Having knowledge about you guests has many benefits. One of them is that knowing your guest’s preferences helps you to improve your service: E.g. having the favourite drink or pillow type ready for your guest upon arrival. Another benefit is that it helps the marketing department with creating suited offers and promotions. Peelen and Beltman (2013) state that to develop intensive relationships with customers, companies will not only have to form an image of the customer as a buyer, but also as a user and a person or an organisation in their own context. So the question is which data do you need to get to know your guest?
First you start with the identification of the guest. Here you collect the most basic data such as the name, address, city, telephone number and e-mail address. When you have this data you will be able to start segmentation. Segmentation helps you categorise guests in sub-groups and can for example be done on the base of age, origin or sex. “Sub-groups are crucial in order to be able to provide them with a differentiated offering.” (Peelen & Beltman, 2013).
After the identification and segmentation, it is also important to determine in an early stage what the guests’ communication channel preferences are. Knowing what their opinion on different channels is and when they are active on which channel helps you to reach the guest more easily and decreases the chance that your messages are seen as disruptive.
The above mentioned information will help you to create a first insight on who your guest is and how to reach them but it is also important to know what their connection is with your company. First you can look at the transaction history and customer value. Information such as: which services are previously used? How much have they spend in the past? How recently do they purchase? Etc.. help you to gain a deeper understanding of your guest. According to Peelen and Beltman (2013) “direct marketing practice has taught us that historical buying behaviour is one of the best predictors of future purchase behaviour.”
Communication history is important to be able to conduct an on-going dialogue in which repetition can be avoided. A communication summary can offer points of reference in determining the method which might be used to achieve increased depth in the conversation so that more personal data can be exchanged (Peelen & Beltman, 2013). Also, the communication history should make it possible to see the complaint history. Analysing what complaints there have been in the past, how the company dealt with them and how the customer responded helps you to prevent making mistakes again and in case a mistake is made again you will know how to react.
Furthermore having an insight on events in a guests life will give you the opportunity to make offers to the guest at exactly the right time. E.g. when you know a guest’s wedding date you can make an offer on the bridal suite for their wedding night, or you can make an offer the years after to celebrate their anniversary. Gathering data on events is difficult but some of this type of data can be procured from third-party organisations.
Last but certainly not least important in getting to know your customer is knowing how satisfied they are. Satisfaction can be measured overall but it is also very useful to know how satisfied they are with certain elements of your service. This knowledge will help you to improve the service according to the guests wishes.
Collecting all this information will help you to get to know the buyer, the user and the person within your hotel guest and enables you to improve your service and helps your marketing. Which will eventually lead to happier guests that are more likely to return or to spread positive word of mouth advertisement about your hotel.
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer relationship management. Pearson Education Limited.