Many Russians had to revise their vacation plans due to pandemic and closed borders. Resorts of Kuban and Crimea faced large amount of tourists that exceeded the last year rates. As there were no opportunity to sunbathe in Turkey or Thailand, vacationers decided to go to domestic resorts. Some people have discovered southern seas of Russia for the first time. In this article we collected some important recommendations for hoteliers — how to retain clients after borders will be opened next season.
Distribute the hotel resources correctly
Hotels of Sochi are overcrowded from early July, business owners use actively the chance to make money after May and June quarantine. Being totally booked is very good for business, but will the hotel have high loyalty of these vacationers?
Superficial estimate of hotel resources would lead to tourist loyalty decrease. Then, next year people will by all means choose to go abroad to the same Black sea and similar price list.
Common situation involves overbooking. Sometimes it happens just because of technical bugs. But sometimes it takes place due to hotelier does not understand hotel resources limitation and the value of positive client connection. For example, all rooms are booked, and personnel still accepts the request for booking. Happy tourist with picture of respectable rest in one's mind takes the flight. But on the spot it becomes clear that all rooms are booked month ahead. What choice does this person have, if not going home? To agree to pay for more expensive suit or waste time looking for another accommodation.
Will vacationer go back next year to this hotel? Most likely, no. More than that, he would leave negative feedback and warn friends from going here.
If all rooms are booked, restaurant fails to serve everyone, swimming pool is overcrowded — do not abuse the client trust. Honest answer that booking is not possible would be much more useful than elaborate con, that will abort the long-term client relation. Informing the client about free lack of rooms, offer the dates in velvet season and the subscription on future offers.
Pay attention to accommodation infrastructure:
- hire extra personnel
- discuss extra service from cleaning company
- extend parking
- increase the abilities of utility resources
- clean the AC on time
Resume: Never try to make money on client trust and expectations, it would be one-time profit. Next season you will lose not just one, but number of guests because of invalid information and cons in rush for extra profit. The same applies to hotel service. Economy on service quality is evident, when in peak workload all weak spot of inn become clear.
Work with client emotions
Why do Russians go abroad for vacation if they have choice? First of all, because of emotions. Friend, who traveled to Montenegro or Phuket, says: "Everything was fantastic!" Sweat memories will make happy for months and years. Emotions are like a bag which tourist brings home. And hotel contributes at least 50% in this bag.
To elicit guests' positive emotions — the task that demand the participation from each and every employee, whether one interacts with clients directly or not. The vacation in hotel must be perfectly planned. For example, peaceful sleep is possible with high quality soundproofing or shift the bar further from the windows. Also you should plan the entertainment outside of hotel: inform about interesting events in the city, offer reliable guides or tickets with discount. Start from the basic emotions to form and increase the hotel guests loyalty:
- Sense of security
It is important to create the atmosphere of security. Stolen belongings and street without lighting will make guests nervous, decrease the loyalty to accommodation. There is number of ways to build good security: CCTV, 24 hours reception, electronic locks etc. Every guest wants to feel safe, it is the basic condition of good vacation and positive emotions. One can forgive the waiter spills coffee, and forget it after couple of days. But the cracked safe in room is the reason to leave this hotel immediately.
- Sense of comfort
Even 5 star hotel cannot provide ideal service. The comfort level depends on not only service quality and hotel aesthetics, but on personnel's ability to solve quickly client's problems with accommodation or side service. For example, offer quick change of unclean room and transfer to airport. When adequate requests from guests are ignored, never expect the client loyalty. Hotel is person's home during entire vacation or business trip, it must be comfy for guest of any status.
- Sense of gratitude
Clients create your income — thank them for this! Gratitude can be expressed verbally — never forget to thank for your hotel selected, for feedback in social nets. Give nice gift: cocktail, tour, discount for the next stay. Gift might not just create good memories, but be the crucial factor while choosing hotel, in case the gift can be used next visit. For example, increase the room category for regular customer for free on every 5th visit. Or offer free breakfast, transfer from and to airport, day in SPA.
- Sense of amazement
In its most positive meaning. Service quality might stay high, and new features help to make resort more interesting. The value of this emotion can vary: from stylish new exterior and jacuzzi, to nice small things like greeting cocktail and animators for children. It is the case when you may and must be creative, considering the values of your audience. For example, to increase the hostel guest loyalty, organize workshop or bicycle tour for nominal price.
Resume: Emotional involvement of hotel guests is the powerful stimule to visit it again. Deeper is emotional involvement, deeper is interaction with hotel and faster grows the loyalty. Positive emotions are brought not just by perfect service, but also by quick mistakes fixing. Do not be afraid to use guests' emotions as the way to increase the loyalty — become closer with target audience.
Use all opportunities to become closer to clients
One should form the client loyalty not just during their stay. Further, becomes business from person in between the purchases, more difficult to work on loyalty. To become closer with clients means meet their needs and even form them.
What needs do hotel guests have?
- use the best of available offers, not to lose benefit
- to receive on time the information on booking status, service time schedule — to receive entire necessary information, not bothering to search
- save money on vacation, but not at the expense of its quality
- get the personal approach and individual, not formal, attitude
Meeting these needs, the hotel takes first step to become closer to target audience. How to implement it?
Launch hotel loyalty programme
One cannot really say if the clients will be back to your hotel after border opening. Even if now the vacationers are perfectly happy. But you can offer long-term relations to your clients. And, you guessed it, many would agree. Hotel loyalty programme opens up major opportunity for new clients winning and regular client loyalty increasing. Modern loyalty mechanics would be interesting for your audience and quite easy to use.
How the loyalty programme helps to retain the client who stay in your hotel this season, not in Turkey?
Form future benefits and opportunities for client
Inn cannot live day-to-day. Next year you need all rooms to be booked, don't you? With loyalty programme you offer to your client the comfortable and expedient stay next season. It allows client planning the vacation, based on your discounts and special offers. There is real difference between "looking forward to seeing you" and "you are issued 500 bonuses to use next visit". Offer your clients the future benefit, stimulate to go back again.
Support the client communication
Do you communicate with your guests after their vacation is over? Good, if you do. Otherwise, you disappear from the sight of the audience already surrounded by competitors. Loyalty programme helps business to stay close with clients between their vacations. Why, you may ask. To reminder about accumulated bonuses, promotions and just wish a happy birthday or a merry season-opening. Less often the hotel reminds about itself, more difficult is to increase the client loyalty.
Save money on search of new clients
It is cheaper to maintain the relations with regular client, than to find new one. Loyalty programme helps to decrease the expenses on finding new clients for two reasons: hotel has warm base of regular clients, and even in crisis can expect people visiting; regular loyal clients often recommend the hotel to their friends and colleagues, that being good effective support in client base extension.
Partner loyalty programme for inns, hotels and hostels
Not only hotels are interested in maintaining the loyalty for hotel. Entertainment, food and amenity service need it too. Partner loyalty programme for hotels and inns is great opportunity to collaborate for same target audience loyalty increase and new clients winning. How does it work?
Companies merge the client bases and launch cross-promos, discounts and other rewards. For example, if the person stays in the hotel during 5 nights at least, one gets the discount 20% for SPA or car rent. SPA gets new client, as the person hardly lose the opportunity to use good discount.
Launching partner loyalty programme for hotel, consider the target audience's interests. If the hotel's specialization is business-trip and corporate events, then it makes sense to collaborate with catering company, delivery company, laundry service, business-class car rent service or airlines. This way it usually happens in Russia, Europe, USA. If the corporate clients visit the hotel year round, what to do with seasonal operation from May to September? Should one freeze the partner loyalty programme till next year? Not exactly. It depends on the platform and operating cost. For example, with VDcards platform one can select the appropriate rate plan for a year or build one's own plan from modules. Flexible module system allows switching off and on the loyalty programme options when it is needed.
One more advantage of VDcards platform for hotel business — ready-made mobile application for clients. It has also the electronic bonus cards of other shops, cafes and restaurants which clients visit between vacations. It is the potential ground for direct communication with target audience and push dispatches about new promotions, discounts, reminders of bonus balance. Increase the hotel client loyalty now, so that after borders opened, your guests have the motivation and advantages to stay at your hotel again!