Guest engagement is an essential part of delivering a meaningful experience for guests in a hotel. It includes building relationships with guests through meaningful interactions before, during, and after their stay.
Guest engagement requires understanding the needs of guests, their preferences and expectations, and delivering personalized experiences that exceed those expectations. Effective guest engagement strategies can lead to increased guest satisfaction, loyalty, repeat bookings, and ultimately, higher revenue.
In today’s competitive hospitality industry, guest engagement is more critical than ever.
With countless options available, guests have high expectations and are quick to share their experiences online. Prioritizing guest engagement can help to create memorable experiences and build lasting relationships with your guests.
In this blog, we will discuss the benefits of hotel guest engagement and share proven techniques on how hoteliers can implement effective guest engagement strategies. We will also explore how to measure guest engagement and overcome common challenges.
Understanding Hotel Guest Engagement
Guest engagement involves connecting with guests and building relationships through meaningful interactions. There are three main types of guest engagement:
- Pre-stay engagement is when you connect with guests before they even arrive at your hotel.
- In-stay engagement is how you connect with guests during their stay.
- Post-stay engagement involves connecting with guests after they’ve checked out of your hotel.
There are many benefits to engaging with hotel guests throughout their journey. Some of the most important benefits include:
- Improved guest satisfaction: When guests feel like they are being heard and their needs are being met, they’ll be more satisfied with their stay.
- Increased revenue: When you engage guests adequately, they will be willing to spend money on more services.
- Positive reviews and reputation: When guests have a positive experience, they are more likely to leave positive reviews online. This can help to improve the hotel’s reputation and attract new guests.
- Loyalty: Engaged guests are more likely to become loyal patrons.
Pre-Stay Guest Engagement
Engaging with guests before their arrival is the first step in the overall guest experience as it sets the tone for the entire stay. It helps in building excitement for the upcoming stay and establishes trust between the guest and the hotel. This early connection can lead to increased guest satisfaction, repeat bookings, and positive word-of-mouth referrals.
There are many strategies that you can use to engage with guests before they arrive, which include:
- Personalizing your communications with guests by using their names and any other information that you know about them. This will help to make them feel like you are genuinely interested in their stay.
- Connecting with guests on social media by sharing photos and videos of your hotel, as well as information about local events and attractions.
- Providing guests with advanced mobile experiences that allow them to explore your property and amenities. Phunware has implemented these pre-arrival tools for leading brands and they routinely see a 50% increase in amenity bookings before arrival.
- Offering concierge services to guests before they arrive. This could include helping them to book reservations, make travel arrangements, or even just answer questions.
- Offering loyalty programs to guests. This will give them a reason to stay with your hotel again and again.
In-Stay Guest Engagement
In-stay guest engagement involves providing exceptional service and creating memorable moments during the guest’s stay. Focusing on effective in-stay guest engagement enables hotel staff to address any concerns or issues promptly and create a personalized experience tailored to each guest’s preferences.
The strategies for engaging with guests during their stay include:
- Customizing the guests’ experience to their preferences and interests.
- Using technology to engage with guests. For example, providing them with access to a mobile digital concierge.
- Offering special services such as late checkouts, free upgrades, or even just a complimentary breakfast.
- Providing local recommendations such as things to do in the area to make the most of their stay.
- Hosting events and activities such as welcome reception, wine-tasting sessions, movie nights, etc.
Here are some extra tips for in-stay guest engagement:
- Be responsive to inquiries: If guests have any questions or concerns during their stay, be sure to respond to them promptly. This will help to ensure that they have a positive experience from start to finish.
- Be proactive: Don’t wait for guests to come to you with their needs. Offer to help them whenever you can. This will show that you are genuinely interested in their well-being.
- Go above and beyond: Sometimes, the little things can make the biggest difference. A small gesture of kindness can go a long way toward making a guest feel special.
- Thank your guests: A simple “thank you for staying with us” can make a big difference. Let guests know that you appreciate their choosing your hotel.
Post-Stay Guest Engagement
Engaging with guests is the last stage of the overall guest experience. It is important to maintain a pleasant relationship with guests after their stay as this increases the likelihood of future bookings and creates brand advocates who will recommend your hotel to others.
The strategies for engaging with guests after their stay include
- Sending personalized follow-up and thank-you notes.
- Requesting feedback to know what they enjoyed and what they think you should improve.
- Encouraging guests to leave reviews on your website or social media pages, and to refer their friends and family to your hotel.
- Offering incentives such as discounts and gift cards to encourage guests to return to your hotel.
- Offering loyalty rewards to guests who stay with you multiple times. This will show them that you appreciate their business and that you want them to return to your hotel again and again.
Measuring Hotel Guest Engagement
An essential step that helps to foster effective guest engagement is to measure your performance. You can measure your guest engagement using different metrics, then use the information to improve the service you provide and create a more enjoyable experience for guests.
The metrics you can use for measuring hotel guest engagement include:
- Guest satisfaction scores: they tell you how satisfied guests are with their stay. You can collect these scores through surveys, interviews, or even just by observing guests’ behavior.
- Guest loyalty: a measure of how likely guests are to return to your hotel in the future. You can track this by evaluating the reviews guests leave after their stay and repeat bookings.
- Revenue Per Average Guest: This metric tells you how much money customers are spending in your hotel and the average cost per guest. It’s a good way of determining how effective your engagement strategies are, as customers spending more are likely to be those most engaged with your services and offerings.
- Cumulative Revenue: This is the total amount of money your hotel has obtained from guests over a period of time and is a good indicator of repeat customers. If your Cummulative Revenue is increasing, it’s likely to mean you are engaging customers effectively and they are returning.
Challenges in Hotel Guest Engagement
Several challenges can make it difficult to engage guests effectively. Some of the most common challenges include:
- Running a hotel with limited resources, which can make it difficult to invest in guest engagement initiatives.
- A communication gap between hotel staff and guests, which can make it difficult to understand and address guests’ needs.
- Difficulty in measuring results and tracking progress.
- Inconsistent service quality, which can lead to a negative experience for guests.
To overcome these challenges, you should consider
- Investing in staff training and development to improve service quality and communication skills.
- Leveraging technology to streamline processes and enable your staff to be more efficient
- Establishing clear goals and objectives for your guest engagement initiatives
- Personalizing guest experiences and empowering them to find the information they need at the right time with a unified digital experience.
- Using data-driven insights to measure success and make improvements.
Case Studies of Successful Guest Engagement
Let’s explore how three leading hotel brands have implemented successful guest engagement strategies. These case studies will provide valuable insights for hotel owners and stakeholders in the hospitality business.
Atlantis Paradise Island Resort
An interesting case study is how Phunware’s guest experience solution helped Atlantis Paradise Island to deliver an astonishing experience for its guests. The solution enabled guests to manage their trip, seamlessly find their way to exclusive amenities around the resort, and allow them to book special excursions and dining experiences.
Another impressive case study is how Phunware’s Smart Hospitality Solution enabled guests to access all hotel details while also linking them to Marriott Bonvoy® for reservations, mobile check-in, and door access. The innovative solution features an on-property resort guide, activity calendar details, and interactive and real-time mapping as well as enabling guests to get reservations for restaurants and other leisure activities.
Trends in Hotel Guest Engagement
As the hospitality industry continues to evolve, hoteliers must stay updated on the latest trends in guest engagement. This will help ensure they can adapt to meet guests’ changing needs and preferences.
Innovations such as Mobile Engagement enable hotels and resorts to increase guest satisfaction, grow loyalty, and usher guests toward a delightful experience before and during their stay.
Realtime Wayfinding is another important technology reshaping the hospitality industry. Providing Wayfinding will ensure guests never get lost in a resort.
Hotels and resorts are also leveraging Geofencing to improve guest engagement. For example, Geofencing can be used to signal to staff that a new guest has arrived and to begin the check-in experience. Geofencing can also trigger automated and custom communication with guests.
Guest engagement in the hospitality industry is essential to provide a memorable experience for all guests. By implementing effective guest engagement strategies pre-stay, in-stay, and post-stay engagement, hoteliers can build relationships with guests, create a personalized experience tailored to each guest’s preferences, and increase their revenue.
Additionally, there are several trends in guest engagement such as Wayfinding, Mobile Engagement, and Geofencing that can empower businesses in the hospitality industry to offer innovative services.
The importance of effective guest engagement is clear – it helps to ensure your guest have a positive experience, and come back to your hotel, ultimately increasing your revenue.
At Phunware, we understand the importance of fostering a memorable experience for hotel guests, thus we provide you with the solutions you need to succeed. Whether you are looking to enhance your guest engagement strategies or need to build one from scratch, Phunware’s comprehensive mobile solutions can deliver the technology you need for robust hotel guest engagement.
Chat with us today to discover how we can help you achieve guest engagement success!