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Call us for a free FastStart Consultation: (844) 852-3639


 

by Craig Borowski,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: September 24, 2016


Hotels, resorts and other hospitality businesses are only successful if their guests are happy, comfortable and feel they’re valued. This task is easier said than done; travelers come and go, and companies need to track their contact information and preferences to increase personalization during their stay.

Hotel customer relationship management (CRM) software is available to help gather and store this information, so that when a frequent visitor checks in, the staff can greet them by name, offer complimentary snacks or beverages based on their preferences and get them to their room as soon as possible. Delighting guests in this way adds to the customer experience and encourages repeat bookings.

In addition, a hotel CRM offers a way to track loyalty program participation for guests and award them discounts, coupons or other gifts after they reach a certain level.

Finally, a CRM can help hotels boost sales by sending strategic up-selling opportunities via email or directly to guests on their smartphone as they arrive to the property. Just more than half of travelers will use a mobile device to book hotel rooms in 2016, and hospitality companies are wise to use this trend as an opportunity to offer personalized, valuable upgrades to boost revenues.

This guide is designed to help hospitality businesses of all sizes and types determine the features they need to boost customer loyalty, increase guest satisfaction and drive more direct bookings.

Here's what we'll cover in this guide:

What Is Hospitality CRM Software?
Common Features of Hospitality CRM Software
Evaluating Hospitality, Hotel and Restaurant Software
Strategies for Increasing Millennial Participation in Hotel Loyalty Programs
What Type of Buyer Are You?

What Is Hospitality CRM Software?

Hospitality, hotel and resort customer relationship management (CRM) software supports businesses in addressing two major challenges: growing customer loyalty and improving customer satisfaction. The hotel industry remains under intense pressure to maintain adequate occupancy levels, as well as grow share of wallet through the promotion of dining, spa and other complementary services. Hospitality firms rely on this technology to maintain and grow market share and profitability.

Common Features of Hospitality CRM Software

In addition to core customer relationship management functionality, hospitality industry programs will include the following features that tailor it to the industry:

Full integration Many solutions for the hospitality industry combine relationship management with other features, specifically property management, hotel management and central reservation systems (CRS) that manage the entire reservation and check-in process. If you’re not getting a fully integrated solution, it’s important to select a program that can connect to your other systems to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.
Loyalty management Use the profile to maintain detailed information on guests, including contact info, activity history, participation in promotional or loyalty programs and even detailed preferences for VIPs. You can then leverage this information to set up loyalty programs designed to keep guests returning.
Sales activity management Sales activity management is especially important for facilities that host a substantial number of private or corporate events. This would include event-triggered campaign marketing and capabilities for permission-based marketing campaigns.
Dedicated hospitality applications Typical hospitality applications include concierge help desk, incident management, room service and tools to manage events, catering and group sales.

Evaluating Hospitality, Hotel and Restaurant Software

Hospitality CRM software can be divided into several segments: hotel, resort, casino, travel and restaurant. Specific programs are available for each of these segments, and there are also systems broad enough to address all segments of the hospitality industry. For example, CRM software for casinos has specific functionality for player contact management and analytics that provide information on game and player trends within the casino. Solutions for travel organizations, such as an airline, would have specific loyalty program capabilities that could track mileage and trigger promotions and upgrades when customers reach certain pre-determined point levels.

Specific questions to ask when evaluating hospitality industry CRM software are:

  • Would you benefit more from a generic hospitality CRM solution or one with a more specific focus, such as hotel management?
  • What kind of customer data do you want to collect? Does the software store that data? How many records will it let you have?
  • Do you already have property management and centralized reservations systems, or do you want those capabilities included?
  • Are you using social media like Twitter and Facebook to communicate with customers? Does the software support that?
  • Do you require a solution with large group and event management capabilities?

Strategies for Increasing Millennial Participation in Hotel Loyalty Programs IndustryView 2015

Software Advice ran a survey to find out the loyalty program preferences of millennials, a group that has become valuable for hospitality organizations because they are now at the age where their time and money allow for more travel.

We found that 86 percent of millennial travelers are not enrolled in a loyalty program; this presents an opportunity to market a program using a CRM, which can increase return visits and additional sales while they are on the property.

In addition, more than a quarter (27 percent) of millennials are “very likely” to create a social media post about a hotel brand to receive loyalty points. This can help boost your online presence and foster a connection with travelers. CRM users can also note which travelers posted about the brand then award them with a free drink or other discounts.

Read about the results of our survey here to learn more strategies to attract millennials to your loyalty program.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Large hotel chains. Most large hotel chains use a CRM system to track information about each guest, including contact information and any purchases made or preferences gleaned from past visits. These companies rely on the software due to the large volume of guests staying each day and the substantial loyalty programs. With a CRM, even these large organizations can provide a level of convenience and personalization for guests.

Small property owners. At the other side of the spectrum lie the smaller, independent boutique hotels and bed & breakfasts. While these types of hospitality businesses see much less volume of guests than the large chains, a CRM can help owners and managers maximize the friendly, warm atmosphere guests seek in these cozier properties.

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