What is a hotel without guests? For a hotel to run successfully and generate revenue, it needs guests or clients. It can sometimes be difficult to acquire new clients, but retaining the existing ones isn’t incredibly challenging.
We will discuss guest retention in the hospitality industry and how strengthening your hotel client retention strategies can create wonders for your hotel’s growth.
The Role of Guest Retention in the Hospitality Industry
If you want to run a hotel successfully, you must focus on your guest retention strategies. Guest retention plays a massive role in the hospitality industry.
You must know that it is not always about attracting new customers to increase profits. Loyal hotel guests are more valuable to the hotel compared to those who visit the hotel once.
An article in Harward Business Review mentioned the findings of a research study that was done by Frederick Reich held of Bain & Company. The research states that acquiring new customers is 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining a current guest.
During the research, they also found out that you can increase your profits by 25 to 95 percent if you increase your customer retention rate by 5%.
This indicates that if you build a long-term and sustainable relationship with your customers rather than constantly acquiring new guests, your hotel can profit.
There are more benefits to implementing hotel customer retention strategies, and they are:
- You build a community of loyal customers: When a guest is happy with the hospitality and satisfied with the interest you are showing them to have a comfortable guest experience, they turn into loyal customers. Loyal customers will refer your hotel to their near and dear ones. In simpler words, your hotel wins, good word of mouth.
- Your reputation will increase in the hospitality industry: You will stand out from the crowd when you have good guest retention strategies. You will have loyal customers by your side, and your reputation will increase.
- You will have a stable customer base: You will have customers who will visit your property regularly. They will not be one-time visitors.
As mentioned before, guest retention plays a huge role. It can increase your profits and gain loyal customers at reduced costs.
Factors Affecting Guest Retention in Hotels
Now that we know why hotel customer retention is essential in the hospitality industry, let us see the factors that affect guest retention in hotels.
While booking a stay, a study revealed that guests read reviews on platforms such as tripadvisor, AAA, Yelp, and other forums. While reading reviews, 71% of guests expect “above average” ratings under the cleanliness column.
This indicates that guests will only come to your property when they know the location will be neat. Also, existing customers will only come back if they feel that the accommodation you provided them is clean.
Cleaning rooms and other areas of the property on a regular basis and leaving it spotless must be a top priority because it can affect your hotel client retention rate.
Provide your housekeeping staff with all the necessary details regarding check-ins and checkouts so that they are on the same page as you.
The amenities you provide attract guests to spend quality time at your hotel. Providing amenities that the clients are looking for will be very beneficial for guest retention.
For example, ever since there has been a shift toward a work-from-home culture, guests are looking for hotels that provide free Wi-Fi. Focusing on providing amenities that are relevant to your guest will help your hotel.
Each individual might indeed have different expectations from the hotel. For example, a backpacker might want various amenities or have different needs than a business traveler. It is important that you recognize the needs of each group and fine-tune the offerings.
In this manner, you will enhance their guest experience. A better guest experience means better reviews and greater guest retention.
Customer or Guest Service
Providing excellent customer service is a must. Guests do not like to wait; that is the reason you must provide quick services. Using technology such as tablets during check-ins can help.
For example, Hotel Andaz by Hyatt has eliminated the front desk concept. Instead of making people wait in long queues, the hotel has hosts walking around the lobby to meet incoming guests. Guests are provided a complimentary beverage while the host completes the check-in process on a tablet. The guests get to sit down and relax instead of standing in line. This provides them with more convenience.
You can use technology to your benefit to increase your hotel client retention rate.
Ways and Techniques to Improve Customer Retention in the Hotel Industry
There are certain techniques that you can implement in your hotel to improve guest retention.
- Provide your guests with a seamless booking experience. Have a good online booking system. Ensure that your guests book their stay directly from your website, not online travel agencies. You can make this happen by offering them discounts or other incentives. The main point is that your website must be fast and efficient.
- You must know your customers and identify your best customer before they arrive. Identify your VIPs and be ready for their arrival. When your VIP arrives at your property, ensure that your staff greets them well and caters to their demands. Give them a homely feel and make them part of your family. Ensure that they feel comfortable.
- Once your guest books their stay, it will be beneficial to send automated messages or emails regarding their check-in time, stay period, type of room booked, and other necessary details. Also, a few days before their arrival, send an email reminding them of the essential details and informing them about your services. You can cross-sell the services you provide, such as spa discounts and premium Wi-Fi.
During the Stay
- You can welcome guests with handwritten notes, a basket of fruits, or any other local item. Small gestures can leave a huge impact.
- You must provide excellent customer service with all the luxuries they expect. You can self-check-in or remove the front desk. Removal of the front desk means your staff will welcome your guest and help them settle down while completing the check-in process on a tablet.
- Ensure that room service and other services provided are done quickly. You can implement tools where your guests can order services with a single click.
- You can introduce loyalty programs to your guests. These programs can highlight rewards that they can receive when they revisit the property. Offer them discounts and members-only offers. You can even build the program by collecting customer data and offering them services or offers which are in their interests. For example, millennial travelers will be interested in loyalty program offers only if they can avail of room upgrades and other status perks. That is the reason the incentives must be unique.
- Use technology to enhance your guest experience. The better the guest experience, the more the guest retention rate. You can implement systems where drapes open by themselves, and guests can cast their favorite show on the tv.
- For guest retention, it is important to keep the conversation going even after their stay. You can send them thank you emails or notes.
- Ensure that you send review forms to your VIPs. Their feedback will help you make changes to your strategies and will make them feel like their opinion matters.
- Prepare a good email marketing campaign. You must ensure that you do not send your guests too many sales emails. Since you have the database, execute emails that are in their interests. For example, if a few of your guests mention that they like music, you can email them about an upcoming music festival.
Invite your guests back with special offers and services
One of the most important ways to improve guest retention is by listening to your guests. It is important that you apply the feedback they provided and make the needed changes. Pay attention to what your guest is saying during the stay.
For example, if they mentioned the tea they liked that was provided in the room. Ensure that you note it down and include them on their next stay.
Giving each guest the attention they need will help in personalization. You can make offers and provide services according to their preferences. This way, they will enjoy their stay and will feel like returning.
The Power of Personalized Communication in Guest Retention
Personalized communication has excellent power. Guests love it when there is an easy flow of communication without hassle.
To effectively communicate with guests, you can use technology. Advanced technology is a huge benefit for the hospitality industry. The usage of technology can make communication more personalized and quick.
You can use AI-powered chatbots to communicate. AI chatbots simulate a natural language conversation with the end user over message channels, mobile apps, and website widgets. The chatbots respond to the user in real time through live chats.
For example, you can set up AI chatbots on your hotel website. When you set it up on your website, the chatbot will greet the guest and display the most asked questions and popular topics. Once the guest selects an option, the chatbot will provide all the necessary information.
In case the guest asks a question, the chatbot will interpret the query and give the best answer. If it can not respond, it can be programed to pass on the query to a human agent.
An AI chatbot can help your hotel deliver an enhanced guest experience even before your guest books their stay.
Here are a few more benefits of AI-powered chatbots:
- They can answer queries in any language once programed. This makes communication more convenient for your guests, especially your international guests.
- They can streamline and centralize communication.
- They can help in following up with your guests. Chatbots can reach out to guests across different channels. They can help collect information regarding what the guests liked and what improvements they would like to suggest. Other than feedback collection, chatbots can make follow-ups more personalized. They can provide updates about the hotel to increase guest retention.
The Impact of Technology on Guest Retention
It is important for a hotel to invest in the right things to survive and stay on top. Investing in technology is very important to stay ahead of the competition. This is because the world revolves around technology, and it is helping the world work seamlessly.
Similarly, technology can have a huge impact on guest retention. The expectations of guests are increasing as years pass by, and only technology can help you meet those expectations when perfectly executed with your strategies.
You can utilize technology right from the booking process to post-stay follow-ups. Technology will help you provide your guests with a seamless and personalized experience.
Here are a few things you can do:
Ensure that your hotel website is mobile-friendly. Whether paying bills or booking a stay, everyone uses their mobiles to perform any activity. That is why you must build a website where your guests can book their stay through their smartphones without any hassle.
Ensure that all the call-to-action buttons are easily accessible. Also, you must integrate your online booking system with your property management system. This will help you see what rooms are available and not.
Self Check-in and Checkout
Self-check-in and checkout help the guest in many ways. Use mobile apps or other tools where guests can check in without standing in line and check out from anywhere. You can send your guests an email or a message with all the instructions on how to check in and out.
You can provide a messaging platform to your guest where they can ask all their queries or order services through the platform during their stay. It will help you keep track of all the queries and orders; at the same time; you will be able to understand your guest’s preferences.
Provide television sets that have mobile casting options. Many guests during their vacation might want to catch up on movies or series, and providing a mobile casting option will make them more satisfied with their stay. They can easily cast their Netflix show and continue watching from where they stopped.
Technology will help in guest retention without any doubt. Through technology, you are providing your guests with a luxurious and comfortable stay. For a guest to return and stay at your property, it is important that you provide them with a seamless and personalized experience.
How chatlyn Can Improve Guest Retention in Hotels
Using chatlyn as a tool will help you improve your guest retention. chatlyn is an AI-powered customer engagement platform.
chatlyn can integrate seamlessly with your PMS, POS, CRM, and other systems. It is a tool that will reduce your workload and will help you manage all customer communications on one channel. This means that you have access to all customer queries on one channel. This way, you know what customers are looking for.
chatlyn also provides a webchat widget. You can add it to your website. The live chat feature will help you communicate with your guests easily without any trouble.
chatlyn will save all your customer data, which will help you know who is checking in and out. You can also have access to detailed reports about customer engagement and behavior.
Overall, it is a powerful tool that will help you increase your hotel client retention rate.
Guest retention is not a new phenomenon in the hospitality industry. It has always been there, but the way it functions now has changed due to technology and higher expectations from guests. We have mentioned all the ways you can enhance your guest retention. Implement them to get the best results.