As the holiday rush gears down, it’s time to focus on your strategy for getting your guests to come back. For many properties, the holiday season brings in a lot of new customers and the increased traffic presents a prime opportunity for building lasting customer relationships.
In hospitality (or any business), the key to customer loyalty is customer satisfaction — and the key to customer satisfaction is great customer service. When operations run smoothly and guests receive the kind of personalized attention that today’s guests expect, satisfied, loyal customers are the result.
Modern property management systems (PMS) support the kind of customer service that results in satisfied guests by automating processes to increase operational efficiency and by managing guest profile data to help personalize the guest experience — pre-, during and post-stay. In this blog post we’ll highlight some specific features of a modern cloud PMS that work to build customer loyalty throughout the guest cycle and help bring guests back again and again.
Guest Folio Features
From booking to post-departure, all parts of the guest cycle present valuable opportunities for winning guest loyalty, but the most crucial moment is the actual stay experience itself.
A personalized guest experience is powered by guest data. Modern cloud PMS equip lodging operators with comprehensive guest folios that allow them to manage guest reservation and profile data to personalize the guest’s stay.
In addition to notes and comments about a guest, such as allergies and room preferences, which can be saved in a guest’s profile to facilitate personalized service during future stays, guest folios can offer other guest management features designed to help property staff enhance service in the moment.
Reservation alarms and pop-up reminders can be set to alert staff of any special guest requirements on the day of the guest’s arrival before they check in, upon guest check-in or whenever the guest’s folio is opened. VIP flagging is another simple but effective way for hotel staff to identify guests that require extra special attention immediately via the guest folio.
When guest data can be accessed on the go, rather than locked behind the front desk, guest service can be taken to the next level. Cloud PMS that are optimized for mobile devices allow hotel staff to access data from the palm of their hand while interacting with guests anywhere on the property.
During busy times, guests can be checked in more efficiently by iPad-touting staff members while comfortably seated in the lounge or lobby, rather than queuing at the front desk. On-the-go access to reservation folio data and room availability allows hotel staff to log guest requests on the spot and resolve any issues in a timelier manner. Behind the scenes, mobile maintenance and housekeeping reports contribute to a more satisfying and seamless guest experience too, helping to ensure rooms are always ready for guests and that any housekeeping requests or maintenance work orders are completed promptly.
One of the major advantages of cloud-based hotel technology is the ability to integrate with other systems in order to automate cross-system processes and consolidate data, which has a direct impact on guest service.
For example, your PMS can be integrated with your payment gateway so that credit card payments can be processed directly through your PMS. Integration with GDS and OTA channels allows GDS/OTA inventory and rates to be controlled from the PMS, and GDS/OTA reservations to be sent automatically to the PMS. Integrating your point-of-sale system with your PMS automates the process of posting restaurant charges to guest folios. When your PMS shares data with CRM or guest engagement platforms, it enhances and automates the process of sending personalized guest communications.
Integrating your core hotel systems streamlines operations and makes data more accessible (and accurate), resulting in smoother operations and customer service throughout the guest cycle.
Mobile-Friendly Direct Online Bookings
With mobile now mainstream, it’s critical to ensure your property’s online experience is optimized for mobile devices. In addition to a responsive website that looks and works great on both desktops and smartphones (and everything in between), it’s important to offer your customers easy access to direct online bookings on any device.
Just like a smooth, satisfying stay experience, a simple, secure, user-friendly booking experience will also be remembered by customers (as will a complicated or frustrating one) when they are planning future trips. And with features like access codes for loyalty members or special rates for repeat bookings, a mobile-friendly online booking engine can help secure long-lasting customer relationships.
Automated Pre- and Post-Stay Emails
As you know, your business’ relationship with a guest begins well before they set foot on your property. From the moment of booking (or even an initial enquiry), every customer should receive exceptional service.
A pre- and post-stay email campaign is a powerful tool for engaging and retaining customers. A modern cloud PMS should feature the ability to send automated pre- and post-stay emails to guests, triggered by parameters such as check-in/check-out dates and room and rate codes. Part of automating this process, email templates based on occasion (for example, booking confirmation, pre-arrival, welcome, departure, post-stay feedback request, return offer, etc.) can be set and triggered either automatically or manually.
Automated pre- and post-stay email functionality helps lodging operators deliver personalized service and build lasting relationships with customers.
We can’t talk about customer retention tools without mentioning rewards (or loyalty) programs. Cloud PMS that offer this feature provide properties with an obvious avenue through which to incentivize guests to come back. A PMS-based rewards program allows a property to define its own rules — such as points earned per dollar spent, redemption terms and the rewards themselves — which is important as loyalty programs become more flexible, personalized and geared toward instant gratification.
Although happier staff is not technically a feature of a modern cloud PMS, it is a direct result of using one! When your time, energy and patience isn’t drained by inefficient systems, you can focus more time and energy on your guests. Simplifying daily operations and helping properties get to know their guests, modern hotel technology provides lodging operators with the time and tools they need to deliver the kind of service that brings guests back.
To find out how a cloud PMS helps gain new customers, read 3 Ways Cloud Hotel Management Software Attracts New Guests.