Did you know that, in 2018 alone, millennials will spend a whopping $200 billion? A good percentage of that huge sum, according to Travel Agent Central, will be on travel and hospitality services. It’s great news for hotels, restaurants, spas, and other unique businesses that occupy the space, but it also should be a wake-up call for hospitality companies that haven’t yet transformed their marketing and customer engagement strategies to cater to this generation of consumers.
To help you craft the customer engagement strategies that will best target your strongest and most influential customer base, we’ve compiled a list of 50 of the most cutting-edge and timely tactics for hospitality companies. Each quote comes from an industry leader and/or publication that has their finger on the pulse of the latest guest experience trends. Below, you’ll find customer engagement strategies in the following categories:
Read on to learn more about how these insider tips can help you shore-up your customer engagement strategies.
Social Media Engagement
“The majority of travelers expect hospitality providers to engage with them before and during their trip to enhance their experience.” – Natalie Severt
1. Promote destinations before services. “Do I want to go to Brazil or Bora Bora for my honeymoon? Do I want to take the kids to the beach or to the mountains? Destination shopping starts with dreaming. Plus, there are three other travel industry micro-moments you need to understand as a hotel. There are the planning and booking stages, when travelers make their dreams reality.
“Finally, there’s the days of anticipation leading up to the trip. Now, while those moments don’t sound like they have anything to do with hotel social media strategy – they do. The majority of travelers expect hospitality providers to engage with them before and during their trip to enhance their experience. So, for any hotel that considers itself a vacation destination, it’s important to create content that reaches guests at every ‘micro-moment’ of the journey.” –Natalie Severt, 8 Hotel Social Media Marketing Strategies, and Tips;, Uamo; Twitter:@UamoHQ
2. Powerful content is always specific content. “Brand reputation can be enhanced if the focus is on creating useful content related to your offerings that viewers will share owing to its usefulness. Churning out generic content can do no good on social media. Each line of content should support the brand image indirectly. Do resist the temptation of creating clickbait strategies that will even ruin the brand in the long run.” – Hardik Oza, How Social Media Marketing Strategies Can Help in Enhancing Brand Identity, HospitalityNet; Twitter: @hospitalitynet
“It is essential in the hospitality industry to respond to messages within a certain amount of time – usually, within the first few hours. Communication in this format should be viewed in the same way we would treat a guest who is standing at our front desk.” – Jordan Jones
3. Respond to each and every inquiry made via social media. “At all times, we are expected to respond and serve as communicators for the brands, which means that we understand the value of attending to EVERY review that comes in, taking on the responsibility of directing guests to the correct sources as well as those concerning customer service.
“It is essential in the hospitality industry to respond to messages within a certain amount of time – usually, within the first few hours. Communication in this format should be viewed in the same way we would treat a guest who is standing at our front desk.” – Jordan Jones, The Value of Social Media in the Hospitality Industry, Stone Bridge Companies; Twitter: @stonebridgecos
4. Make use of influencer marketing. “Let’s get one thing straight. Influencers are not necessarily celebrities. An influencer could be anyone – a blogger, association leader, etc who has the power to influence the thinking of your audience via their content platforms. One of the biggest myths around this type of content strategy is that it is applicable only to B2C campaigns. In fact, influencer marketing has also been effectively used by B2B companies.” –STAAH, 7 Things You Must Have in Your Hotel’s 2018 Social Media Strategy, Hotel Speak; Twitter: @hotel_speak
“Before taking the dive into social media, it is critically important to make certain that product operations and service delivery systems are performing in line with customer expectations.” – Robert Cole
5. Be aware of your limitations before beginning a comprehensive social media campaign. “Before taking the dive into social media, it is critically important to make certain that product operations and service delivery systems are performing in line with customer expectations. If not, a good portion of your social media resources intended for deepening customer relationships and inspiring advocacy will need to be re-allocated to damage control stemming from product/service shortfalls.” – Robert Cole, B2B Social Computing, Caygua Hospitality Consultants; Twitter: @caygugaSH
6. Keep your followers in the know. “The MGM Grand in Las Vegas brings Sin City to life on its social media pages. Whether the hotel is posting a video of a lively pool party happening that very moment, or photographs of an event that took place at the hotel, followers are always in-the-know about what is going on there.
“This provokes interest and excitement from guests who are just beginning to research their next trip to Las Vegas, and it provides useful information for those who are currently staying at the hotel. In addition, the hotel has an interactive concierge app linked to its social media pages, allowing guests to get the information they need whenever and wherever they are.” – Social Media Marketing: 3 Examples of Hotels that Are Getting it Right, Site Minder; Twitter:@SiteMinder_News
“Your website, branding, product offerings and specials, blogs, webinars, videos, events and more should not only be integrated into your social media marketing strategy, but they should fuel it.” – Zach Turner
7. Social media marketing should be integrated into your overarching media strategy. “A good social media strategy is 100% reliant on your overall integrated marketing goals and media strategies. Your website, branding, product offerings and specials, blogs, webinars, videos, events and more should not only be integrated into your social media marketing strategy, but they should fuel it.
“Instead of looking at social media as a strategy on its own, consider it an enhancement to you marketing strategies at large; and instead of an ancillary enhancement, a compulsory one.” – Zach Turner, Social Media Advertising and Why it is Important for Hotels–And Works!, Vizergy; Twitter: @Vizergy
8. Don’t let fads influence your strategy too much. “Social media is another area where hoteliers get caught up in trends, like Snapchat being the fastest-growing social media network. That statement might hold true, but Snapchat is not even in the top 10 social networking sites by market share of visits. Facebook is by far the leader, with about 40% market share. Instead of getting caught up in trends, cast your net in the pond with the most fish.” – T. Maxwell, Owner of eMaximize, Simplifying Digital Marketing for Hotels, Forbes; Twitter:@eMaximize
“Build up an active following on one or two networks to start. Tell your guests to connect with you, then regularly post engaging content that encourages them to share and comment.” – Trip Advisor
9. Don’t hop on several different platforms right away. “Build up an active following on one or two networks to start. Tell your guests to connect with you, then regularly post engaging content that encourages them to share and comment.” – 12 Social Media Strategy Tips for Hospitality Businesses, Trip Advisor; Twitter: @TripAdvisor
10. Create content that targets the needs and concerns of your guests. “First step in this practice is to find out all of the different questions or problems your target audiences have and create detailed content solving those problems. This will help to build their trust in your hotel or brand and will increase the chances of converting them into customers.
“I’d suggest going to Quora and finding a list of questions related to places near your hotel location. You will find bunch of queries associated with the location, like best places to visit around / things to do around / best food to taste in ‘___’ city, etc. Create content on those topics and you are done!” – Jignesh Gohel, Founder and Marketing Head of OLBUZ, 39 Innovative Hotel Marketing Ideas to Attract More Customers, FitSmallBusiness; Twitter: @olbuz
“When you are in a people’s business, what attracts them is your brand reputation.” – Viken Patel
11. Take your online reputation seriously. “When you are in a people’s business, what attracts them is your brand reputation. Nowadays, travelers listen to what other fellow travelers are saying about hotels and accommodations. Keep a close track on your ratings on key review sites and determine your goal firmly where you want to be! Set an objective of what you want your guests to say about your hotel once they leave.” – Viken Patel, Hotel Digital Marketing: How Will it Help You Get Bookings in 2018?, eZee Absolute Blog
12. Use social media as a promotions advertising tool. “Many companies in the hospitality industry have begun to offer promotions and special deals to customers via social media channels. For example, “USA Today” reports that both United Airlines and AirTran have offered special airfare deals specifically for their Facebook and Twitter followers. By rewarding customers for linking their social media profiles to their businesses, hotels and airlines encourage them to continue providing free advertisement over social media sites and begin to build customer loyalty to their brand.” – Forest Time, Social Media and the Hospitality Industry, Chron; Twitter: @HoustonChron
“Your job is to find new creative ways to draw this audience to your hotels channels and engage with them there.” – Are Morch
13. Make social media management a part of your everyday strategy. “This is where we see many brands and hotels don’t yet understand the mechanism of social media. Everyday social media communities discuss topics that relate to your hotel brand, either directly or indirectly. They will discuss these topics with or without your permission. And most discussions happen outside of your personal social media channels. Your job is to find new creative ways to draw this audience to your hotels channels and engage with them there.
“To do this you must know how to find this audience, and how to engage with them where you find them first. And brands that succeed on social media focus on community engagement and thought leadership.” – Are Morch, What Happens When Hotels Worry About Social Media Management, AreMorch.com; Twitter: @AreMorch
14. Share visuals of your offerings that were taken by your customers. “In the travel and hospitality industry, it’s easy to focus your social posts on deals or promotions. It makes sense. You want to promote your brand and get customers to make reservations. But, you should keep your “salesy-posts” to a minimum and instead focus on showing destinations through travelers’ eyes. Share posts from customers, other travelers, and photographers.” –6 Mobile Marketing Strategy Tips for Travel and Hospitality, Campaign Monitor; Twitter: @CampaignMonitor
Tools and Technologies to Boost Engagement
“By providing a virtual tour, you’ll give your prospects an idea of what they should expect so that they can visualize the value of what you can provide immediate and have one more barrier removed from the purchasing process.” – Brandon Gaille
15. Give guests a visual tour prior to arrival. “One of the biggest barriers that people face in choosing a hotel is knowing what their room will look like. By providing a virtual tour, you’ll give your prospects an idea of what they should expect so that they can visualize the value of what you can provide immediate and have one more barrier removed from the purchasing process.” – Brandon Gaille, 13 Terrific Marketing Ideas for Hotels, BrandonGaille.com; Twitter: @BrandonGaille
16. For the best reviews, just ask. “When delivering the ‘ask’ to your customers, understand that most people are extremely busy and don’t have a lot of spare time. Your strategy should make it as easy and uncomplicated as possible for folks to write an assessment, so where relevant include the TripAdvisor link to your profile.
“Here are four simple tactics to let guests know that you are actively seeking TripAdvisor reviews:
“1. Business card – on the back of your hotel’s business card let your guests know that you would love to hear about their experience and stay. A straightforward, ‘Thank you for your patronage. We truly value your opinion. Please take a moment to review us on TripAdvisor’ will suffice.
“2. Email thank you – sending a personalized thank you email to your recent guests is not only a great way to develop fans, but it also allows you the opportunity to seek reviews. At the end of your email, add something similar to the following, ‘We understand that you have a hectic schedule and a busy life, but if you have a spare moment, we always appreciate an honest review on TripAdvisor.’
“3. Ask at checkout – guests who are leaving your hotel during checkout time have their experience fresh in their memory. Smart front desk staff always check to make sure that everything was okay during the departing customers stay. As a reminder, you should also encourage those who are leaving to provide a TripAdvisor review when they reach their final destination.
“4. Widget on your website – a great display of your ‘social proof’ is to place TripAdvisor’s review widget directly on your website. Some samples of TripAdvsor’s existing widgets can be seen here -http://www.tripadvisor.com/WidgetEmbed.” – Mark Hayward, 4 Ways to Tactfully Ask Your Guests for a TripAdvisor Review, Mark-Hayward.com; Twitter: @mark_hayward
“In the hospitality industry, nothing is more important than your guests. Knowing how to best serve them and communicate with them is key to having them come back.” – Marc Prosser
17. Invest in a CRM to keep in touch with guests. “In the hospitality industry, nothing is more important than your guests. Knowing how to best serve them and communicate with them is key to having them come back. Utilize email tracking software like Freshsales to run email campaigns that will send targeted offers to your clients, encouraging them to make return visits.” – Marc Prosser, 39 Innovative Hotel Marketing Ideas to Attract More Customers, Fit Small Business; Twitter: @FitSmallBiz
18. Subscribe to the discipline of “agile marketing.” “Agile marketing doesn’t have to be expensive and often it’s quite economical with coverage coming from PR and social media. Plan for different scenarios and eventualities so that your hotel is primed and ready to react. Even go so far as to have special rate codes set up within your booking engine and create marketing templates that simply need a rate dropped in. You have a narrow window of opportunity to keep your marketing relevant!” – Sam Weston, Marketing Manager of 80 Days, 4 Agile Marketing Ideas for Hotels, Hotel Speak; Twitter: @sam_weston
“Fewer people (especially those in the younger generations) are picking up hotel lobby brochures. However, these people still need advice about what to see and do.” – Sophia Borghese
19. Transform your guides from paper to digital. “Fewer people (especially those in the younger generations) are picking up hotel lobby brochures. However, these people still need advice about what to see and do. In a fully-lit city like New Orleans, there are a ton of things for people to do, so knowing where to begin can be hard. With our digital marketing, we’ve created numerous city-related guides to help our visitors. For instance, we’ve done guides for Mardi Gras, Festival Season and more. We find that people like having a guide they can check on their phones.” – Sophia Borghese, PR Consultant at La Galerie Hotel, 39 Innovative Hotel Marketing Ideas to Attract More Customer, Fit Small Business; Twitter: @FitSmallBiz
20. Create a booking app for your hotel. “Nowadays travelers have a lot of options to plan journeys the way they want it. Which places to visit, where to stay, how to get there – these and far more questions can be solved only by using a smartphone. How can you turn this tech tendency into your profit? Create a hotel booking app! Despite it may sound like a big task for now, we’re going to review the whole process in pieces.” – Andrew Bondarenko, How to Build a Hotel Booking Application, Stormotion; Twitter: @Stormotion
“Choosing the right software to automate or manage your orders, and be flexible at the same time is essential for any restaurant.” – AeroLeads
21. Select an email marketing software that grows with you. “Choosing the right software to automate or manage your orders, and be flexible at the same time is essential for any restaurant. This is your first step towards building and attracting a customer base so it has to be done right. Fishbowl is one such example which has different setups and solutions for restaurant chains and individual restaurants.
“Softwares like Fishbowl have different operational services for different types of restaurants and give you the flexibility to choose according to your need. MailChimp is another software to help in reaching out to your customer base easily. Looking into what kind of software would be best would be and the functions is essential for your restaurant’s online presence.” – Email Marketing for Restaurants: Tips to Attract More Customers, AeroLeads;Twitter: @AeroLeads
22. Make use of your Google My Business page. “There’s a reason Google My Business is considered the online storefront for your hotel. It’s the first thing travel shoppers will see when they search for your property with Google.
“Managed properly, Google My Business can drive significant traffic to your website – and lead to more direct bookings. Managed incorrectly and your potential traffic could be directed to a third party site, or even a competitor’s website. Setting up and maintaining your Google My Business listing is a key part of driving more direct bookings for your property.” – Candace Green, How and Why to Claim Your Hotel’s Google My Business Page, Leonardo Community; Twitter: @VFMLeonardo
“As a travel brand, there are an endless amount of videos that you can produce to grab the attention of the consumer. Showcase your property, city, staff, local events, your restaurant’s recipes and more. Most importantly, you should experiment and see what works.” – Alex Gaggioli
23. Implement video elements into your digital marketing strategy. “Using videos to market your property will remain popular in 2017. Facebook now gives preference to video content and YouTube remains one of the strongest platforms. Video content comes in many different forms and your property can experiment with it different ways. People and businesses are now using video on all sorts of different platforms to entice and educate potential consumers.
“As a travel brand, there are an endless amount of videos that you can produce to grab the attention of the consumer. Showcase your property, city, staff, local events, your restaurant’s recipes and more. Most importantly, you should experiment and see what works.” – Alex Gaggioli, Market Researcher for Cloudbeds, 16 Hospitality Marketing Trends for 2017, Cloudbeds; Twitter: @cloudbeds
24. Don’t solely rely on the big guys to handle your reservations. “If your restaurant clients rely on reservation companies like OpenTable, Yelp, and Resy to take and manage reservations on their behalf, you should strongly recommend they rethink that decision. After all, those are costly investments that don’t always have the restaurant’s best interests in mind. Not only do they make you fight for consumers’ attention by listing your website besides the competition, but the site is devoid of the restaurant’s branding.
“While these systems do help restaurants fill empty seats, they’re not the only option available. We would argue that building a restaurant booking system into your own WordPress website is ideal. Not only will consumers be able to learn more about your restaurant, look up location specifics, and even scope out the menu, now they will be able to make a reservation on the spot.” – Elvina, 4 Easy Steps to Add a Restaurant Reservation System to WordPress, Astra
“When it comes to marketing, a surefire way to capture the attention of your customers is to leverage data to personalize their experiences.” – Jason Dent
25. Craft personalized messages that speak to your guests. “When it comes to marketing, a surefire way to capture the attention of your customers is to leverage data to personalize their experiences. While infrequency of travel and hospitality bookings can indeed make this difficult, there are still several ways you can personalize the experience. Some of the most effective personalization methods to date include the following:
- Capture and leverage social network data by instituting social logins,
- Personalized relevant marketing messages by automating your email messages, and
- Use information you know about a customer (booking date, check in information, preferences, etc.) to create a customized onsite experience.” – Jason Dent, 7 Travel and Hospitality Marketing Trends You Need to Know, Campaign Monitor; Twitter: @campaignmonitor
26. Double-check your website’s efficacy. “Nearly 40% of people search only on a Smartphone. Not surprisingly Google is changing its algorithm to meet the needs of this mobile-first audience. Google’s testmysite is an easy-to-use tool helps you find out how mobile friendly your site is and gives a list of specific fixes to address the issues. Ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly is critical for digital success of the business.” – 10 Free Google Tools to Help Market Your Hotel, STAAH; Twitter: @STAAHOnline
“Your hospitality business can benefit greatly from adopting wearable technology. It shows you’re innovative and ahead of the game, which consumers love.” – Shoes for Crews
27. Consider investing in wearable technology. “Your hospitality business can benefit greatly from adopting wearable technology. It shows you’re innovative and ahead of the game, which consumers love. They’ll also be more inclined to book directly through you, rather than third-parties. Your restaurant staff could benefit from ditching tablets or notepads and wearing smartwatches to help communicate easier, reduce waiting times and even easily display order so busy waitstaff and bartenders can notice and respond to it.” – Marketing in the Hospitality Industry: How to Succeed in 2018, Shoes for Crews; Twitter: @shoesforcrewseu
28. Use tools that boosts your SEO strength. “Having a website is one thing, but its value is limited if it is not easy to find. For this reason, search engine optimization is extremely important. By optimizing your website with the use of keywords and other SEO tactics, you can boost its visibility on search engines like Google and Bing and attract more visitors.
“In addition to researching high-value keywords related to your hotel and placing them in content, headings and image ALT tags, you have to use other SEO best practices. Make sure your business listings are all consistent and use the same format; claim your Google My Business page, in order to reap local SEO benefits; and write engaging, high-quality meta descriptions, which will draw search engine users towards your website.” – Martijn Barten, 7 Fundamental Hotel Marketing Strategies, RateGain; Twitter: @RateGain
Offline Customer Engagement Strategies
“Sports events bring in a ton of tourists, and sponsoring the athletes or events will give you visibility and access to all the fans.” – Ishveen Anand
29. Make local sporting events a part of your customer experience. “Piggyback on sports events being held in your area by hosting athletes or partnering with the team/event. Sports events bring in a ton of tourists, and sponsoring the athletes or events will give you visibility and access to all the fans.” – Ishveen Anand, CEO of Open Sponsorship, 39 Innovative Hotel Marketing Ideas to Attract More Customers, Fit Small Business; Twitter: @OpenSponsorship
30. Create a memorable slogan. “People remember strong images and short but catchy slogans. Many businesses still have their number something people can easily recall off the top of their head, such as 1-800-Rent-a-Car. Doing this type of practice only with your hotel’s name or a form of it will put you at the forefront of customers’ minds the next time they need a place to stay or have friends coming into town.” – Are Morch, How Hotels Can Integrate Online and Offline Marketing Techniques, AreMorch.com; Twitter: @AreMorch
“The way guests perceive a hotel affects if they’ll return and recommend it. That’s why hotel brands need to enhance the guest experience and cater to customers’ needs.” – Michael Del Gigante
31. Quality should always come before pricey marketing strategies. “…the way guests perceive a hotel affects if they’ll return and recommend it. That’s why hotel brands need to enhance the guest experience and cater to customers’ needs. While these efforts need to occur throughout their hotel stays, they must begin at the moment they book and continue after they’ve left. By giving guests an exceptional experience before, during, and after their stays, this provides reasons to recommend a brand. The more reasons a brand gives them, the more frequent and fervent their recommendations.” – Michael Del Gigante, How Hotels Can Open the Door to Both Online and Offline Words of Mouth, MDG Advertising; Twitter: @MDGAdvertising
32. Allow your sales team to educate your front desk team. “Nothing will ever replace the face-to-face sales call! Developing relationships is at the core of the sales effort and should always be a priority. It is imperative that you have a focused pro-active sales plan in place. You also want to include your entire staff in this effort. Your front desk associates are meeting your customers daily and can provide invaluable information and leads for your sales team.” – Elizabeth Derby, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Hotel Equities, Tips for Balancing the Hotel’s Online and Offline Sales and Marketing Efforts, Hotel Executive;, HotelExecutive
“Direct mail is one of the oldest marketing techniques of all – and one that seems out of date in the digital age. Nevertheless, it’s still quite effective to mail out coupons, postcards or local mailers to people in your area.” – Kalin Kassabov
33. Don’t overlook direct mail marketing. “Direct mail is one of the oldest marketing techniques of all – and one that seems out of date in the digital age. Nevertheless, it’s still quite effective to mail out coupons, postcards or local mailers to people in your area. You can also buy targeted mailing lists if you want to focus on a certain niche market. I’ve found that direct mail is also a good tactic to use in connection with your online methods. For example, you can send people to your website or Facebook page. At the same time, you can simply invite them to stop in your business or send them a coupon without any need to send them to an online destination.” – Kalin Kassabov, CEO of Protexting.com, 4 Essential Small Business Offline Marketing Techniques, Forbes; Twitter: @ProTexting
34. Target event planners and give them plenty of support the day of. “Obviously people are more likely to hold their event with you again if everything runs smoothly. Event planners have a lot to think about, aside from just choosing your facility to host their meeting and reserve rooms at. They have to plan attendees, seating, catering, key speakers, the agenda etc. Their life will be made much easier, and they’ll appreciate your property a lot more, if you can provide them a seamless and hassle-free booking experience.” – How to Boost Revenue from Your Hotel’s Meetings and Events Business, SiteMinder; Twitter: @SiteMinder_News
“Meeting people face to face can have more of an impact than sending an email or speaking over the phone.” – Rich Landsdale
35. Join thriving networking groups for engagement strategy inspiration. “Meeting people face to face can have more of an impact than sending an email or speaking over the phone. The hospitality industry places high importance on creating experiences and relationships with both customers and investors. Therefore, attending the events where you can meet people from the industry can contribute to the success of your own business. It gives you an opportunity to share your passion, and it helps you answer some of the questions you’ve been wondering about.” – Rich Landsdale, 8 Little Known Ways to Network with Hospitality Industry Insiders, Business.com; Twitter: @businessdotcom
36. Plan fun events for guests and keep your product at the forefront. “Find a way to make the brand or product a part of the event. Example: Volvo Construction Equipment customers who attended the company’s hospitality event at the ConAg/ConExpo trade show witnessed a basketball game played by a backhoe, forklift and 70-ton excavator. The machines passed a ball from one to the other before going in for a slam dunk.” – Kristy Elisano, 5 Tips for Killer Hospitality Events, Sparks
“The addition of partner hotels will help increase your customer base in other markets.” – Kashmira Lad
37. Craft a flexible loyalty program. “If you have a hotel property at another location, add flexibility to your hotel loyalty program. Allow your guests to redeem offers at your other hotel locations if applicable. This gives them the opportunity to explore your products and experience your services. The addition of partner hotels will help increase your customer base in other markets. If you’re a small or mid-sized hotel owner, it’s an easy job to modify the program and get creative about what you have to offer!” – Kashmira Lad, Senior Content Manager with Hotelogix, 6 Ways to Create an Effective Guest Loyalty Program to Get More Bookings, Hotel News Resource; Twitter: @Hotelogix
38. Compete with Airbnb by implementing extended stay programs to your hotel. “It’s home away from home. Customers are seeking price-friendly, localized hotels with less formality, says WeeklyHotels.com. The freedom allows them to work, play and rest whenever and wherever they want.” – Alexis McCurdy, 101 Pivotal Hospitality Trends You Need to Know, Smart Meetings; Twitter: @smartmeetings
Other Digital Customer Engagement Strategies
“We may be tempted to think that this all sounds like the plot from a cheap sci-fi novel from the 50s, but by the time you finished reading this paragraph, 200 doors were unlocked by a digital key at Hilton.” – Simone Puorto
39. Keep up with the Joneses and invest in smart room technology. “The trend is pretty clear: in 2018 AI, domotic and IoT will bring the concept of personalization to a level that was unthinkable just five years ago. Guests can now resume their favorite Netflix series right where they left off or play their favorite Spotify playlist as soon as they check in. Bed sensors will know when they are awake or asleep and optimize the room temperature and lightning accordingly. We may be tempted to think that this all sounds like the plot from a cheap sci-fi novel from the 50s, but by the time you finished reading this paragraph, 200 doors were unlocked by a digital key at Hilton.” – Simone Puorto, Marketing Consultant, Five Hospitality Trends to Keep an Eye on in 2018, tnooz; Twitter: @puortosimone
40. Manage your guest experience on a cloud-based system. “Hotels are still running so many analog communications and fragmented technologies to manage their operations that this total data driven understanding of the entire guest journey is a pipedream for most. Some groups can spend hours simply downloading and compiling their data from all various sources while others recognize that half of the guest’s journey is a blind spot to them, relying on effective staff training to ensure a good experience.
“Hotels need to be able to run a cloud based communication layer across every department, giving them a complete view of everything their guests are asking for irrelevant of the format of the ask (phone, email, web, in person). By unifying all guest to staff and staff to staff communication into one platform, hotels would be able to understand everything their guests are doing from booking to checkout.” – Alex Shashou, President and Co-Founder of ALICE, Four Ways Hotels Can Compete Against Airbnb, eInsights; Twitter: @ALICEplatform
“Live chat is one of the best tools that many B2B companies are utilizing on their websites. Why? Because it converts.” – Neil Patel
41. Incorporate a live chat module into your website. “Live chat is one of the best tools that many B2B companies are utilizing on their websites. Why? Because it converts. It helps real people. And let’s be honest, nobody wants to send a support email only to get a (possibly automated) response 48 hours later. Think about it. If you respond 48 hours after a potential lead inquires about your company, it’s likely they aren’t even thinking about your product or service anymore. They might have forgotten completely, or even worse, they may have moved on to a competitor with a faster response time. Thankfully, live chat can fix that, even when you personally aren’t there to respond.” – Neil Patel, 4 Reasons Why You Need Live Chat Now (And How to Set it Up), NeilPatel.com; Twitter: @neilpatel
42. Make use of SMS to keep in touch with guests. “Customers want to know that they have access to customer service directly from their mobile devices. By providing text messages that tailor to their guests, the hospitality industry has made some great strides in reaching their customer base. They can provide up-to-date information about on-site events, as well as dining options, facility features, and more. Most importantly, businesses can follow up with their clients’ experience through the incorporation of SMS surveys.”–EZ Texting, Why SMS is Perfect for the Hospitality Industry; Twitter: @EzTexting
“People are not going to sit down and read a novel on their email. However, they may be willing to skim a well-crafted e-newsletter that only takes them five minutes to go over.” – ArtworkHotels.com
43. Incorporate one central focus into your newsletter copy. “Make it simple. Modern consumers are overloaded with content. With the Internet, TV, mobile devices and more, almost everyone is faced with more information than they could ever possibly know what to do with. Because of this, always keep an e-newsletter simple. People are not going to sit down and read a novel on their email. However, they may be willing to skim a well-crafted e-newsletter that only takes them five minutes to go over.
“In order to keep things simple, remember to streamline the content. Each edition of the e-newsletter should have one central focus, and everything should be geared to that focus. More importantly, readers should know immediately what that focus is and should be able to see the connection all the way through. Too much information will simply distract readers and make the e-newsletter less effective.” – Secrets to an Effective E-Newsletter for Hotels, ArtworkHotels.com
44. Encourage your guests to take selfies with your product. “Food selfies could range from the ‘Look at how fancy my meal is’ to ‘Treating myself while on vacation’ style posts. Depending on your menu and guest demographic you could even go for the ‘Look how hungry I am eating all this food’ type of selfie. Photos of food are just as popular as selfies, it could be a simple matter to ask guests to tag or hashtag your signature dish in order to receive a discount off their bill. This produces a huge amount of online presence and can create a reputation for your F&B quickly, especially in city hotels where many patrons will be non-guests.” – Nick Baker, Community Manager for Apply Hotel, Hotel Selfie–Hotelfie…Seriously, it’s Big and Hotels Need to Encourage Them, eInsights; Twitter: @eHotelier
“Self-service has become a real value-add for most consumers. So, in your hotel, allows guests to check-in or out via their mobile devices, or like the airports, provide a kiosk in your lobby.” – StayNTouch
45. Give guests the option for mobile or kiosk check-in. “Controlling something while experiencing less effort seems contradictory at first. But in today’s hotel service environment, control is a luxury. Being able to by-pass lines or conversations or sales pitches and do something yourself is something we all value in today’s crowded, busy world. We do this daily by shopping online, checking in at the airport and even checking ourselves out at the grocery story.
“Self-service has become a real value-add for most consumers. So, in your hotel, allows guests to check-in or out via their mobile devices, or like the airports, provide a kiosk in your lobby. Guests don’t want to wait in line or speak to someone after a long day’s journey, so they will gravitate to these self-service options. The reason it works for you is the ROI. Your labor costs are reduced and your customer scores will improve. It’s a great value trade.” – 4 Great Ideas for Managing Customer Engagement, StayNTouch; Twitter: @StayNTouchInc
46. When devising a content calendar, remember the 80/20 rule. “Keep in mind that 80/20 rule when posting, which is 80% of the content should be about the local area and only 20% should be self-promoting your hotel. If you find that your posts are more about what your hotel offers such as amenities and specials then you will need to reevaluate your social media strategy. Don’t lose followers because of too much self-promotion. Instead talk about things of value to a traveler. A great way to organize topics that you want to share on social media is by building a content calendar.
“A content calendar allows you to organize your thoughts and stay on track of the 80/20 rule. Additionally, to encourage more audience engagement, post questions and poll surveys to get users involved in the conversation. This encourages call-to-action among users.” – Melody Ciria, 3 Effective Strategies to Create Engagement on Social Media for Hotels, e-Marketing Associates; Twitter: @HotelMktgROI
“An online contest allows you to garner a larger fan following, interact with your existing fan base and gives you the chance to collect lead information for the future.” – Claire Grayston
47. Implement online contest programs. “Why even run a contest in the first place? An online contest allows you to garner a larger fan following, interact with your existing fan base and gives you the chance to collect lead information for the future. And lets face it, with photo contests, essay contests, video contests, referral contests, etc – the possibilities for your online contest are endless. As a hotel, resort or spa, running a contest that gives you user-generated content allows you to hit two birds with one stone. You can expand the reach of your brand and get new leads while also gaining information and content that you can use in future marketing campaigns.” – Claire Grayston, How to Run an Online Hospitality Contest: For Hotels, Resorts, and Spas, Wishpond; Twitter: @Wishpond
48. Advertise healthy perks on social media, like yoga classes or massages, to engage guests. “Taking care of guests’ well-being can lead to a healthier balance sheet if hotels do it right. That’s because there’s a strong link between guests’ feelings of well-being and customer engagement, according to Gallup’s 2014 Hospitality Industry study. Among guests who strongly agree that the hotel they visit most frequently takes care of their well-being, 79% are fully engaged, compared with 20% who are indifferent and 1% who are actively disengaged. Among those who strongly disagree with this statement, a mere 6% are fully engaged.” – Daniela Yu and John Timmerman, Engage Your Hotel Guests by Taking Care of Their Well-Being, Gallup; Twitter: @Gallup
“At its core, gamification is nothing new to the hospitality and travel industries – just think of frequent flier and hotel loyalty programs – but as more and more realms including healthcare, sustainability and finance begin to leverage gamification through digital tools and social media, hospitality and travel are stepping up to the plate in new and innovative ways.” – Scott Meldrum
49. Integrate “gamification” into your digital strategy. “‘Gamification’ is a buzzword that keeps popping up among advertising and marketing professionals today. Essentially, gamification takes traditionally non-game applications and integrates game play mechanics and rewards in order to motivate users and thus enhance customer engagement.
“At its core, gamification is nothing new to the hospitality and travel industries – just think of frequent flier and hotel loyalty programs – but as more and more realms including healthcare, sustainability and finance begin to leverage gamification through digital tools and social media, hospitality and travel are stepping up to the plate in new and innovative ways.” – Scott Meldrum, Executive Director for Interactive at WDCW, The Rise of Gamification in Hospitality and Travel, tnooz; Twitter: @wongdoody
50. Use your lobby space to educate your customers about mobile engagement options. “79% of loyal customers want their hotel brand of choice to proactively engage with them. Your mobile app can fulfill this desire in a variety of ways — whether by helping guests make future bookings easy, conveniently check in, save money via special offers and promotions, enjoy an experienced tailored for their personal preferences and needs (e.g. dietary) or earn free stays, well-adopted mobile applications help hospitality companies turn guests into brand promoters.
“But to be successful, you need to make it easy for customers to learn about your mobile applications, and there’s no better time to educate customers and encourage them to participate with your brand than when they are standing in your lobby.” – SoftBank Robotics US, How to Use Your Own Hotel Lobby to Increase Mobile Engagement, Medium; Twitter: @SB_Robotics