If you run an independent hotel, your customers matter more than almost any aspect of your business, therefore it’s important to manage your relationship with them effectively.
This is where a great customer relationship management (CRM) system comes into play, by providing a variety of tools to dig deep into the guest journey and maximise your chances of delighting them every step of the way.
Here’s why a CRM system is vital for hotels today, no matter their size.
When looking for a CRM system, you’ll want to find one that talks to your PMS.
Two customer databases will essentially become one, and your ability to engage with guests and deliver a service that appears tailored specifically for them will set you apart.
Data. Data. Data.
Gathering data on guest behaviour will reveal why they book with you, how they book, why they come back for more or – if it all goes pear-shaped - what caused them to lose interest in your hotel.
A CRM system will provide precisely this level of insight and enable you to get closer to your guests than ever before.
Developing profitable relationships with guests is time-consuming, but with a contemporary CRM system at your disposal it’s possible to automate a lot of the work - without turning into a robotic, faceless hotel.
For instance, a CRM will give you the tools to send emails to guests which are tailored to their previous booking and stay habits. Personalised messaging of this kind will enable you to secure far more repeat bookings and foster that all-important relationship with guests.
Even with a CRM system doing the heavy lifting, hotel staff will still need to take charge and engage with guests before, during and after their stay.
To do this, employees need the right information on tap, so they can make suggestions and provide advice that’s relevant to each guest.
As a result, guests will feel more valued, and enjoy the bespoke treatment. Certainly, it’ll be more memorable than a bland, generic guest experience.
Internal collaboration between departments will gain a welcome boost, too, because CRM systems enable staff to communicate more effectively and share guest data, without relying on Post-It notes or brief discussions at the watercooler.
Getting a handle on guest reviews
The phrase ‘online guest review’ is usually enough to send most hoteliers quivering behind the sofa, but with a modern CRM, you can capture reviews before they make their way out into the world.
Automated guest feedback forms can be sent out post-stay, enabling you to grab their attention and thoughts. This means you can act on negative feedback immediately and turn what might have been a PR disaster into an unexpectedly positive experience for the disgruntled guest.
Just make sure you look for a CRM that has TripAdvisor integration, otherwise the great reviews may never end up online for all to see!
Keeping things simple
Too many disparate systems will have your staff running around in circles and failing to spot opportunities to raise guest satisfaction.
CRM systems simplify the sales and marketing effort for your hotel by combining all the tools, reports and functionality required under one roof.
A CRM system that integrates with your PMS will make its presence felt immediately.
With so many guest service and internal communication benefits on offer, it’s no wonder independent hotels are increasingly adopting these systems.