Keep ‘Em Coming Back
When brainstorming on ways to effectively market your hotel, hoteliers often forget a vast well of potential that is right at their fingertips, errmm, or in their database. What’s that? It’s your past guests! Just because they have stayed with you and checked out does not mean ‘out of sight, out of mind’ – far from it. Guest retention is one of the most crucial long-term marketing strategies that you should always have in motion. Below are some of the most effective guest retention tools that you can easily use.
Email marketing – It’s a given that when creating a reservation you always want to capture as much information about that ‘will-be’ guest as possible. One item of that information should always be the email address. Repurpose that email address to send them reminders of package specials and incentives to book with you again. Just don’t be annoying with your email campaigns. I like to send mine maybe every quarter.
Use a blog – One of the best ways to engage your past guests is by creating a monthly or even bi-monthly blog that speaks about events going on in your area, specials that you will offer, or even what’s new with your property such as renovations and additions to staff. Always let guests know of your blog when departing or via an email campaign.
Create a free guest loyalty membership – People like to be part of an exclusive club – to be on the inside, it’s just human nature. Give that exclusivity to your guests by offering a free loyalty club. Make it worthwhile by giving special offers to members only, such as a free night after a number of accrued stays, complimentary cocktails or favorite dessert upon every stay. Learn more about creating a free loyalty program here.
Engaging social media – This is along the lines of your blog. Keep them ‘inn’-the-know about what is going on at your hotel. It’s a scientific fact – people respond to photos, especially photos that engage them. Bring your past guests back to that amazing time they had at your hotel every time they look at your Facebook brand page or Instagram. This is a great way to get the word out about that new special you’re rolling out to drive mid-week revenue.
Guest satisfaction surveys – It’s better to find out if there were any issues during a stay before it hits Yelp! The best way to do that is to send out a satisfaction survey every stay. Repurpose that email you grabbed at booking and find out what they have to say. Look for trends and find what you can tweak or implement in your guest’s stay to make it more memorable. I like to keep a log of recurring remarks or suggestions from past guests.
Instead of racking your brain on ways to acquire new patrons, dig a little and get past guests to come experience the wonder of your hotel once again. I’ll let you in on a little secret here, however: the absolute hands-down very best way to improve guest retention is to offer up the most amazing stay they have ever had. Offer this up to them and they will be your guest for a lifetime.