hotel crm

How CRM Is Improving the Hotel Industry

Customer experience is an essential part of just about every industry, but perhaps none more so than travel — and in particular, hotels. Why? For one thing, a hotel serves a very specific purpose: It’s a customer’s home away from home. The better the customer’s experience with you,the more likely they are to return in the future. But a recent surge in travel, combined with new developments in technology and social media, has upped the pressure on travel companies to provide a perfect, personalised experience; such an experience has become necessary in order to stand out in a competitive industry, and also to garner positive, backlash-free online attention.

With an increase in travel and decrease in travel prices, it becomes increasingly difficult to juggle the high volume of customers; while still maintaining a personalised experience for a consumer base whose expectations are higher than ever. The main directive for hotels then, is to figure out a way to go beyond surface-level information, understanding customers on a deeper level, and reducing the chance of potential customers getting lost in the shuffle — all without requiring every employee to start working 80-hour weeks. The answer is customer relationship management, or CRM.

What is CRM?

Broadly speaking, customer relationship management is the name given to the practice of managing customer expectations, interactions with your brand, and subsequent loyalty — providing the most personalised customer journey possible. However, CRM has evolved beyond that to mainly denote the various software and solutions that empower a company to do exactly that. Most modern CRM solutions are cloud-based, mobile-compatible platforms that employ AI tools and big data to understand customers and deliver proactive solutions, making sure that every customer is reached whenever and wherever they are most likely to be found.

Only a hotel CRM can address the unique needs of this industry.

Naturally, CRMs provide innumerable benefits to hotels. In fact, hotel CRMs are singularly placed to address the unique needs that hotels and hotel chains face. What are some of those needs? A primary concern for modern hotels is social chatter and online reviews. According to one survey, 84% of customers said that they trust online reviews as a personal recommendation, and TripAdvisor, which operates primarily as a review site, consistently gains the highest share of travel website visits, with 13.8%. Hotel CRMs allow the marketing and customer service teams to track the online conversation, both good and bad, and provide the tools for fast, proactive responses and special online offers to the right people.

Speaking of speed, quick problem- solving is essential in a hotel. Customers are traveling, and they want solutions to problems in as little time as possible. With tools such as case management, hotel representatives can pull up relevant customer and booking information at the drop of a hat, refer issues to the best people to address them, and provide much more efficient customer service. What’s more, at a time when there are more than 700,000 hotels and resorts around the world, repeat business is more valuable than ever before. Hotel CRMs provide the tools to keep in touch with former customers, and the means to turn them into forever customers.

The unending benefits of of hotel CRMs.

But solving problems is not the only thing that a hotel CRM brings to the table. The best CRM platforms will allow you to completely transform the guest experience. As mentioned, personalised customer journeys are the best way to connect with, and retain, customers. With the ever-expanding reach of the internet, there is an abundance of data available online that can help you to reach and understand consumers and customers. However, the main problem most companies face is figuring out how to interpret and activate that data. CRM platforms give you those tools. Through using a good CRM, you can connect each person’s experience, crafting a personalised journey from initial contact, through their stay at the hotel, and beyond.

One important part of this is mobile experience. Consumers now expect mobile access as a bare minimum. In fact, hotel guests list mobile payments and personalised mobile travel guides as two of their top three travel innovation predictions by 2030, along with 24/7 virtual hotel concierge. Mobile also results in an 18% increase in room service orders. Many CRM platforms also provide the tools to build and host customer portals and apps, without the need to hire a specialist programmer.

CRM platforms empower hotels with the ability to manage customer loyalty, rather than attempting to buy it with things such as points programs. Overall, CRM systems provide greater guest communication, more effective multi channel advertising, and more useful employee tools. They are simply the only way to move ahead in this industry.

Choosing the right hotel CRM makes all the difference.

So what should you be looking for in order to get all of these benefits? The superior hotel CRM will provide you with everything detailed above, and more. Here are some tips for choosing your CRM:

  • Tools: Think carefully about your objective with this CRM, and make sure that it has the ability to do everything that you want to accomplish. In particular, look for case management, intelligent targeted advertising, and activated AI-driven data.

  • Integration: Integration with your current systems is essential as you adopt a new CRM. The CRM should also be easy to customise and simple to learn.

  • Scalability: Every business aims to grow, and a good CRM will make that easier, not harder. Make sure that your CRM has the capabilities to grow and expand as you do.

  • Affordability: You are of course tied to a budget, and you don’t want to risk your business by spending too much on a tool that you cannot afford. Most of the premier platforms will offer different packages to suit different needs, and allow for customisation.

One of the best platforms for hotel CRM is Salesforce, which checks all these boxes and more. A hotel should be a home away from home. And CRM platforms give hotels the power to provide a comfortable, relaxing experience for every guest.

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