Guestware®

The Power of CRM for Hotels Big or Small

Posted Wednesday, June 28, 2017 by Julie Hoit

Ask yourself: Do I know my guests? Do I know what they like and don’t like? Do I know how they prefer to communicate? Understanding your guests and making sure they generate repeat business is at the heart of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). CRM is not dependent on the size of a hotel. The common goal of large and small hotels is to ensure guest satisfaction from pre-arrival to post stay.

How do I implement a successful CRM program?

Today’s guests are sophisticated and often times looking for an overall positive service experience. It isn’t about price anymore; it is about the entire experience. Successful CRM implementation and ongoing management is not dependent on a hotel’s size or the number of staff members. If executed well, a CRM program will allow even the smallest hotel the opportunity to take advantage of benefits including increased revenue through repeat guests and guest’s spend during their stay, and overall improved guest service through personalized experiences and real-time response to guest requests.

Staff Buy-in:

Having knowledgeable and highly trained staff are key to a successful CRM program. They are at the heart of the guest experience and should reflect your hotel’s goals. Does your staff understand what their tasks are? Are they collecting the most relevant and accurate guest data? Are they reporting all guest incidents and tracking the progress of those incidents? At the very least, every employee should be given ongoing training and armed the most current information of the hotel’s CRM goals to allow them to provide seamless, consistent, and personalized service to each and every guest.

Data, data, and more data:

Most commonly, unsuccessful CRM programs are caused by the inability to capture, cleanse, and track guest data. The internal processes are lagging behind the most current technological capabilities. This results in uncultured and unusable data. As essential element for any CRM program is ensuring data is captured during every guest interaction – booking, checking in, room service, incidents, comments, housekeeping, checking out, follow-up, and repeat booking. Hoteliers will ultimately rely heavily on this information to maintain or enhance a guest relationship. Clean and accurate data is the link between building a stronger CRM program and streamlining internal processes.

Technology:

There are several tools and technologies out there that allow hoteliers to implement a successful CRM program. Several property management systems have the capability to record some level of guest history, but this is the bare minimum requirement for a successful CRM program. While the hotel property management system is a fundamental tool for hotel properties, the level of guest detail data is not adequate enough to provide a superior level of guest service and data collection. However, most property management systems do integrate with specific software systems that precisely capture the detailed and critical guest information into a single application to enhance the guest experience. This integration lets you streamline arrivals process for recognition, link valued guest revenue and incident history, and quickly see guest placement and room status for scheduling preventive maintenance.

No matter the size of your hotel, a successful CRM solution is possible. It will just take a little investment of time and resources to get a better picture of your customers and then retain them for life.