One of the most valuable assets a hotel has is its customer database. Information, such as demographics, purchase behaviors and buying preferences can guide marketers to develop strategies that deliver higher conversions on their campaigns. Guest preferences, survey feedback and purchase behaviors collected can help anticipate a guest's needs before staying at the hotel. A quick and effective strategy hotel marketers can turn to when needing a revenue boost is deploying an email push campaign to the hotel's past guest database. Without collecting email addresses from every guest at check in, two-way communications with guests becomes a challenge, and getting to know each guest on a micro level is moot.
ZDirect offers the following 5 tips for growing the hotel database organically, resulting in heightened revenues and an overall enhanced guest experience:
Integration between the hotel property-management system and its email service provider is key to database automation. A hotel's database can grow by more than 500 percent in one year by taking manual data input out of the equation. Every reservation provides key information about guests, including stay preferences, revenue generated, room type booked, reservation dates, demographic info and more. The hotel's customer-relationship management provider and/or ESP will automatically pull this information directly from the PMS, enabling marketers to create special reports or marketing campaigns. ZDirect's ZMail® solution integrates to most PMSs in the market.
Connect the hotel PMS directly to the email service provider
Set a goal for how many emails the property wishes to collect each month. If the front desk staff reaches that goal, reward them. It can be as simple as a pizza party for the shift/ department, or it can be a solo prize, such as a gift certificate to the agent who collects the most email addresses. Establish an annual bonus plan for the front desk agents and general managers, making it a part of their yearly goals. Properties that implemented this strategy with success have seen investment returns by more than 300 percent year after year in their ZMail® marketing campaigns.
Provide an incentive to front desk staff for collecting emails
The hotel CRM, ESP or PMS should provide an arrival report with detailed information about each guest with a reservation, including the email address field and the guest's past stay history. Run the arrivals report and highlight the following:
Capture Missing Emails and anticipate guest needs with reports
Missing email addresses per each guest
Misspelled OTA addresses (such as ,com instead of .com)
Generic email address created by the agent, i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make certain that the front desk team captures the missing, misspelled or erroneous email information when each guest arrives. For every person checking in that already has an email on file, confirm the email address in the system. Anticipate guest needs by reviewing their preferences or their last stay history in the arrivals report. If the guest mentioned they requested a golf course view or in the past stayed in a room near the pool, block the same room or room preference for them. Taking the extra step builds loyalty and confidence in each guest’s booking decision.
If the hotel's ESP is already integrated with the PMS, every time an email sign-up form is filled out, the guest profile should be appended with the new information. Web forms should include questions that supply valuable information that marketers need to gather about guest preferences, demographics and more. If the marketer's goal is to target families, make certain to ask questions that will develop strategies to target families. Ask questions that are focused on travel preference (air or car), which amenities are important (kitchen, teen activities, etc.) and travel style (beach, city, adventure). Gathering this information will help with developing summer campaigns or improving services and amenities for guests based on their response. Many ESP’s also provide web form solutions on social channels, such as Facebook. If a mobile version of the hotel's website exists, create a shortened version of the sign-up form for mobile users. If the desktop sign-up form or RFP has 10 questions, reduce it to five to increase the response rate.
Gather more than just an email from the hotel website sign-up form
Surveys and contests are a simple and quick way to grow your hotel's database organically and gather additional information about guests. Run contests on social media or the hotel's website, and be sure to include demographic-related questions along with the basic contact information. If the contests are simple to enter, they will increase your response rate. Provide an incentive to fill out a contest form, especially if you plan to include additional questions. Develop a contest around the target market you want to reach. If you want to gain more leisure business centered on families, create a family photo contest to reach that target market. Once the contest ends, use the new database for marketing during peak travel times for families. Always share the information gathered with all departments. ZDirect's Forms Center enables hoteliers to create email campaigns on the fly via ZMail®.
Create surveys and contests to grow the database and gather unique information