Guest engagement is becoming the center of all the organisations however, it is crucial for the hospitality industry. While there are valid reasons and statistical data behind this, organisations sometimes tend to comply with a trend just for the sake of it. To prevent this and increase the effectiveness of every action taken towards that goal it is always good to remind ourselves what is the target and why we do certain things to achieve that target.
In that regard, this article would be much shorter by just saying it has a “positive” impact. But in the sake reminding “why”, “how” and maybe to give some tips and clues on how to achieve or improve a successful guest engagement strategy, we will delve into a bit of more detail.
First Things First: Understanding the Concept of Guest Engagement
Guest engagement can simply be thought as creating a deep relationship between the customer and brand. Every effort in a guest engagement strategy must aim to create connections with customers that convert into a purchase, interaction, and participation that may occur suddenly or spread over time. Guest engagement involves personification of a brand. And if the personification phase is successful, guests feel the urge to interact and keep in touch with the brand. They use any online means to do this such as blogs and social media. Guest engagement is a process, which comprehends all phases of a booking. A successful guest engagement strategy begins before the booking and continues even after post-stay.
Mobile is the First Step to an Effective Guest Engagement Strategy
We all know mobile is literally everything today. There are 4.9 billion active mobile device users today. This means that 66% of the whole world population is using mobile devices. That’s not all. A survey over 2800 hotels’ website data reveals that more than 68% of hotel websites were browsed by a mobile device.
If you still think that having a website is enough for customer engagement, you can engage a maximum of 32% and lose the rest of your potential or existing customers. It is not hard to see that this directly impacts a hotel’s revenue. So going fully mobile and having a mobile guest engagement app will let you expand your potential customer pool, improve guest satisfaction and have a significant impact on revenues.
Take the Phrase “Guest Engagement” Literally
That may look like a bit of a word trick but the core of a good guest engagement strategy lies on engaging, or in other words, interacting with the guests. Obviously, you will interact with them when they are staying in your property, but try to expand that engagement. The Internet is a very good way to create that interaction.
Almost all OTAs (online travel agencies) have a section for comments of guests and some OTAs give hotels a chance to answer those comments. Use this chance wisely. Of course, you will experiment with some negative and unfair comments about your property. Take a breath and be the bigger man. Don’t argue with your customers and don’t make excuses. Let them know that you’ll fix whatever made them unhappy. Even if you cannot win them back, you can win new customers this way.
A survey conducted on 2500 online travellers revealed that %57 of them checks out online hotel reviews on a varying frequency before they book a room. So you can use negative comments and even negative guest experiences as an opportunity to gain new customers. Seeing that you have a positive attitude, you own your mistakes and you are up for fixing them may convert those negative comments to positive ones.The same principle applies for your own website, mobile app and social media accounts too. But no matter what, you should engage with them.
And here we come to the most important question: how does this impact your revenues? Considering that OTAs have a huge place in the hospitality industry and there are 581 million active mobile social users on the internet engaging with your customers is a very good way of viral advertising. Free marketing and interaction! That will pack quite a punch on your revenue.
Take Advantage of A Guest Engagement Platform
Guest engagement platforms present many opportunities to increase guest satisfaction. Some of these platforms can conduct mini surveys that let you ask for your guests’ opinions and find out if there’s anything making them unhappy. If you run these surveys, analyze them and act quickly on them, you can prevent them from leaving as unhappy customers.
Furthermore, when you integrate a customer engagement platform into your engagement strategy, you can take the advantage of upselling and cross-selling opportunities through these platforms, most importantly at the right time when your customers need it. These apps also help you to find out or create your customer base and segmentation which allows you to create personalized offers and campaigns. Remember that, according to a survey conducted by Deloitte, making a customer come back is way affordable than gaining a new customer.
And another thing to remember: Customers are always right!
At WeBee, we provide flawless and end-to-end guest engagement solution for hotels; covering all the stages of a guest journey. If you want to learn more about how WeBee can boost your guest engagement, click here