How Can you Unify a Scattered Guest Journey?
Do you remember going on trips during summer vacations with your family in the 90s? How were those trips different from those that you go on now? After all, the spots are all the same. The food hasn’t changed much either. Yet, the trips of the 90s are incomparable to the ones of the 2010s. What is it truly that has changed?
The guest journey. Let me first explain how the guest journey traditionally used to be.
You suddenly dreamt up the idea of going on a vacation. Unless the location too magically appeared in the dream, you had to do some research. Where to go? When to go? Where to stay? What to do? Once the research phase was over, you delved into the reservation-making process. Plane bookings, hotel bookings, car rentals- you get the picture.
Then came the actual travel experience. The actual hotel stay, the sightseeing, tasting the local food, etc. And once this was over, you returned home again and started printing out the photos to show everyone. This was the pre-internet review phase. Your friends and family would probably book the same hotel if they visited the location.
Roughly speaking, the basic elements of the guest journey have not changed. Guests will still brainstorm an idea, do their research and then book the hotel. The difference is nuanced. The kind of journey that I just described was linear. Guests moved from one step to the next. You couldn’t start posting about a place without having visited it first. Now, however, you can.
This is called the dispersed guest journey. And yes, this has happened due to the advent of model technology. Everyone is on social media now. So, technically I can post about my dream homestay or my dream hike trial without even reaching the location. Step 4 can come before Step 2 and so on.
Does the dispersed guest journey cause a problem for you, as a hotelier? No. It’s quite the opposite actually. If you can grasp the current technical trends, you can actually discover multiple avenues to cash-in on. Unifying the dispersed guest journey just makes your own hotel’s revenue go up.
How exactly can you unify a dispersed guest journey though? This article will give you the exact answer.
How to Unify a Scattered Guest Journey to Boost Hotel Revenue?
I just described in the introduction how the old school guest journey worked. Now, let us get to the modern guest journey.
Do you just randomly dream of going on a vacation now? Or, did you actually get pulled in by your friends’ instagram photos? The moment you start Googling potential vacation spots, Google picks up on this and starts suggesting even more spots. The same happens when you start looking up hotels.
Some guests don’t wait to actually visit the location to start posting photos. They start sharing from the research phase itself. This is what draws in even more interested guests and even more targeted ads.
Then, you make a hotel reservation. This reservation is not just based on your pre-decided itinerary. This reservation is based on what you think the hotel can add to your itinerary. Once the guests are at the hotel, they do not stop looking for more prospects either. While they are on the spot, they might be informed by a friend that there’s an incredibly authentic local restaurant nearby. They will then add that to their itinerary as well.
As you can understand, the review process can happen during the research process itself. The buying process can happen late into their journey as a guest. There is no reason to assume that the transaction ends with the reservation now.
The key to unifying the scattered guest journey is to be prepared to cater to the guest at every stage. The scattered guest journey has provided the hoteliers the perfect openings to upsell and cross-sell their services. The guests don’t have a concrete itinerary in mind when they book the hotel room. So, you should definitely get in touch right after the booking to suggest more locations.
The guests should not have to depend on their friends’ instagram posts to know about the most trending local cafes. It should be your job to point them to any such happening local places. Having a collaboration with that local establishment wouldn’t hurt either. You get them the attention and customers. They get you customer loyalty. After all, it will be due to your suggestions that they discovered a predominantly undiscovered location at all.
Unifying this dispersed guest experiences, therefore, also increases the revenue collected by your ancillary services. This increases the average guest spend of each guest.
But as rosy as this sounds, how are you supposed to make sense of this ‘dispersed’ process? The answer is simple.
Opt for a PMS: Use Tech to Understand Tech
Technology is what dispersed the guest journey in the first place. Anyone can search anything on the internet now. A ton of information is readily available online and anyone can put it up there. Thousands of reviews are available at the tip of your fingertips.
To understand current trends in travel and to understand your guests in particular, you have to invest in tech. A Property Management System is a single cloud-based platform that manages every aspect of running a property. This is known by many names (Hotel Reservation Software, Hotel Scheduling Software) mostly because it performs many functions.
But how does it help you to unify the dispersed guest journey?
A PMS like StayFlexi does this by keenly listening to the guests. Meticulously maintained customer files are made available to the hotelier. You can see everything you want to know about your guest. And you can also send them follow up questionnaires through StayFlexi.