Getting a stable clientele and your guest to come back is not always easy. We had the pleasure talking to DJ Rama at a hospitality conference. Mr. DJ is the head of the Auro Hotels group and he is arguably one of the best hoteliers in the country. During our brief chat, we covered quite a range of topics relating to the hotel industry and something which I was very keen to pick his brains about was guest retention and how hotels could ensure, or at least greatly increase their chances, of getting a guest to come back after their stay.
This turned out to be something that the DJ has spent a great deal of time working on, to varying degrees of success and he did remark that this is just as important for hotel owners as it is to attract new customers. For so many hotels out there to only focus on new guests, this could be a terrible way of spending their time and in neglecting the thought and idea of guest retention, they may very well be missing out a lot of money. DJ did share with me some ways in which hotels can work on getting the guest to come back again, adhere are some strategies and tips which he passed on.
There is no trick or hack to get the customer to come back and stay with you again if they have not enjoyed their time in the first place and customer experience is the most important place to start here. This is why prior to launching any kind of campaign to get guests coming back to the hotel, owners and managers must check from top to bottom what the experience that they offer is like. This should start from the moment that the guest walks into the hotel, to the moment that they leave, the service should be impeccable the level of cleanliness should be of the highest level and the amenities and the details which a customer expects should be in order. If you give a guest a 9 or 10 out of 10 experience then you are going to have gone a long way already in securing them coming back again in the future. Everything starts with the customer experience.
Limited Time Discount
Assuming that your guest has had a great experience with you, a great way to get them coming back again in the future is to give them a great second-visit discount, only give some urgency to it. If you hand a coupon over with a 40% discount written on it, that card is going to go in a purse or wallet and be forgotten about, the next time they come to town they probably won’t remember and they may very well go to your competition over the road. If however, you say to them that you can guarantee 40% off their next stay but they have to book within 48 hours, you will find that this urgency causes people to make decisions quicker and that a higher number will take you up on the offer and book to come back.
You have to try your best to get the email address of the guest and their permission to send them marketing emails. The trick, however, is to only very occasionally send marketing emails, you are going to use the address more often than not to just be genuine. A simple email thanking them for staying with you and wishing them a safe trip home, for example, creating personalized emails like this with no marketing in it, is a great way to stay in touch and gain the trust of the customer.
Another great way to get customers spending more in your hotel and coming back in the future is to set up a small in-house rewards scheme which can see the customer earning points on everything that they spend in the hotel, including the room fee. Over time these points can add up and they can use them to get discounts on stays and meals. Alternatively, you could keep it even more simple and offer the customer a free stay after they have stayed with you 3 times. all of these little incentives help to push the customer into staying with you again in the future because people just love an offer and if you can create that for them, they are going to want to take advantage of it.
The first point is very much the most important here, the customer experience will always come first because if that is not right, the additional ideas will fall flat on their face if you should try to implement them.