As the hotel industry continues to grapple with labor shortage challenges, teams are forced to do more with fewer resources. Many hotel teams are turning to automation as a solution. Automation can enhance both the guest and employee experience by streamlining operations that previously had a high cost in time and resources. Automation not only saves time and money but also opens an opportunity for hoteliers to drive additional revenue. Here are three ways hoteliers can leverage automation to capture revenue that would otherwise be left untapped.
1Personalize at Scale
Providing a personalized guest experience leads to increased loyalty. Loyalty leads to increased revenue opportunities. Personalization bolsters the guest experience, but the task is daunting without automation and a way to do it at scale.
Personalizing pricing at scale is one way to start the guest journey on a positive note. Meanwhile, personalized pricing helps hoteliers to create a dynamic strategy that drives revenue and promotes direct bookings. Hoteliers can do this with the right automation tools in place. A CRM will lean on a guest’s preferences and profile history to tell the online booking engine how to personalize their rate. Rates are offered up automatically based on the data in the system, taking the manual load off hotel revenue management teams.
Email offers can—and should—also be personalized at scale. Guest profile data can give hotel teams insight that allows them to upsell with offers during the booking phase. When upselling is personalized, the hotel is improving the overall guest experience, as well as boosting revenue streams.
2Automate Upsell Emails
Another way to drive incremental revenue is by automating pre-arrival upsell emails. With the right technology, hoteliers can send upsell offers to guests based on real-time availability and rates, with or without discounts. For example, if a guest booked a king room, the system could automatically send an email with an upsell offer to upgrade to a king deluxe. Hotels could also implement a strategy to email every guest who books an offer to add a box of chocolates in their room or select a late check-out.
The right tools can make this a more automated process, meaning the front desk team doesn’t have extra work. Offer emails are triggered by bookings, and the reservation is updated once a guest accepts. For the front desk team, it operates like the guest had reserved the upgraded room or add-on during their initial booking. This technology can enable hotel teams to:
- Promote and sell higher room categories or services to existing confirmed reservations via email;
- Reduce the number of complimentary upgrades required to balance inventory; and
- Offer tiered rates specifically to reward regular guests
Hotels can also design and automate the upsell strategy for each property’s needs and patterns.
3Tailor the Booking Experience
An important component to capturing additional revenue is tailoring the booking experience to provide guests with the right offer that will convert at the highest rate. Hoteliers can use automation to steer guests toward booking via direct channels and give them offers to do so while remaining in parity with OTAs.
For instance, some CRS have moved beyond distribution capabilities to now include lightweight CRM functionality. Here’s what such a booking experience might look like:
- Guests are automatically met with a message to access benefits and services, which encourages them to register for a guest recognition program.
- The guest transitions from browsing the website to reserving their room on the booking engine where offers available are clearly communicated or displayed to the guest.
- Because the guest booked direct, the hotelier has captured their data. Guest information is now on file for future bookings and marketing purposes, such as automated upsell emails.
Increasing Revenue and the Guest Experience
The pre-stay guest journey is available for incremental revenue opportunities. Catering to guests’ needs before they arrive at the hotel enhances the experience. It enables hoteliers to build trust, promote engagement, and encourage repeat business.
Booking is often one of the first touchpoints a guest has with a hotel. When it’s a seamless experience and tailored to the guest, the journey starts off well. As guests move throughout their journey with the hotel—from pre-stay to on-property and then post-stay—opportunities to keep enhancing the experience and capturing additional revenue growth.
About the Author
Allegra Medina is the director of product for SHR.