Selecting a CRM Solution? Here are some helpful tips

February 28th, 2019 Lisa Livingston Data Management, General, Marketing

As customer relationship management software (CRM) is moved to the forefront of technological requirements for hoteliers in 2019, hoteliers are in search of a CRM solution that can accurately measure guest desires, collect guest data, and analyze guest experiences. Plus, the solution must hit all the communication touch points throughout the guest journey. The truth is, if your property doesn’t have a CRM solution, you are missing out on offering your guests frequent stay promotions, and other popular services they may be looking for.  As a hotelier you can use the CRM solution to collect data and identify the needs of your guests so you can market to specific groups of people instead of trying to fit all your guests into a “one size fits all” category.

The hotel CRM technology market is highly competitive and there are several solutions out there that range from generic to highly-customized.  Selecting a CRM Solution may seem like a daunting task, but here are some tips to help you narrow down your search to find the CRM that’s a good fit for your property and your guests.

Tip 1: Determine the CRM features and if those features are a good fit for your property

CRM features and functionality are what you’re looking for, and it should be the easiest question for the CRM provider to answer for you.  Things like data warehouse storage, connection to your property management software, and personalization benefits are some things that you’ll want to have in your CRM.  These features vary greatly between CRM systems, so be sure to evaluate the usability of the software, and if it carries enough (or too many) bells and whistles for your marketing goals.

Tip 2: Determine what guest information is available from the CRM

Good CRM programs should organize and capture guest profile data, and they must also know how to present that to you as a hotelier to be useful.  Before contracting with a CRM solution, make sure that you’re able to capture your guests’ history, special requests, and previous engagement with you at the property. After all, using a CRM solution does not replace your need to know the guests. In addition, guest information should be easily interpreted allowing hotel staff the ability to sort specific market segments.

Tip 3: Determine the types of marketing available in the CRM

If you’re trying to increase direct bookings, you want to be certain that the CRM can handle email marketing campaigns that have promotional links for your guests. If you’re looking for automated email campaigns that are sent for the guest’s reservation confirmation, pre-arrival, or post-departure survey then these features would need to be present as well. Will the CRM platform require you as the user to export your data from one system to another, or is it fully integrated into your PMS? Ideally, integrated CRM and PMS systems provide outstanding marketing results.

Tip 4: Determine the quality of the CRM’s intelligence

As you can probably imagine, CRM platforms contain an exorbitant amount of guest data, and in most instances, they can easily extract data and create informative reports for you.  However, you want to also ensure that your CRM platform has a hefty dose of business intelligence. Business intelligence leads to better marketing efforts and helps you to create additional guest offerings which lead to increased revenue. When evaluating a CRM platform be sure to review any data collection, reporting and intelligence features to provide you with the best CRM fit for your property.

Wrapping up:  CRM platforms are an invaluable tool for your property.  There are so many CRM options available on the market today, you’re sure to find just the right fit.  However, once you settle for a CRM that is ideal for your property’s organizational and guest needs, start using it right away to increase your guests loyalty, feedback and spending.