings.
With such limited time and room in our schedules, planning a getaway should be as painless as possible – physically and mentally. Does the thought of scheduling a weeklong vacation with lodging, airfare, ground transportation, and activities sound exhausting, even if the outcome is enjoyable? If we feel that way and we are in the industry, how do our guests feel?
Package offerings are an easy way to offer options to guests that will save time and make their decisions easier. One of KBB’s client hotels is seeing great success with a Shopping Package. The only inclusions for this package are a pair of passes for the local subway, a tote bag, and a bottle of wine. Operations tells us the subway rides are the main attraction. Why? Because it eliminates an area of potential stress – how will I get around? How do I buy the tickets?
Additionally, make sure that your website and booking engine are optimally set up to offer an easy to understand, painless experiences for guests. Often, we spend time and money ensuring that our website is visually appealing, which certainly is a priority. But sometimes, focusing on having that modern, clean appearance on the site can lead to confusion for the guest if the menu is not clearly visible or they have to scroll down or search to find what they want. Together with your revenue team, walk through every step of an online purchase as though you have never seen it before. Scour the page for ways to make the information clearer and to reduce clutter. Is the page organized in the best way? Is it clear what the differences are between one room type and another? Are the offers you want to feature placed prominently on the page?
For more on this topic, read our blog post “Your Website is the New Hotel Lobby.”
Take it a step further and do that same walk-through of the website and booking engine of your closest competitors. Go into the exercise with a specific goal – for example, find the best deal for a family of 4 for 5 nights that might include some meals. What questions do you have as you are going through the exercise? Are they answered by the information on the pages, or do you have to search for it? If a Breakfast Package is offered, are the menu and the hours of the restaurant right on the page where the package is sold? Note any pain points or frustrations as you go through the process and check your own web pages and booking engines for similar situations. If you feel it, your guests will feel it.
Many CRS solutions have the ability to offer upsells at the time of purchase, whether it’s an add-on or an upsell to the room type or package that the guest has already selected. This is often an underutilized area for properties. Have compelling offers as add-on purchases to catch the guest at the peak of their decision-making process – they are about to click “Book Now”! The additional items don’t need to be bundled or themed offerings; keep it simple. Add pizza for a late-night arrival; add breakfast for just one day.
There are many ways our industry can make researching, booking, and staying at a hotel or resort a more enjoyable process. Eliminate the snags and problem points, add visual appeal, and include incentives to bundle just before the final click. Let’s make it as easy as possible for our busy guests to bring them back again and again.
To learn more about how the Amadeus Central Reservations System can benefit your property, click here.
Guest blog post from Kathryn Baker, Principal of KBB Consulting, a partner company of Total Customized Revenue Management.