What is CRM?
When you think of CRM or Customer Relationship Management, you probably think immediately about the application, but at the same time, CRM stands for the strategy of dealing with our clients (i.e. in the case of hoteliers - with guests). The tool helps streamline processes, build relationships with customers, improve their experience and increase sales. Doesn’t it sound like something that every industry would need?
How CRM applications works
CRM is a database that stores information about your clients, i.e. guests, such as Name and Contact details. Industry-specific CRM will also store information that allows you to determine your customers' preferences - i.e. in the case of the hotel industry, information about previous bookings, stay inquiries, etc.
The information database is, of course, only the basis for further activities aimed at building customer relationships. Any messages sent by e-mail, a phone call made or any other type of contact which a given CRM provides, can be a relationship-building action. CRM also helps to easily and quickly respond to customer inquiries, thanks not only to contact information but also to the customer's purchase history (i.e. bookings created by a given guest). Thanks to that, the client feels that we care about him and he/she is not anonymous to us. And this is a very important element of building relationships!
Imagine the following situation. A guest phones your property with some enquiries about a stay. The receptionist quickly finds guest information in CRM searching by the guest’s phone number, without the need to ask for an e-mail address or other data. He/she only asks the guest if the stay is to be carried out similarly to the previous one, and whether everything was OK with the stay the last time. The receptionist can also encourage the guest with a discount. Then, after agreeing on the date, he/she sends the guest a stay offer, which the guest can quickly book from inside the e-mail. Isn’t it the perfect way to win over the loyalty of returning guests who are not anonymous to us and instead become our acquaintances?
What to use CRM for in a hotel
First of all, not every CRM will suit the needs of a hotelier. A CRM adapted to the process of selling physical products or software won’t offer you what CRM created for the hotel industry has to offer. Not every CRM will be adaptable to your ways of working and industry specifics. So, once you decide that you want to use the CRM tool, make sure it has the functionality required by hoteliers.
Communication and mailing
Communication with guests via e-mail can be approached in several ways. It can be an ad hoc message, a regular newsletter, or occasional messages promoting your offer. The CRM you are considering must be able to send all those types of message. What is the benefit of such type of communication? You need to know that everyone is more willing to react to what they see - so if you send your potential guests a message containing an encouraging description of the stay, supported by interesting photos, then you will make them want to find out more - i.e. to visit your website. That way you will increase not only website traffic, but also the interest in your offer. Your guests may not necessarily be interested in the packaged offer you sent them, but another offer on your website may speak to them enough to book it. This rule applies to both newsletters and irregular mailings.
Remember that the interest in the offer and the increase in traffic on your website is directly proportional to the number of contacts you have in your CRM database! The more guests in your CRM with marketing consents, the more effective your mailing activities will be.
Marketing consents collection
This functionality is closely related to communication, but it is often overlooked when choosing the right CRM application. Your CRM must ensure compliance with GDPR, it must have information about the marketing consents given by guests, it must also filter those consents and be able to use them properly. In other words, it needs to recognize what messages and for how long it can send to guests from the time the consent is given. In addition to that, your CRM should facilitate the collection of marketing consents with every single booking coming into your system!
Profitroom CRM can automatically collect marketing consents from people booking in your facility, both directly and through OTA. It is worth taking a look at these types of functions because each action increasing the number of your contacts means potentially greater profits and a better effect of your mailing campaigns!
Offerings & sales
Offerings and sales seem to be the most obvious functionality of CRM, and yet it does not always have to be that way, especially the hospitality industry. To operate properly, your CRM needs not only the information about your guests but also access to your stay offers and the integration with the booking engine! You won’t make your guest’s decision process any easier by sending him a textual description of a stay offer. However, you will encourage him/her to make a booking by sending a properly constructed e-mail with an online booking function, which will immediately go to your booking engine! This is how Profitroom CRM works which - thanks to integration with the Profitroom Booking Engine - has the ability to easily build very sophisticated stay offer emails.
Your CRM should also be able to offer a discount for returning guests. You don't necessarily have to use it, but it's still worth having it because, from a psychological point of view, the discount is a "profit" for your guest, which he/she may not want to “lose”. 5 or 10% is a lot for a guest while it’s the relatively low cost of obtaining a booking for you. You probably know the ways to encourage customers to extend their contracts which ISPs and mobile service providers use. In their cases a discount is indispensable. Having a customer using their service is profitable even after the discount! And the cost of acquiring a new customer is definitely higher than making sure the existing one feels special. The same applies to your returning guests. Especially if the cost of acquiring a new guest involves sharing some of the profits with OTAs or ensuring a budget for advertising - no matter how effective the adds are!
Do you need CRM?
You should ask this question yourself now and ... answer it yourself either. CRM is definitely a tool for the more ambitious hoteliers. It works perfectly in facilities that modify and update their offer and want to encourage their guests to take a look at the stay packages. Sending a newsletter is a zero marketing cost, especially if - as in Profitroom CRM - its preparation is a matter of minutes. With a large database of email addresses, the profit from such sending can be equivalent to a dozen or even several dozen bookings.
CRM is indispensable in facilities that offer stay packages and have SPA facilities or other attractions that they actively promote and put into offers. Similarly, CRM can be a hit in the case of a city hotel whose goal is to make business guests come back to it. For a business guest, the convenience and the ease of booking counts. So does being familiar with the business guest’s preferences!
Does this mean that apartments and smaller hotels will not benefit from having a CRM? Not necessarily! It all depends on the readiness of the object to actively use the tool. If you are convinced by the ease of sending encouraging messages to your guests if you are ready to create a seasonal offer from time to time (like the recently mentioned Christmas or New Year's Eve) - then go for it. After some time of using CRM, you will start wondering how you could have acted without it. Especially since your profits will speak for themselves!
Are you considering using CRM? Contact us! Let's talk about your needs and expectations. Fill in the form.
Autor: Olga Gajewska