TechnologyDataIdentifying the "Shadow Guest"

Identifying the “Shadow Guest”

Identifying the “shadow guest”—or the unknown guest—presents an opportunity for digital marketers to increase their contact list for future retargeting. Touchpoints and technology can help identify those guests and retrieve their consent to market to them.

To evaluate where to uncover demographical information and contact details of those shadow guests, a digital marketer should first look at the hotel or brand’s specific guest journey. This may involve drawing out every single point from pre-stay to post-stay to ask a critical question: “Are we targeting the shadow guest during their stay to drive loyalty?”

To drive loyalty from a shadow guest, marketers must evaluate the guest’s actual hotel stay as part of the customer journey. There are two core benefits that arise from focusing efforts on uncovering the shadow guest and leveraging during-stay technology to assist with this process.

1. Retargeting through advertising

Once a shadow guest is uncovered, digital marketers can create ad campaigns to re-engage these customers post-stay. Through retargeting, marketers can drive these once unknown guests to book direct and generate repeat visits.

2. Feedback to increase Guest Satisfaction Scores

Turn an unknown detractor into a known promoter. When capturing feedback, marketers receive guest contact data and can find opportunities for service recovery. They can also amplify positive feedback by encouraging previously unknown guests to post reviews online.

How To Identify the Shadow Guest

There are a number of strategies to uncover the shadow guest. Here are three digital touchpoints hotel marketers can leverage to convert an unknown guest to a known one.

1. WiFi

Travelers frequently connect their devices to the public WiFi network within a hotel. This process includes, most often, acceptance of terms and conditions through a WiFi gateway before accessing the internet. Within this gateway, digital marketers could look to ask for “opt-in consent” to access name and email for retargeting efforts. This data can be collected and pushed into a CRM system and marketing cloud.

2. QR Codes

QR Codes are readable 2D images that, when scanned by a smartphone, could trigger something to happen on the user’s device. This could include registering for programs, giving feedback, and learning more about a promotion. One of the byproducts of a QR scan could be the sharing of demographical details and contact info. Marketers could include QR codes on any printed materials and displayed on public screens.

3. Social Media

Social media monitoring and engagement will help marketers see who might be posting or tagging a hotel social handle. This could lead to digital marketers identifying shadow guests if monitored closely enough. Having a way to engage with them, observe their post, and find opportunities to carry that conversation into the physical world will help with the conversion from unknown to known. The key is to empower frontline teams to leverage social insights to better serve, surprise, and delight guests during their stay.

In conclusion, no matter how a marketer looks to leverage their digital toolkit, it is important to at least have a shadow guest strategy and ask the question: “How are we targeting the shadow guest during their stay?”

Daniel Cline
Daniel Cline is the head of business development for Local Measure, a customer insights platform for the hotel industry. Daniel has previously worked for or consulted with companies such as WeWork, Waldorf-Astoria, Morgans Hotel Group, Starwood Hotels, and Hotel Insider.

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