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Guest Loyalty: 5 ways to use it in 2024 to increase direct bookings

This is how you increase guest satisfaction and team efficiency in your property

Hakuba Hotel Group

Hakuba Hotel Group offers an extensive portfolio of boutique hotels, premium chalets, apartments, and international food & beverage outlets in prime locations throughout the Hakuba Valley in the Northern Japanese Alps. They feature some of Asia's most premium accommodations and dining options.

The mission of Hakuba Hotel Group is to create unforgettable Hakuba moments and experiences for travellers who love sports, adventure, and nature.

The challenge: Release their staff from unnecessary tasks and improve the whole guest journey

When you have a small team, everyone must focus their energy on where it’s most needed. Marcus Bauder, the CEO of Hakuba Hotel Group, could see that this was not the situation for his team. He noticed that the staff was frustrated due to long working hours, a lot of calls and repetitive tasks to take care of. 

“They were doing a lot of unnecessary tasks. They could use their time much better, making them more productive. There were processes we could easily automate with the help of technology, which was a big concern for me”, said Marcus. 

At the same time, the Hakuba Hotel Group team was looking to improve the whole customer journey. They wanted to provide a personal experience in a digital way, giving their customers the information they needed in the best possible way. 

Hakuba Mimi's Bar
The solution: Automate parts of the workflow and set up digital touchpoints

By implementing the Bookboost Customer Experience platform, the team was able to tackle both objectives. The integration between Bookboost and the brand's PMS system, Mews, enabled the process to be smoother and more efficient.

First, they bundled all their communications into one general platform.

This means that for the entire company, everything goes to one central point, giving them an overview of everything that is happening. At the same time, this allows them to be responsive in a short time. “A lot of guests are surprised by how fast we respond to them, which has been a huge benefit”, added Marcus.

By having every message in the same inbox, the whole team can see all the messages, which enables smooth communication. Everyone in the team can follow the communication trails with each guest, so everyone is always able to pick up on the conversations.

Second, they scheduled campaigns to give guests essential information.

Every update that needs to be communicated is done through the system, and the information is spread more easily than by writing emails. 

Third, they used quick replies to automate the workflow and free staff from answering repetitive questions.

According to Marcus: “You have guests who ask a lot of questions and that went away because we sat down and brainstormed on what people need to know before they go to the hotel and when they go, and the whole process improved that a lot”. 

Fourth, targeted pre-arrival e-mails that are customised to every guest and property.

This helped them to engage with guests during the pre-stay and start creating a relationship with them. 

Hakuba's Wadano Hill Chalet
The results: Increased guest satisfaction, less frustration and better brand image

Some of the results the brand has seen after implementing Bookboost into its workflow are: 

  • More (and better) guest reviews: They received many good comments about their communication and how fast they answer and give information to their guests. “I would say that our reviews went up by around 30%. And the achievement of having great reviews now is bigger than in a normal time”, said Marcus. 
  • Better branding: By implementing the platform, Hakuba comes across as more professional and of an international standard, which enables them to bring the brand out in a professional manner. “By doing what we are doing now we are ahead of our competitors, nobody does what we do. We are a small team so we need to be as efficient as we can be, which is a big reason why we did this”, he added.
  • Valuable time saved: Now the team can focus more of their time on what is more important to them and the company. A lot of unnecessary admin work has been taken away from them, freeing them up to focus on projects that they normally would brush on the side and not have time for. 

“Frustrations went down a lot, and a lot of unnecessary work fell off from both their and my shoulders. People now don’t even remember the hard time they had before anymore as it became normal that things now just work automatically”, stated Marcus. 

What would have happened if they didn’t implement the solution?
In Marcus’ words: “Guest satisfaction would have not been the same: it would have been much harder and more work to meet customers’ expectations”.

Main takeaways from Hakuba Hotel Group

- Reflect on how smooth your communication is

How long does it take you to answer your guests? Are you providing all the needed information? The Hakuba team realised guests needed to receive quicker answers and this immediately boosted guest satisfaction. Quick and efficient replies, as highlighted by Marcus, enhance the guest experience and create a positive impression.

- Look for ways to anticipate your guests’ needs

Reflect on what are the most common questions and how you can answer them even before they are asked. By anticipating guest needs, you'll minimise frustration and ensure a seamless and satisfying guest journey.

- Build bonds before arrival, where hospitality meets anticipation

Craft personalised pre-arrival emails for each guest and property to boost guest engagement. This improves the guest experience and enhances your brand's professional image. As Marcus wisely noted, this approach sets you apart from the competition and frees up time for essential projects.

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