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Guest engagement for hoteliers refers to actively involving and connecting with guests to enhance their overall experience during the entire guest journey. It includes building relationships, providing personalised services, and creating meaningful interactions before, during, and after their stay.
Having a high level of guest engagement means reducing the possibility of being ghosted, of guests abandoning their booking before completing and increasing the amount of loyal guests because they enjoyed the experience and built a relationship with the brand.
In this sense, you can leverage guest engagement across different platforms, from your website to social media, to review platforms, to OTAs, to direct messages to guests. And you must not forget about face to face interactions, since this play a key role when setting the tone once guests arrive at your hotel.
Overall, all your channels can help you to boost your engagement if you track them correctly.
But why is guest engagement important for hoteliers?
Firstly, guest engagement enhances the overall customer experience, making your guests feel valued and cared for during their stay. By actively involving guests and providing personalised services, you can create a memorable and positive impression, leading to increased guest satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately, repeat bookings.
Engaged guests are more likely to share their positive experiences with others through online reviews and word-of-mouth, which can attract new guests and boost your hotel's reputation.
Secondly, guest engagement plays a crucial role in customer retention. A high level of guest engagement can build strong relationships between your hotel and the guests, fostering loyalty and encouraging them to choose the same hotel for future stays.
Loyal and repeat guests are more likely to spend more money at the hotel and have a higher lifetime value, contributing to the hotel's profitability. By actively engaging with your guests, you can better understand their preferences, anticipate their needs, and tailor their services accordingly to enhance your guest satisfaction and loyalty.
Additionally, guest engagement can help you stay ahead of the competition. With the advent of online travel agencies and an increasingly competitive market, you need to differentiate yourself and provide unique experiences to stand out.
Active guest engagement initiatives, such as personalised interactions, tailored recommendations, and digital engagement, can give you a competitive edge and attract potential guests who are looking for a more personalised and memorable experience.
How to foster guest engagement?
First things first. To enable guest engagement, you need to have a 360 view of your guests so you can obtain insights and use them to create a better experience and fruitful interactions.
A tool that will be key in this process is a hospitality CRM, because it will help you not only to manage the data but also to bring personalisation to the level of a pina colada (this means, hyper personalisation).
Besides using the right tool, what else can you do? Here are some recommendations:
Personalise guest communications
By knowing your guests' preferences, you can personalise the communications and make guests feel genuinely interested in their stay. This can include sending different pre-arrival messages depending on the type of room, offering services based on their profile and previous stays (in the case of returning guests), and more.
Having an account on social media platforms is not enough to foster engagement. You actually need to be active, this means posting but also answering your guests inquiries.
An example of how you can actively engage with guests on social media platforms is by responding to reviews, sharing guest-generated content, and providing timely updates on promotions and events.
Use a multi-channel approach
If you want guests to interact with you in more ways, you need to be available for them in more than one channel. This means, don’t just send emails and miss out on guests that use other platforms like SMS or WhatsApp.
Make it easy to ask a question
Don’t just tell them to send you an email for more information and then wait a couple of days until you answer. If you want to foster engagement you need to be quick to answer and also offer the right channels for two-way communication.
One big example is your website. If you have a web messenger, you will be able to communicate with your visitors without adding any effort to their experience. And if you boost this with a chatbot, then they will receive an answer 24/7, no matter if your team is online or not.
Leveraging technology solutions like mobile apps or in-room tablets can enhance guest engagement. Why? Because these solutions enable guests to communicate with staff in an easy way, being able to request services and provide feedback without effort. Offering digital concierge services or curated local guides through these platforms can further enhance the guest experience.
Your hotel is interacting with guests on a daily basis, it is key to have meaningful engagement with your guests to create a lasting relationship with them. Small changes can have a huge impact such as these meaningful interactions make it easier to stay on top of their mind, encouraging return visits and direct bookings.