Differentiate yourself from the competition and elevate the customer experience before, during, and after the stay by honing in on these key touchpoints throughout the interaction
Business leaders just ten or fifteen years ago seemed to harp constantly on the foundation of “the customer is always right” that neither elevated the customer experience nor drove better employee engagement. Today’s business arena has experienced a renaissance in thought leadership, and few contemporary industries are evolving as intelligently as the hospitality field.
Leaders in the hotel and resort field know that driving loyalty among customers involves creating an exceptional experience through strategically constructed touchpoints. Here are several important areas that must be mastered in order to create a memorable experience for the guest – and a compelling reason to return.
- Your website: Fewer travelers these days consult with a travel agent before booking a hotel room or vacation. Instead, your website will likely be the first touchpoint of many. Keep in mind a website needs to be fully-featured and flush with as much information as possible, while also being easy to navigate and quick to load. Also, many travelers will access your site using a mobile device, so work with your internet marketing group to refine your site for mobile applications.
- Physical channels: While the world seems to be moving quite quickly in the direction of digital channels, influencer marketing strategies, and other virtual mediums, hotel management must still leverage the considerable power of physical channels to create positive touchpoints with clients. This includes print advertisements or billboards, direct to consumer advertising, and more.
- Guest check-in: In order to maximize engagement and foster loyalty among hotel guests, you’ll want to integrate property management and CRM (customer relationship management) technologies to create the ultimate client experience between the “booking” and “checking-in” stages. Ask yourself – does your property utilize the latest in tailored software solutions to track and catalog client preferences? Is this data always current, and can it be accessed by hotel staff to make the client’s stay as rewarding as possible? By getting to know your client you’ll be better able to anticipate needs and differentiate your property from the other hotels in the area.
Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you. – Chip Bell
- Occupancy stage: This touchpoint is made better when you look at a guest’s stay more as a total sensory experience, and less as a series of tasks to complete. The occupancy stage is the ideal timeframe in which to demonstrate your commitment to a legendary client experience. You and your team must be fully engaged with your clients, and should use a combination of technology and industry insights to do so. Hotels, especially those that feature casinos or entertainment venues, can create loyalty programs to ensure repeat business. See how the Plaza Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas rewards loyal clients with their brand-tailored program.
- Continuous themes or “your brand”: One way to ensure consistent and memorable touchpoints with clients is to create a theme or brand that you can continually reference along the way. The Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs, for example, can leverage its Rock & Roll theme in everything it does. This enables an arc of brand-reinforcing interactions that will make clients want to return to relive the unforgettable amenities of the property.
- After the stay: The job isn’t done once the client checks out. Rather, you’re now working to earn their repeat business, and the level and type of communication received by the client will largely determine their propensity to revisit. Use post-stay surveys as opportunities for favorable reviews and feedback, and make sure you ask detailed questions that can help you improve service levels going forward. Client satisfaction is partially driven by how businesses respond to complaints, service issues, and general problems. Even if your customer is initially upset, take the opportunity to turn this touchpoint into a positive moment.
The hospitality industry can be extremely competitive, and creating loyalty among customers takes more than discounts or rewards programs. You must focus on maximizing each possible touchpoint with clients to create an unparalleled experience that proves just how valuable your clients really are.