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  • Writer's pictureFloris Vermeulen

7 Ways to Get Guest Engagement Right

Hoteliers might think that guest engagement is simply a default by-product of travelers booking a room to stay at their hotel. At the end of the day, the guest's decision to stay at your hotel is compelling enough to think that on-property engagement will organically take care of itself. Unfortunately, that is too good to be true!

In fact, the mere reality that engaged guests will spend 45% more at the hotel than those that are not engaged, points to a potentially missed opportunity in general guest engagement. With this in mind, I would like to look at 7 ways to get guest engagement right by utilizing technology.

1 Get off-property right

How much time do your guests really spend in their room or your property? And what happens to your guest engagement strategy when your guests go out to explore the destination?

As your guests explore the destination, your hotel can still take an influence on the overall travel and guest experience. The general misconception is: "there's so much to explore in the city, and they'll surely be able to find the places they look for." If that's the case, your hotel is simply a room with a bed to those travelers, and if you limit yourself to being just that, what incentive do these guests have to ever return to your property or your brand?

Take advantage of technology and chat to your guests when they are away from the property, remind them of the happy hour on your beautiful rooftop bar, send them an offer for a foot massage at your spa so they can unwind after a day of exploring. You'd be surprised as to how much time travelers spend on technology platforms, so dig in and take your share of exceptional guest experience.

2 Get guests talking about you

The hashtag space on social media platforms is crowded! To get the right level of attention, hoteliers will have to compete with other hotels, brands, local merchants and more.

Instead of getting lost in this shark tank of competition, try to get those guests that are already on-site talking about you. One way you can do this is to incentivize them to leave public TripAdvisor reviews while they are still at the hotel. Utilizing the right technology will get 40% of public reviews coming from guests that are still at the hotel. This will increase your visibility and, if you're doing a great job with guest anyway, it will get you an improved ranking.

3 Amplify your staff

Why is the traditional concierge dead? Probably because he or she doesn't have the right tools to keep up guest engagement in the modern era.

In that sense, there's technology that won't replace the likes of concierges but instead, will amplify their very unique skills-set and understanding of the city. With such technology, concierges can benefit from features such as auto-translation, GPS tracking and more, and can then make recommendations, help guests get back to the hotel, chat to them in times of need, and more.

4 Understand guests beyond PMS information

If you simply rely on what information you have about your guests on your property management system (PMS), your service might not be good enough. You'll be able to serve your regulars, but if you want to understand what behavioral patterns your guests leave behind, you must deploy the right type of technology.

Simply put, guest engagement gets better with more detailed information about the behavior of your guests at the hotel and in the city. In that sense, look for platforms that can provide data insights which reach well beyond the ordinary. Try to understand as to where in the city the daily hotspots are, as to how certain demographics walk around town versus others, or otherwise. Having this data will lead to personalization at scale and will enable you to treat a walk-in like a monthly visitor.

5 Promote the relevant

With better data, your promotions will take better shape. Frankly, I'm tired of seeing a "message" on my TV when I return to my room. It's a promotion that's been sent to me, as it has been to all others at the hotel. The quality of the offer is based on no data whatsoever, and aside from the tedious process of using the TV remote to "access" the offer, the content will simply not be relevant to how I spent my day.

The Siam, Bangkok's leading hotel, approaches the aspect of personalization with the deployment of the most fitting technology to do both understand guest behavior and deliver the most relevant guest engagement.

6 Take content truly digital

You have a well-designed compendium? So what?

Do you understand your own readership? How many guests looked at the club sandwich and called room service right after, and how many just looked and decided not to call? How can you deliver exceptional guest experience, if you're not tracking this behavior?

There is an urgent need for hotels to genuinely enter the digital age. Taking everything digital will enable you to understand as to which items draw the most attention, which ones convert best, and which ones might need more visibility. If you give up on your digital approach, you might as well not have anything beyond a bed in place for guests.

7 Be open-minded

Companies like Airbnb didn't just become successful because they are so great. They became successful because portions of travelers don't feel the need to stay at a hotel anymore. If you continue down the very traditional path, you might be the next hotel in line for disruption. In that sense, it's important to listen (with an open mind) to technology vendors before dismissing their approach. They might be onto something great in terms of guest engagement.


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