Why Your Past Guests Are Essential to Your Hotel’s Recovery

By Hâfi Martinsdóttir

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes | 557 words

According to Revinate, a reported 68% of travellers intending to stay at a hotel within the next year shared that they would feel most comfortable booking a hotel that they’ve stayed at before. With so much uncertainty, people are prioritising familiarity and safety over exploring new places. This is great news for hoteliers who can pull together their past guest data and ensure they are marketing efficiently and appropriately to their most responsive audience. Not to mention the fact that guest acquisition is significantly cheaper for repeat guests than new guests.

With this new data in mind, it’s essential that hotels connect intelligently to their past guests through their social media and email marketing campaigns. Given the turbulence of the current climate, these campaigns should not be taking months to roll out, more like a few hours. Marketing needs to be nimble and fluid, adapting with the changes as they roll in.

In order to intelligently promote to your database, your past guest data needs to be organised, efficient and well structured. This means segmenting your guest data into several groups, such as the following:

  • Guests who have stayed recently
  • Guests who stayed with you on business
  • Guests who travel with their families
  • Guests who meet your loyalty criteria
  • Guests who fall into the top spender category
  • Guests who stay with you to specifically utilise a certain amenity, ie. spa, fitness camp, restaurant, etc.
  • Guests who have previously taken advantage of promotions in the past (you can target with similar promotions)

You will likely have had guests who have cancelled their booking due to COVID-19 and these should also be included within their own segment to encourage re-booking.

By segmenting the guests into their own groups, you avoid sending impersonal email promotions to a wide range of guests. For example, compare sending impersonal email promotions to a broad range of guests with a variety of needs to sending personalised and intimate email campaigns to a select group of past guests who live locally thanks to a well organised guest database. 

How to compile and segment your guest data

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to segment and organise all of your guest data. Your guest database is currently the most powerful tool that you have to ensure your hotel’s recovery. To begin;

  • Gather all information into a single file
  • Ensure all fields are filled in using any additional data you may have collected at check-in
  • Delete any rows with the same email addresses
  • Segment those guests to their locality (local, fly-in, international)
  • Hyper-segment your local guests (those within driving distance) into the groups mentioned above (stayed recently, family groups, cancelled bookings due to COVID-19, etc).

Once you have all of these segments in place, you are in a much stronger position to market to those who will be most receptive to your campaigns. Focus on these groups, create personalised and appealing messages and offers that will specifically address their interests and needs.

When the time comes, you can add fly-in past guests to your groups for marketing, but ensure these are also marketed to with their own unique campaign.

This might mean running several different individualised campaigns at once to small groups, but this will always prove to be a more fruitful way of running campaigns than generalised promotions. So getting your guest data organised and segmented now will yield positive results for your recovery and for the future of your brand’s growth.

Unsure of your next step? Get clear on your hotel’s recovery strategy

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As COVID-19 is unlikely to disappear completely without an effective vaccine, it’s expected that we will have a W shaped recovery with lock downs repeatedly being enforced, relaxed and enforced again over time. Being prepared for this tumultuous recovery will stand you and your hotel in good stead to ride the waves to come.

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