Top 10 Guest Retention Strategies for Hotels

Customer Retention is a key factor in every business. But why do you specifically need guest retention strategies for hotels? Can’t you just attract new travellers? You can. But Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is no joke. In fact, it will take you 5 to 25 times more money to get a new customer. Remember, getting people to enter the sales funnel is always the hardest part. An effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program can help you cut down on the CAC greatly. Not just this, repeat guests know way more about your hotel than a new customer does. So, you will generate way more profit from returning guests. 

This list will focus on the strategies which are neither frightfully expensive nor difficult to implement. 


Top 10 Guest Retention Strategies for Hotels:


Prioritise on Direct Bookings

Yes, OTA channels are extremely useful in getting bookings. But you know how they keep a sum for every booking, right? Why not redirect the guests to your own hotel website?

There are two reasons to prioritize this. First, you can upsell and cross-sell more easily from your own website. To get more people to visit your website, you can offer small incentives like a free breakfast. People will remember your hotel a lot better if they book it directly from your site. Through an OTA channel, you just remain a nameless property on a huge list. 

The second reason is a bit more complicated. The OTA channels like MakeMyTrip or TripAdvisor also want to retain THEIR customers. And their marketing and CRM budget is way higher than yours. When they try to retain their customers, they naturally offer other similar hotel options to the guests. Your hotel goes out of focus. 

You cannot win back the attention of a guest who is receiving regular notifications from these large OTA channels. However, the guests who directly book from your site will have no such temptations to distract them.


Keep Track of Guest Behaviour

Pay close attention to what your guests’ preferences are. This is the exact data that you are going to need for all the points that come after. To divide your guest population into groups and to market to them selectively, you need this information. 

But gathering this information without digitizing the process is almost impossible. How on earth will you keep track of who is ordering which food item how many times?

The only way to do this is by having a Property Management System like StayFlexi. The key feature of Stayflexi that will help you out with this is its capability to store data. Also, since StayFlexi sets up all your online POS outlets, you can get that data readily as well. StayFlexi makes sure that people book all facilities through the hotel app/website itself. This also includes ordering room service or getting a rental car. So, you have a huge repository of information about your guests that you can later utilize.


Choose a Target Group

With the information gathered from the above step, you need to start categorizing guests into separate groups. As a hotelier, you must already know that there’s always a select group of people who love to splurge. Your best guest retention strategy is to focus your energies on those who can be retained. 

You might need to go a bit above and beyond to cater to these guests. But it’s always worth the effort because they end up bringing substantial revenue to your hotel. However, this does not mean you can ignore your other guests. You need to track their travel patterns as well. This will be helpful when you ask them to be a part of your loyalty program. StayFlexi’s analytics reports are extremely effective in this process of selecting a batch of VIP customers. 


Personalize the Experience

Guests want to be treated as individuals. The very core principle of the hospitality business is that you have to make your guests feel comfortable. After all, your hotel is going to be their temporary home for a while. No one likes feeling like a nameless stranger in their own home. 

This is why personalization is the key to guest retention. If your guests feel like you truly care about their preferences, they are going to remember you. 

This is also extremely valid for those who have some specific requirements. For example, people with special diets or some health ailments. These are not people who like to experiment with their living quarters or restaurants. If something suits their special requirements once, they stick to these properties. 

For example, vegans or diabetics won’t be too keen on exploring newer hotels. This is because they can never be sure that the newer hotel will abide by their special requests. On the other hand, they know that you have successfully fulfilled their requirements once. So, they are bound to return to your hotel if they are in the same area. 


Keep in Touch

This guest retention strategy is meant for the post-check-out process. Your duty towards your guest does not end the moment they take their bags and walk out of the hotel. You have to stay in touch with them to keep the memory of the trip fresh in their minds. This way, your hotel is sure to get recommended multiple times when people ask where they went and stayed.

The easiest way to keep in touch is by sending emails with review requests. Of course, you should automate this process because it is impossible to personally mail thousands of guests. MailChimp is a good option for sending semi-personalized emails to your guests. 

Stayflexi has now partnered up with Zapier which also allows it to be connected to Mailchimp seamlessly. The best thing about this email marketing software is that it allows you to understand the level of engagement. You can stop sending emails to the guests who never click on any of your emails. This shortens your pool of potential return customers. 

Send follow-up emails every few weeks. You can also wish your guests on their birthdays and anniversaries to offer them special coupons. The only purpose of this is to plant a little idea into their heads. Which is, they could be saving money if they went on another vacation soon.


Advertise Based on Past Experience

When you are sending these follow-up emails, include something that is bound to make the guest feel nostalgic. For example, if your guest loved spending time in the golf course, in particular, you can always advertise this specifically. If your guest was a foodie, you can include a list of local restaurants. 

This form of advertising does not really feel like malicious targeted marketing. It makes the guest feel nice to have been listened to. When you send these ads based on past experience, it makes your guest feel like they have your attention.  

How to get this information? Easy. Check your StayFlexi POS reports, analytics reports, and the stored user data. There is a mountain of information to pick out clues from. 


Remember Your Guests

Once your guest retention strategies actually work and you have returning guests, what do you do then? You need to make it clear that you honor them specifically as loyal, returning guests. 

But it’s not realistically possible to remember every guest. This is another instance where StayFlexi can come to your rescue. Since StayFlexi is a cloud-based platform it retains years of guest information. So, whenever a returning guest makes a reservation, this is immediately noticed by StayFlexi. 

If you know which of your guests have visited you once, you can also look up their past preferences. Greet them with their favorite drinks and prioritize everything that they like when they arrive. Your guests are bound to return again after this sort of grand welcome. 


Create Loyalty Programs

Guest loyalty programs in hotels are exactly like the mileage rewards that people receive from airlines. There are some frequent travelers who visit the same vacation spots with their families year after year. These are the exact people that you should be targeting for loyalty programs. 

Loyalty programs in hotels usually guarantee some added benefits (like better rooms, free meals, etc.) or room rate discounts. Some guests will opt for the loyalty program simply because of the added perks. 

The key to setting up a good loyalty program is to ensure that earning the reward points is not difficult. Also, you cannot delay gratification in this regard. Unless the guests can see immediate benefits, they are not going to sign up. 

StayFlexi allows you to create a variety of loyalty programs for different sets of your guests. 


Offer What They Missed Out On

Very often, hotels pair up with local businesses to offer entertainment options. For example, your hotel can offer trips to a local farm, a hiking trail, etc. Often, guests cannot avail all of these options in the limited time of their stay. 

A great way to bring guests back is to entice them with these remaining options that they missed out on. Guests will be tempted to come back and try what was left out. You can even offer them small discounts on these facilities to encourage them. This is a guest retention strategy that is bound to work if your entertainment options are truly worth it. 


Opt for a Property Management System

Almost all the points that I mentioned above require a Property Management System. The key to guest retention is that you need to remember your guests’ minute preferences. This information is impossible to store manually. But if your guests make all their purchases and orders through a single platform, it’d be easier to keep track.

This is exactly what StayFlexi allows you to do. It keeps all your data in one place. And makes this data available to you in the form of comprehensive reports. The best part is that you never have to worry about losing this information. StayFlexi requires no backup. You can store decades worth of data and can refer to them whenever you want. 


In Conclusion

None of these guest retention strategies involve huge discounts or expensive marketing tools. The best part is that a Property Management System can pretty much handle the whole process. It does everything for you. From tracking customer behavior to setting up digital POS shops, StayFlexi can do it all. It stores huge chunks of guest information that it can supply to you in the form of comprehensive reports. 

StayFlexi can do all that and much more. Smart Housekeeping, Auto Inventory Management… everything is packed into a single software. 

Do you want to know more about how StayFlexi works? Leave a comment below!

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