When it came down to Manage Hotel Guest Experience in the Pre Corona days, Human Interaction played a Keyrole. The quality of Interaction between Hotel teams and the Guests was one thing we all looked forward to.
In the past 15 months a lot has changed, To manage hotel guest experience today, the traveller wants safe, contact less Interaction but still expect the Top of line Service experience, Ideally they would want to know what this would look like way before they put their credit card number to firm up the booking.
Though exceptional service experiences and a level of human interaction and personalisation is still an expectation, the backbone that would help Hotel Manage new Guest experiences would be technology driven, Digital would play an increasing role in the new normal. The past 15 months have also seen a faster rate of adoption when it comes to comes to technology.
Communication across geographies in a contact less manner was a huge challenge and people turned to technology to bridge it. The past 15 months have been largely technology driven, Meetings went virtual, Celebrations went virtual. We even saw a couple of weddings being conducted virtually. The new age experiences are going to be created digitally in my experience and as a Hotel you need to adapt fast.
Today, guests want seamless and friction less interactions-and if they can manage it all from the safety and convenience of their own device or without touching a high-touch surface, all the better. Simply put, digitisation provides new ways for guests to enjoy your property, this is where Virtual Reality comes in.
Leveraging Virtual Reality, you can create a Virtual Tour of your Hotel, in Ultra High Resolution (8K or 12K), which showcases your hotel in all its glory, is not only Immersive and contact less, but also future ready.
It works across Devices, so your guests can experience your Hotel on a Handheld, Laptop, a Big screen TV or a projector. Future Prospects for Conferences, Weddings and Events can also be shown what your Hotel looks like for these events which helps the decision making process faster and reduces the need for prospects to visit your Hotel.
In these challenging times and post corona this can also be leveraged to impart training to your teams as your entire hotel is digitally mapped. There is no app to download and install, a link is all that people need to click to see the Hotel, this helps your Marketing teams to reach to tens of thousands of Potential guests without breaking the Bank.
To Manage hotel guest experience specially in the decision making process, Virtual Reality is not a Luxury but a necessity, The Hotels we work with who have already been mapped have leveraged the Virtual Reality to bring in new customers for both leisure and Events (Weddings and Corporate).
There is a lack of information when it comes to pricing and Hotels have been quoted Absurd amounts for Mapping the Hotel, It is actually more affordable than what you would pay for Good Quality Still pictures of your Hotel and on top of it has a higher shelf life and reduces the need for a collateral.
Second thing what Hotels can do in these challenging times when traditional channels are not performing is to open new channels, Direct to customer is the way forward, Brands today more than ever need to reach out to the customers / decision makers directly. During the last 15 months we have seen a huge change in strategies of Brands who have all started to put themselves in front of people digitally.
The content consumption had a meteoric increase in 2nd and 3rd Quarter of 2020, people were at home, settling in to Work from home and still uncomfortable with the new situation and turned to social media and content for finding answers. This done on repeat, day in and day out led to changes in behaviour and the data from last quarter of 2020 and first quarter of 2021 shows that people are quite comfortable interacting with Brands on a one on one level.
For a Hotel to Manage the Guest experience from the 1st stage can be a game changer, The Hotels should take this opportunity to curate their digital strategy which puts them in front of the Clients directly and reduce their dependence on third party channels.
People want direct interaction with brands today and this should be delivered.
This however comes with a learning and change in mind set which for a lot of Large Chain hotels maybe difficult to accept and implement straight away. The first and foremost one being that Marketing needs to play an equal if not bigger role than Sales. Sales has always had the preferred treatment, and marketing was tolerated as a necessary evil.
Well the roles have reversed, Marketing in this new normal would not only be the Savior for Hotels but also help the Hotel Manage and Curate better Guest Experiences.
Hotels need to move away from the so called Brand Standards of having the same look and feel of their digital assets as decided by someone in the Boardroom or corporate Head office.
If all your Hotel Buildings had the same look and feel and were built the same way and had the same clientele then have the same look and feel on your Website as well. But neither of these are true, Local flavor is often incorporated in the buildings and the people are all different. So what works in one country may not hold any water in another.
Local is the Buzz word and your Digital assets have to factor that in. See your website as more than a Glorified Brochure, You website can also be your Lead Generation Engine, If you are already bringing in traffic to your website then having a simple codes installed on it, can tell you how people behave on your website, which would help you in tweaking your User Experience to lead to more conversions.
If in 2021 you are still not leveraging Data you are leaving money on the table. You need tracking and Analytics to be installed on your website and Tracking and Analytic data need to be analysed locally and not by someone sitting thousands of Kilometers away.
Based on the information & trends what the Data tells you, real time changes / tweaks need to be made. Not changes which take 7-10 days to implement and by the time they are done, are not relevant.
Social Media would play a critical role in scripting your success. Social Media Marketing is what would help you reach out to tens of thousands to potential customers by creating sponsored content.
The Amount of data that Social Media channels have on us is phenomenal, We share our likes and dislikes, how we engage with brands, our Life events, our Location history freely on these platforms.
The same information can be leveraged by a smart marketer to create your perfect buyer/guest persona. As a Hotel you could have multiple audiences you cater to. Your Corporate audience would look entirely different to Leisure, the F&B Audience would be different to the Events audience.
Each audience has its own Platforms and where some platforms like Linkedin can help you with very accurate data like Designations and size of Organisation others like Facebook and Instagram are usually a little broad and the pricing is also in the same proportion. Linkedin for being razor sharp is way more expenisve.
Social Media marketing that I am referring to is not what is being done by over 80% hotels where you are posting content for organic consumption. Please understand how Organic content performs on each of the platforms
On Facebook: Only 5.2% of audience connected to your page can see your posts and that too if the content is engaging. This translates down to 1 in every 19 people connected to your Page.
On Instagram: By using the right hastags, you can reach out to new audience as well and they do come and connect to your Brand if they find the content enagaging. However Instagram lacks a call to action and has no clickable links in Organic posting.
On Linkedin – Your content is visible to everyone connected to you and if someone comments on your content even to the connections of one who has commented. It has a good shelf life and if you are promoting high ticket value content then this is a great way to do so. However the time taken for for conversions on Linkedin is usually long.
By leveraging Paid Social / Sponsored content / Promoted content option you can reach people at a much faster stage. There are 2 factors to note here, You need multiple audience to target and you need to have the right marketing specialist to build these. Secondly A Good copy is usually recommended but it is not a guarantee that it would convert.
I have had eye candy creatives not convert and shabby ones drive crazy engagement. There is no way to predict what would click with audience. We follow what is called a Split test (if the clients budget allows ) and see where it goes.
Hotels have never really leveraged Content Marketing, People, when they travel also want to know what other experiences exist outside the hotel,
A quick Google keyword search usually tells us what the traffic is for that keyword or phrase and by curating some good content about it the Hotel can also start showing up in search results for that keyword which also works as a Touch point for your Hotel.
If you are a Business Hotel, we would suggest checking what kind of searches the Business around your city brings in and leveraging that to curate a few good articles to show up in search results.
All this greatly contributes in favour of the Hotel to Manage Guest Experience in the pre booking phase and creates a top of mind recall for your Hotel.
Poor open rates, low link clicks don’t really help email marketing. Poor open rates are largely thanks to the content not landing in your recipients inbox but in promotions or spam folder. If it doesn’t land in Inbox the open rate suffers as does click thru rate.
This happens when Brands are not aware of the service providers reputation, The I.P. address being used by service provider may have a bad reputation and may end up pushing your emails into spam or promotions folder.
There are two easy fixes for that, One is to use quality Email Marketing services like Moosend, Mailerlite, ActiveCampaign or Convertkit. The other is if you are a bit tech savvy or have an IT Department in-house to host your own script and use AMAZON SES to deliver your email. The self hosting and Amazon SES are the most affordable option if you have large lists.
So, Email Marketing is not dead. It just has too many crappy service providers who are pushing way too much spam.
Let me ask you a question, How do you communicate with your Clients when it comes to sending proposals and quotes etc. Email right? As do millions others, So leverage Email as a tool your Hotel uses to manage not only Guest Experience but also for awareness campaigns and for bringing people back to your site and let the Social Media Tracking take over after that.
To Manage Hotel Guests experience is critical and should be your top priority, not everything mentioned above may work for you but some things can be implemented by your Hotel today to improve your Guest experiences (Pre Sales and Pre Arrival).
A mix of Technology in the Hotel, Showcasing your Hotel Virtually, creating touch points digitally pre-arrival and Digital Key cards sent to the Mobile devices and QR code Menus with a mix of human Interaction can enhance the experience when the guests are with you.
Because no matter what happens we humans would still need Human Interaction and this becomes more important when we travel. But today we also want a more contact less experience and it can be delivered Digitally.