Every hotel has two types of guests - new customers and repeat customers. The former are those whom the hotelier has to gain while repeat customers are those whom the hoteliers have to retain. Both have their utility. To expand your hotel business, you need new customers and to keep your business going, you need to ensure that you retain those customers. Before we discuss how to get repeat customers for hotels, let us first understand them in detail.
Why Customer Retention Is Important In Hotel Industry
Customer Retention involves retaining customers to your business over time. It is a marketing strategy to keep the customers loyal to your business, which in turn will ensure regular revenue generation from them. It is the same for the hospitality industry.
The reason why hotels try to get repeat customers is that getting new customers is more expensive compared to retaining the existing ones. Getting repeat guests will ensure that you have a steady revenue stream and goof word-of-mouth marketing.
Advantages Of Getting Repeat Guests For Hotels
An increase in repeat guests offers several advantages to the hotels, some of them are as follows:
Repeat guests spend on your more. So an increase in repeat customers will ensure a higher flow of revenue compared to those by new guests.
They are loyal compared to new guests. They also have faith in your brand, meaning that any small error on your part will be forgiven, as long as you retain your commitment to your repeat customers.
Getting repeat customers ensures an increase in word-of-mouth customers, who in turn will bring in new guests. A win-win situation!
You can pair customer retention for hotels with upselling and cross-selling strategies. Your existing guests are the best target audience for your higher offerings. If they love your hotel, they will want to see what more you can offer, and they will be willing to pay extra for it.
Repeat Customers also help in increasing direct bookings. New customers are often dependent on OTAs, however, repeat customers can be encouraged to book directly from the hotel website rather than be dependent on OTA bookings. This way, you can save on OTA commissions.
With these advantages, hoteliers should do everything they can to get repeat customers for hotels. Repeat customers are among the best long-term investment for any business.
Customer Retention Metrics For Hotels
Before we formulate customer retention strategies for hotels, we need to first understand the metrics which hotels or any other hospitality business can follow to understand their customer retention performance. These metrics will help you get a better picture of what more can you do to get repeat customers for hotels.
We will discuss these metrics in detail some other day. However, let us give a basic idea of how you can determine customer retention performance to get repeat customers for hotels.
To calculate customer retention rate, one needs to calculate:
Number of customers at the start of the time period(S)
Number of customers at the end of the time period (E)
Number of newly acquired customers between the start and end of the time period (N)
The Formula to calculate Customer Retention Rate is as follows:
Customer Retention Rate = E-N/S x 100
For example, If a hotel had 500 customers at the start of the year, and 800 customers at the end of the year. However, it had gained 400 over the time period. The Customer Retention Rate will be:
800 - 400/500 x 100
= 400/500 x 100
Therefore, Customer Retention Will be 80%. This way, you will be able to see where you stand and how long you have to go to get the ideal number of repeat hotel guests.
8 Strategies To Get Repeat Customers For Hotels
Now that we have understood the meaning and importance of customer retention for hotels. Let us now understand the various customer retention strategies hotels can follow to get more repeat customers.
1. Build A Solid First Impression
As they say, your first impression is the last. If you get a bad first impression, it's excruciatingly difficult to redeem it, although the opposite is not true. Even if you make a great first impression if you lag in anything, you will lose your initial goodwill. Hence, reputation management is a delicate thing, difficult to build but easier to destroy.
To increase repeat customers, you need to first great a solid first impression. You can do this before the guest arrives at your hotel. Doing the booking process itself, you can ask them whether they need a cab or any special food preferences. This is why, you will show that you, as a hotelier, is ready to go the extra mile.
When the guest enters the hotel, you should greet them at the reception and ask them again if they want anything else. Then throughout the stay, you need to give them the best guest experience.
Give them a smooth check-out as well, meaning that if you can, you should offer them additional 2 hours to relax in the room after they can checkout. These small things will go a long way in getting repeat customers for hotels.
2. Deal With Guest Conflicts And Issues ASAP
In the above heading, ‘Deal’ and ‘ASAP’ are the keywords. Many things, hotels don’t deal with the guest issues in the first place, getting a bad reputation. Many times, they do deal with it, but not ASAP, making the guests even more agitated.
To make a great impression on your new guests, you need to deal with conflicts, issues and mistakes immediately. People can forgive mistakes, but they want to forgive carelessness and apathy towards these mistakes and issues.
In case, there is an issue, you need to first apologize for the mistake, and try to rectify it ASAP. This way, guests will appreciate your efforts, and can also become your repeat customers. Even after getting repeat customers, you can’t take things casually, because as they say, love can turn into annoyance and even hate.
3. Personalized Touch For Guests
Every hotel guest wants to feel special. Personalizing your hotel services will go a long way in enhancing the guest experience. Personalization of services is among the most important customer retention strategies for hotels. Along with personalized services, you need to be personalized attention to get repeat customers for hotels.
For example, during the off-season, you can keep contacting them regarding any off-season discounts, upselling and cross-selling offers. This will encourage the guests to come during the off-season.
The off-season is the best time to experiment with personalized offers and promos since the guests are fewer during the season, compared to peak season when there is pressure to make the most revenue you can. Anything wrong in peak season can be a loss of potential revenue.
You can also offer them special discounts on their birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. You can use personalized marketing to get repeat corporate customers as well. Email marketing is the best bet for personalized marketing.
4. Inform Your Guests Of All The Services
There will be times when the guests may not know all the services the hotel provides. This will hamper them from having a great guest experience. To get repeat customers, you need to inform them of all the amenities, and how you can avail them. If there is an offer on these amenities, you should inform them how they can avail of the discount.
You should also inform of the rules and policies regarding the amenities - such as those for swimming pool, spa, sauna, bar, restaurants etc, to avoid any inconvenience later on. Also, inform me of any tie-ups you have with the nearest establishments such as restaurants and bars.
5. Make Use Of Multiple Channels To Communicate
To build customer relationships and gain retention, you need to use multiple channels to communicate with the guests. While doing so, you need to ensure that you are not spamming them.
You can reach out to your previous guests on WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and many more! You need to identify where your target audience is, and you need to have a presence there. With WhatsApp Marketing, you can get repeat customers by making your marketing more personalized and approachable.
Social Media is quite popular, you can encourage your previous guests to follow you for updates, and good content in general. Email Marketing is the best medium of marketing for personalized marketing and landing page promotions.
6. Offer Them Exclusive Deals
You should encourage your guests by offering them customer loyal programs. Hotels can offer exclusive deals to get repeat customers. You can include these exclusive deals in the guest loyalty programs themselves - such as a free lunch/dinner buffet for guests. You can also offer exclusive upselling and cross-selling offers for loyal guests.
Deals such as “Book 2 nights and get 1 night free” for repeat guests can be fabulous during off-seasons to encourage hotel bookings.
7. Guest Loyalty Programs
The best way to get repeat customers for hotels is to offer them guest loyalty programs. With reward programs, the guests will be incentivized to stay at your property and make use of all the amenities, to gain more points and more rewards.
You should offer both new and previous guests loyalty coupons so that even the new guests become repeat customers. You should have a database of all the loyal customers so that you can send them coupons and membership offers regularly. Also, maintain a database of all the loyal members so that you can automatically offer them an upgrade or additional perks without any hassle.
8. Feedback - Last But Not The Least
When the guest is about to leave, you need to ask for their feedback. This will show that you, as a hotelier is serious about providing the best guest experience to the hotel customers. Not only before they leave, but you also need to ask for feedback throughout their stay, especially when they come to the reception for anything, or call the reception from their rooms.
With these customer retention strategies, you will be able to get repeat customers for hotels and generate additional revenue as well. This helps in increasing your brand reputation, as you will be perceived as a hotel that goes an extra mile for its customers. Bigfoot Hospitality is here to help you with all your hospitality and hotel-related needs.
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