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When is the right time to adopt CRM at your hotel?

If you’re doing this at your hotel you know it’s time to adopt a CRM.

Published on October 06 2019

Some argue that hospitality technology is evolving too quickly and it’s difficult to know when to commit to a program as significant as Customer Relationship Management (CRM). A hotel CRM platform digitally manages and analyses each piece of guest data and communication throughout the travel journey and it’s also an underlying platform that influences critical decisions you need to make every day. You may already be performing many of the tasks that a CRM provides but maybe not as efficiently or accurately.
Here are some tips to help you determine if it’s time for your hotel to implement a CRM, and how to persuade your leadership to adopt it.

I. You frequently export guest data from your PMS

A sure indication that you need a CRM is when you find yourself exporting guest data from your hotel PMS to send a campaign, build a report, view an arrivals list, or send a satisfaction survey. These tasks should be managed securely through the CRM interface. Storing guest data on your desktop computer is not secure and will raise alarms with your IT team who are responsible for your data compliance. Not only are you vulnerable to data theft, but you may also use incorrect or expired information when trying to provide services to your guests.
Issues that frequently arise when manually working with data are:

1. You don’t have explicit GDPR permission to send messages to your guests or you mistakenly overwrite their subscription preferences when
you upload to another email marketing program.

2. You send a new offer to a guest who’s already booked during the offer period and is paying a higher rate.

3. You send multiple copies of a confirmation email, survey or marketing campaign to a guest who has multiple email addresses in their profile.

4. Your PMS is not automatically updated with the cleansed data and the valuable information you had collected on your guest or prospect is lost.

GDPR significantly shifted our policies regarding privacy protection, requiring hoteliers to adhere to a new standard when capturing, storing, and using guest data. Even if your independent property doesn’t capture much data, it can be difficult to determine where that data is stored and its accuracy.

II. Your messaging is inconsistent or generic for all guests

The second indication you need a CRM is that you’re saying or displaying the same promotional messages to guests regardless of their profile or stay history with you. Segmenting your data by frequency of visits, client type, or source can help you determine your most profitable guests and the patterns that influence their purchases. It also ensures you’re sending relevant content to your guests throughout their travel journey.
Issues that frequently arise from a lack of personalisation are:

1. You alienate shoppers who are influenced by photos or experiences that don’t match their social or demographic profile. If your booking engine, website and transactional emails don’t display dynamic content, you could be alienating a valuable portion of your market.

2. You don’t reward your most valuable customers. If you send a generic email campaign with a static offer to your entire database you could be leaving money on the table. Some guests should be offered rewards for previous stays while others may have a willingness to spend more.

3. You just look bad. It’s hard to quantify how your brand impacts your rates, but inconsistent appearance on your website, booking engine and emails can lead to a lack of confidence and trust from your guests.

A CRM centralises your digital brand and ensures consistency across all your communication channels.

III. You have no idea who’s arriving today or their value to your hotel

Most days you may be scrambling to identify who’s checking in, where they’re visiting from, and how you can personalise their stay. Knowledge of a repeat guest may only reside with a particular team member and they may not work at your property any more. An integrated CRM consolidates your guest’s interactions and can provide recommendations to your front line staff in real-time. These intelligent service prompts will increase the revenue per guest while greatly reducing their check-in wait time.
Issues that arise from not maintaining a 360º view of your guest are:

1. Your service history leaves with each employee. When staff turnover is high, you lose critical information that leaves your hotel’s institutional memory forever. This loss of insight prevents you from engaging guests more personally during repeat stays and it prevents you from profiling your valued guest segments.

2. You cannot preempt guest’s expectations or avoid recurring issues learned from a social media review or previous stay survey.

3. You can’t nurture new guests into repeat guests. Without a 360º view of your inbound guests, you cannot coach your team to properly engage or up-sell your guests. If a guest mentions the reason for staying, do you have a place for staff to record that information?

With disconnected software programs, the information you rely on will be expired by the time you print it. A good CRM creates a central profile from multiple data sources. This unique knowledge about each guest/prospect can then be used at any step of the customer journey: from booking via the website and booking engine, to check-in, F&B, housekeeping, post-stay follow-up, and marketing.

IV. How to convince leadership to adopt a CRM?

In our experience, CRM needs are typically identified by the Director of Marketing or Director of Sales and Marketing who is struggling to manage email lists, design campaigns and find new customers. The DoM may collaborate with other team members such as the IT or Revenue Manager to make a pitch to the GM or senior management. The more team members you enlist, the greater your chances of success are in both the bid for a CRM and its future operation. A CRM unifies your guest data and communications but it also unifies your team goals and efforts.


This infographic summary will guide you through your selection process.

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