Delivering an unforgettable guest experience is a brand promise delivered on by hotels around the world. And to say it’s an important promise for hotels to make is a bit of an understatement.
Consumers today have access to an unparalleled amount of information, and advanced technology that gives them an easy access point to quickly devour it.
They are searching the best places to travel to, the best deals in getting there, the trendiest places to eat and sleep, and the meaningful and unique attractions to visit when they arrive at their destination. But what lands at the top of their list of travel must-haves? That’s simple: first-rate hotel accommodations that add value to the travel experience.
Meeting these expectations is something the hospitality industry focuses heavily on. Today’s hotels offer attractive room types with lavish amenities, pet-friendly environments, healthy lifestyle packages with cutting-edge gym equipment and yoga mats, and a variety of dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan-friendly restaurant options.
But at the heart of the guest experience is the provision of top-notch quality service. After all, while an attractive price or hotel feature might lend itself well for getting guests in the front door, it’s ultimately the quality of their hotel service that compels them to return again.
So how can hotel organizations use revenue management to help support their commitment to providing superior guest services? Here are three ways your revenue strategy can do just that:
1. It helps deliver marketing campaigns that make a personal connection with your guests
Many hotels have technology that tracks basic shopper activity on their website; however, they have previously been fairly limited to high-level booking data and lost business data for only their brand.com website when forecasting demand. While they can typically see date ranges searched, time spent on each page, and room types or packages shoppers were interested in, shoppers remained largely anonymous.
This is where the availability of travel intent data – and its implementation through strategic revenue management practices, such as futurecasting – has become critical for developing a hotel’s revenue strategy and implementing it through next-level marketing campaigns.
This specialized data uses search and booking data from third-party booking sites and OTAs to help quantify the demand a hotel can expect for future dates. This market intelligence helps hotels put names to faces, giving hotels human-focused insights so they can market strategically with more specific ad placements, experience packages and tailored offers that connect on a personal level with their guests.
2. It can help infuse your loyalty programs with better value
Emanual Buadert, global chief customer officer of Accor Hotels, recently discussed how their organization uses its data to enrich the guest experience. He shared many details about the evolution of their exclusive loyalty program, Le Club AccorHotels.
According to Buadart, their program has been evolving from reward to recognition, with more exclusive offers and tailor-made experiences available to members year-round. Amplified guest rewards range from tickets for prestigious events to quality merchandise and accommodations at luxurious sister properties. Their goal is to offer their loyalty members other alternatives to applying their points to hotel services.
This is an important consideration for all hotels with existing or new loyalty programs, and the importance of looking beyond offering discounted loyalty rates as a recognition of brand allegiance.
For example, think about a seasoned business traveler toward the end of their career. This guest has been extremely loyal to your brand through the years. Not only do they book their business trips directly with your hotel, they also leverage their various loyalty benefits to book direct for personal vacations as well.
Since this is a traveler with very little price sensitivity, is offering an additional 10 per cent off their stay the ideal loyalty strategy? What other alternatives can you explore that provide a better value-add and expression of appreciation to your loyal guests?
3. Improve staffing to help support better service
Revenue management forecasts provide immense value to improving guest services. Accurate demand forecasts go beyond positively influencing profits by helping different hotel departments plan for appropriate staffing levels.
Accurately anticipating demand allows the hotel to allocate staff across departments in response to low and high periods of demand. This also helps optimize wage costs and significantly increases guest satisfaction since departments are staffed to handle the flow of guest traffic.
Detailed forecasts also help anticipate expected demand in restaurants and spas, so not only will there be enough servers and bartenders, but perishable inventory (such as fresh food) can be ordered more efficiently, keeping waste to a minimum.
Delivering unforgettable and unparalleled guest service is the bread and butter of the hospitality industry, and it’s an effort requiring involvement from every single hotel department. This makes it critical hotels think about the different ways they can leverage strategic revenue management practices to improve the guest experience.
Fusing marketing campaigns with strategic revenue insights, revitalizing hotel loyalty programs and tightening up operational staffing woes are just three of the ways hotels are utilizing revenue technology and practices to do so.
By Fabian Specht
Fabian Specht is the Regional Managing Director, EAME at IDeaS Revenue Solutions in Minneapolis. Prior to joining IDeaS Revenue Optimization, Fabian was the Director of Sales Hotel Systems, EAME for Micros Fidelio Software GMBH. Previous to starting his experience in the hotel technology sector, he worked for Inter-Continental Hotels & Resorts across multiple properties in different countries and regions.
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