Getting Personal: How Well Do You Know Your Customers?

Restaurant manager talking to customers at their table

Many consumers complain about 21st-century customer service. They voice concerns over automated tellers replacing human beings at banks and self-checkouts at the supermarket. It is true technology has rendered many daily activities “less human” than in previous years. However, hotel managers can now use that same innovation to know their customers on a different level.

Utilize Technology to Know Your Customers Wants and Needs

  • Advanced PMS – The newest and best Property Management Systems (PMS) feature technology that tracks your guests’ purchases and activities during their stay. This can be used to customize offerings in real time. For example, a guest booking a tee time at a resort’s golf course could be given a 20 percent discount at the on-site pro shop by hotel management.
  • Personalized Visits  Another benefit of compiling and filtering guest data with an advanced PMS solution is that it enables hotel management to personalize subsequent visits. Perhaps the customer purchased a certain wine vintage multiple times during their stay. Why not greet that guest with a complimentary bottle upon check-in during his next visit?
  • Smartphone Apps – Smartphone technology is often cited as the biggest culprit in the “dehumanizing” of our modern world. However, it can also be used by savvy hotels to do just the opposite. A customized mobile app facilitates real-time communication with guests. This medium can be used to address service concerns and requests. But, it also presents hotel management with upsell opportunities based on the guest’s purchasing data.
  • Follow-Up Email/Texts  One of the main rules of good hospitality is prompt action. Sometimes this means quick delivery of a requested service. However, it often relates to fast conflict resolution. Studies show that many unsatisfied customers refrain from complaining until after the fact. Automated emails can quickly resolve any issues that went unaddressed at check-out. Such actions may prevent negative commentary that otherwise harms a hotel’s reputation.

 Rewards and Reviews

  • Loyalty Programs – PMS data can also be used to create customized loyalty programs that encourage future bookings. Hotels that create brand loyalty with regular travelers will find they’re the “gift that keeps giving.” A guest who previously booked golf excursions, for example, may be presented with a promo for the next regional golf tournament.
  • Offline/Online Reviews – Optional in-house surveys and websites such as “Yelp” and “Google Reviews” provide a wealth of data for hotels. Both negative and positive feedback can be used to improve the guest experience. In the case of credible complaints, corrective action can be taken. On the other hand, positive reviews can be used to reinforce best practices. Perhaps feedback shows the nightly “Wine & Tapas” event was a huge hit. Hotel management may decide to continue and expand the promotion.

As technology continues to change the nature of human interaction, it’s important for the hospitality industry to find ways to stay connected to customers. Sometimes innovations like remote check-in reduce human touch. However, forward-thinking hotel managers understand it’s a two-way street. Technology can also be used to personalize service!

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