Earlier, your travel research didn’t necessarily involve surfing the net. You’d call a travel agent after a brief search online, and trust him to get you a discount on the whole ‘package’.
Travelers these days pride themselves on their ‘researching skills’ and their ability to curate a great experience while also bagging the best deals for themselves. And a lot of their research takes them to social networking sites, like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram and user review platforms like TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet.
This means that you have to incentivize your existing customers to share their journey online. Check-ins, reviews, sharing photos, using customized hashtags, and writing blogs are popular strategies to invite contributions.
But don’t just leave it all up to the guests. Hotels should also actively participate in creating and distributing high hospitality industry email list quality content. Focus on value-driven stuff that gets your potential consumers to think, “These guys seem to know what they’re talking about when it comes to travel, so I’ll check them out!” And don’t forget to optimize the content for reading on smartphones, because looking up on PCs is so old-fashioned. Also, partner with experts, specialists, and influencers to enrich your content and give it credibility.
Now that you’re creating valuable content, ensure that it’s discoverable on Google. Have a robust SEO strategy so that you feature in top search results. Also, get a Google Business Listing for your hotel, and make maintain NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number) consistency across platforms like Yelp, Yahoo, Foursquare, and TripAdvisor.
A virtual concierge is even better. Guests can access this service on their mobile, allowing them to see the amenities of your hotel, check out local attractions, or even look at upgrade opportunities. You should use the power of video to your advantage to give them online tours as well.
From the Booking to Arrival
There is always a time-gap between the time guests make reservation to the time they arrive at your hotel. This period is rarely utilized by businesses, but with some thought, you can reach out to your guest and offer value added services.
Communicate with your guests on their mobiles, but in a way that isn’t considered spamming. Give them useful information about the locality, introduce them to sightseeing options, and inform them of events happening around the hotel. And should they like something, let them reserve seats using their smartphones.
You can even eliminate the check-in line and other procedures with the help of a mobile app. Guests can choose their rooms, opt for add-ons and have a hassle-free check in to give them greater control over their stay. Not only will this free up your staff for other aspects of the business, you will also earn brownie points for being proactive.
The Hotel Lobby & The Stay
People would ignore your lobby because there isn’t anything there to capture their interest, apart from droll seating arrangements and eerie silence. You can change that, and use this space to actually interact with guests, using mobiles.
SoftBank’s humanoid robot Pepper is one of those innovations that really caught my eye. This robot makes a great way of channeling customers to use the gamut of mobile services that you might have in place, while also paving the way for affiliate services and programs.
Pepper can be programmed to chat with customers, answer questions and give directions – its functionality is like Amazon’s Alexa. With Pepper, however, there’s a robot in front of customers that can dance, look around, play music, light up, blush and even take a cool selfie with passersby.
Pepper can even capture email addresses and phone numbers, and can be programmed to send customers messages with links to your mobile app, loyalty programs and other things pre-and-post their stay at the hotel. With Pepper, you can capture the data you need to create a truly personalized experience for your guests, which is the reason for most hotels now looking at mobile favorably.