To CRM or not to CRM

January 31st, 2019 Kent Howard Hospitality Trends, Marketing

How many times has your front desk staff checked in the Jones family from Idaho? The Jones’ have visited your property for the past five years, their children have grown up on the ski slopes, and yet your staff (who have been at the property since it opened in 2014) don’t call them by their first names or welcome them back. Perhaps your staff is overwhelmed; perhaps you have a high turnover of employees, or perhaps the Jones’ have all had reconstructive surgery and no one recognizes them.  Whatever the case may be, why didn’t your staff treat the Jones family as the VIPs they are? What do you think it would to the Jones’ loyalty if the staff called them by name, knew they were vegan, and had their ski lift tickets ready to go upon check-in? Successful properties build loyalty in their guests, and the most successful properties build guest loyalty with a strong Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy.

True Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the way your property uses its resources like technology, people, procedures, and data to manage guest relations. CRM can (and should) be used at all stages of the guest life-cycle. For hoteliers, the focus of a CRM system turns toward the data collected from the guest to enhance their future stays. A robust hotel CRM system in place has the potential to increase your business exponentially, so are you ready to procure a CRM to use at your property?  Let’s look at some recommendations from industry experts on how to select a CRM tool that’s right for your property’s brand.

What do you want to accomplish?

Are you trying to increase repeat bookings? Improve the property’s overall image? Let’s face it, the reason to obtain a robust CRM system is not to accomplish all your property’s goals, but it does help!  When composing a list of your property’s goals, consider what items you’ll be focusing on to start: Guest behaviors, booking patterns, guest engagement, and satisfaction surveys can help you determine immediate actionable goals.

Which CRM system should you use?

When hoteliers are looking for solutions, they seek a lot of advice, look at their budgets, and attempt to find a suitable solution that meets their specific needs. Perhaps they watch some software demos, or maybe they decide based solely on recommendations from other industry professionals.  While solicited advice is useful, the key to selecting a CRM that’s right for your property is to think about how you will be using it to accomplish your goals.  Are you planning to add concierge features that interact with your guests while onsite? Do you want to create targeted email marketing campaigns?  Be honest when answering these questions, as they will ultimately lead you to the right CRM for your property.

Ready, set, measure!

As with any newly implemented system, you will want to be sure to set some realistic expectations when measuring the CRM’s performance. And just like anything new; it takes time to work. So, don’t expect a 100% response rate with your first campaign.  Realistically speaking, you want to start with small goals like a 5% increase in repeat bookings, or 15% lift in guest satisfaction.  Make sure to record your results, but don’t stop there! After recording real-time results, it’s time to get to work. You may find that your original goal of increasing direct bookings isn’t the only item your property needs to work on. In fact, there may be some additional goals added to your improvement plan during this stage.  Just remember, you purchased the CRM tool to help you build loyalty in your guests; but learning more about what your property is doing right (or wrong) is the best way to increase your overall brand image.

Wrapping up:

Hoteliers are often intimidated by CRM systems, possibly even thinking they don’t really need one.  However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  The CRM brings all your guest information together in a pretty package allowing you to enhance guest experiences and increasing your bottom line. If you have been considering a CRM system, connect with our sales team to discuss how we can help you reach your property goals.

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InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMS, Cloud PMS, Channel Manager, Hotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today at 1.813.288.4900, or email us at sales@innquest.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.