Hospitality was one of the industries hardest hit by pandemic shutdowns, travel restrictions, and canceled events. As demand returns for leisure travel, events including corporate travel, conferences, and more have not yet returned to normal, and inflation could have some consumers rethinking their vacation plans. While the hotel industry is positioned to protect profits against inflation by adjusting daily room rates and the cost of labor, consumers’ budgets cannot be simply managed. Preserving the progress of recovery as fuel prices remain high, airline ticket costs increase, and paychecks are stretched to cover monthly living expenses could become a challenge for the industry. Guest spending has become more valuable, and hotels need to manage the effectiveness of sales and marketing efforts.
Most marketing and sales experts would agree that customer retention is more cost-effective for a business than new customer acquisition. As consumers and businesses watch their discretionary spending and cut back on perceived extras, companies can invest more effort into maintaining positive relationships to protect their bottom lines. However, if hotels try to maintain that relationship through an email, text, or phone call, guests might miss that interaction and it might ultimately be counterproductive.
The number of promotional emails the average person receives daily can be overwhelming, and email services now allow users to filter emails considered to be promotional into folders where they may never be seen, let alone opened and read. Text messages from unknown numbers could create suspicion. An unexpected text message might even be viewed as a scam to steal personal information. One way in which hotels can market to and retain relationships with repeat customers is through physical means, like handwritten notes.
Physical, handwritten notes can stand out from digital means of communication. Among bills, graphic postcards, and advertisements, handwritten notes, in general, stand out in a mailbox and are usually opened immediately. The nature of a handwritten envelope stands out more than advertisements. Handwritten notes or letters can be enhanced by integrations with CRMs systems that automate the process of sending a handwritten note. For example, a CRM system can alert hotels when it’s a guest’s anniversary or birthday, when there are events taking place near the property, or when there are special deals available on rooms.
Businesses are still recovering from pandemic implications heightened by inflation. While it remains to be seen if consumer spending habits will be deeply impacted by inflation, identifying ways to recruit and retain employees as costs increase will allow hoteliers to be creative with new approaches. The need for effective communication will be consistent throughout the year, and making the most of upcoming opportunities is critical to making 2022 as successful as possible.
About the Author
David Wachs is the founder of Handywritten.