Standing out from the crowd has always been a perpetual task demanding full attention of any hotelier, but has become even more apparent in the post Covid-19 era.
The countless marketing, sales, and operational tools available in the market have allowed hoteliers to gain quick returns in the past, but unfortunately mediocre strategies and cookie cutter approaches won’t cut it anymore.
This brings us to the real question: which hotel management actions will truly help us to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the hotel market and thrive in the post Covid-19 era?
First, get your facts straight before you decide to take action and implement anything – and – don’t worry, we got you covered by giving you some important pointers in this article!
As always, I strongly stress that no decision is the right decision without the research, data and a plan to back it up.
Taking your chances and running the risk of not having personalized offerings in this day and age will almost undoubtedly have a direct negative impact on performance.
Without it, guests at your hotel are likely to experience just another generic and uninspiring stay that is likely to get buried deep-down the forgotten memory pile.
Not only do lackluster experiences fail to drive revenue, but who tells others about their stay if it was anything less than spectacular?
Ways to personalize
Although personalization can mean many things, it is important to first understand the two nuances to the story of personalization – one being technology and the other being the human element.
Technology (mainly in the form of a good CRM/CRS/PMS system) will play an important role in both the execution and control of rolling out personalized offerings in your hotel. Without it, the success rate is likely to suffer as your team can only follow so much going on at the same time.
The human touch
Now we covered the technology aspect, it is important to address the importance of human touch that is so crucial to personalization in hotels.
Offering a good guest experience is something any hotelier will tell you to be the main selling point of their hotel. Unfortunately, I have to beg to differ and must conclude that the market still has miles of improvement potential ahead.
One of my favourite ways for hotels to embrace personalization revolves around being able to fully accommodate the guest´s preferences from the outset and throughout.
I like to call it the “Inclusive Guest Experience“, simply referring to immersing guests to truly offer that special and unique experience they are craving for.
The key role in pulling this off is played by the hotel team.
Think of the feeling you got after receiving that personal advice from the concierge about that little romantic restaurant that served you some of the best food you ever had. Now that’s an experience that will last a lifetime.
Focus on scaling this through the help of your staff, letting them become that one person guests can go to for anything, just like a concierge. Empower and train staff to offer that extra level of service. This way any guest can experience the same (multiple times) during their stay.
Many hoteliers wonder about the financial feasibility of this initiative, but thinking differently is important here. If you’re on a short budget, think of creative ways that still allow similar ways to surprise the guest with something personalized.
An example could be a personalized itinerary and recommendations based on the guests preferences. It can be quickly built from a template and can easily be amended after engaging with the guest.
Marketing: the key to making your hotel stand out
Making your hotel stand out from the crowd can’t go without addressing marketing, particularly due to a few developments that mustn’t be left out of today’s hoteliers agendas.
SEO is key!
There is no question that people will continue searching regardless of any crisis, and it is up to hoteliers to funnel in as much traffic as possible by being fully optimized.
A key element is targeting the right keywords. You must stay on top of the right keywords, constantly evaluating which ones are most valuable and profitable to lure as many “lookers” as possible to your website.
Don’t forget to look beyond the obvious such as your ‘branded’ keywords, but really consider the search intent of potential customers.
You can pull in a considerable amount of traffic through blogging, where visitors are inspired to visit your hotel and surroundings. Not only will you get them to book but at the same time you will have inspired them with activities and other potential drivers of ancillary revenue.
Note that if you have a few successful blog articles that attract high traffic it will help gain authority on Google which subsequently will help push up your main product pages.
Not familiar with Google´s page experience update yet?
Don’t make the mistake and heavily risk losing your positioning. Google is stepping harder on page experience, which is essentially a good thing, since it is based on improving search experience and reducing the likelihood of you losing conversions.
Also, be sure not to forget about mobile! This is where most hotels still have much to gain.
Don’t forget about your past hotel guests
Hoteliers, this is your gold mine!
Make sure to be one step ahead when it comes to your past hotel guests. Ensure you’re covering all areas from effectively collecting email addresses, recording guest preferences, to building well-developed retargeting campaigns, all while delivering value through personalized offers to engage your audience.
Last but not least, social media can offer the visual exposure you need.
My tip? Don’t fall into the trap of influencers.
Especially now, resources can be better spent elsewhere. Instead, focus on delivering exceptional experiences that will drive word-of-mouth.
Final word: Evaluate, prioritize, and make your hotel stand out!
All in all, there are plenty of opportunities for hotels to stand out, and it is up to hoteliers to make the right decisions to succeed.