9 Key Benefits of CRM for Hotels

The hospitality industry is encountering growing globalisation, particularly the wing of luxury hotels. Successfully building brand loyalty and maintaining long-term relationships with customers is therefore imperative to attract, retain and satisfy customers in the face of amplifying competition. 

The hospitality industry in general and the hotel industry in particular are highly interactive and engaging – where customer-centricity literally forms the core of business relationships. It is mandatory that at any given time, an all round view of customers is maintained. Hotel industries worldwide are therefore constantly on the look-out for the most rewarding ways not only to meet but exceed customer expectations with every consequent experience. Cost effective, tenable, and of course customer centric plans and strategies are an absolute must to stay afloat in this industry’s competitive environment. 

As economies and information technology infrastructures are progressing at breakneck speed, a whole range of opportunities are opening up for the hotel industry in terms of how connections can be established, maintained and ameliorated with both existing as well as prospective customers. This is precisely where the need for a comprehensive and prolific CRM software arises. 

Meaningful customer-company interactions are facilitated by powerful customer relationship management software. CRM is an intelligent business model that enables collection, management, automation and synchronisation of scattered customer data and unites it with the indispensable organisational functions of sales, marketing and customer service. CRM systems infuse newer and fresher values into these functional areas by empowering hotels to use large pools of customer information to their best advantage. 

For the hotel industry, success and profitability are dictated by the ability to continually acquire, retain and service their customers, and ensure that customers remain customers for life. Profitability here does not just meaning tangible outcomes like ROI and revenues, but the intangible success factors like goodwill and reputation count too. 

The biggest advantage that hotels gain by effectively applying a fecund CRM solution is the systematic tracking of varied customer activities ranging from enquiries, bookings, staying experiences, reviews and other feedback, which indicate their preferences and contentment levels. 

Consolidated, purposeful, flexible and versatile customer information repositories brought forth by CRM software are instrumental in service optimisation and progressive growth of the hotel industry.

9 ways in which CRM solutions enable hotels to offer top-notch customer experiences and gain a strong competitive advantage

1. Central repository
CRM systems allow systematic collection and categorisation of fragmented customer information, as a result of which, rich customer information repositories are created. Further, as CRM systems enable relevant customer segmentation, databases for potential customers can also be effectively managed. Example: Help Desk staff can view bookings for a single guest across hotel locations and ensure their preferences are known to other employees.

2. Consolidated customer view
A productive CRM solution assists in capturing each customer interaction, transaction and experience with all the relevant, necessary, big and small details. Real-time customer information from multiple systems across geographies can be collated on a single window. This huge store of customer information can be viewed and updated from time to time by effectively integrating with external systems. Constant updates ensure that the systems contain upgraded and real-time information at any given point in time. Effective CRM software is characterised by pliable interfaces that help hotels collate unorganised and diffused business and customer data stemming from varied sources. As a result, analysis of scattered data based on a host of varying parameters is made possible. 

Apart from this, a holistic customer view furnishes hotels with better and more opportunities to up-sell, cross-sell and build overall rapport. 

3. Customer information scrutiny
In the hotel industry, massive volumes of customer information are churned out on an everyday basis. Even though the collection, storage and management of such information in a central repository is very important, real value is actually generated when such information is correctly analysed to obtain an in-depth understanding about the factors that drive customers’ purchase and accommodation decisions. Structured data analysis translates to fruitful, profitable relationships. Elevating conversion rates and turning one time guests into customers for life is also what CRM systems successfully manage to promote. Further, making comparisons between the behavioural patterns of 'transactional' and 'potential' customers, and those customers who leave, aids hotels in formulating or redesigning sustainable loyalty strategies. 

4. The right focus
The most valuable customer interactions are brought to light by CRM solutions and this information can then be replicated towards potential customers that hotels wish to either target, retain, or both. Constantly evaluating and relevantly applying gainful experiences is also enabled by CRM systems. 

In effect, hotels can reinvigorate those areas which adversely affect profits, and sharpen focus and attention on the most rewarding ones. 

5. Combating competition
Superlative, consistent service quality levels along with innovation is what will keep the hotel industry going and help battle competition with ease. To keep customers engaged, it is vital for hotels to offer a plethora of choices that provide greater value along with highest levels of customer satisfaction. 

Gaining a competitive advantage by providing appealing offers, discounts and packages at all times is important. Hotels must be capable of distinguishing themselves from competition by building a unique identity and generating higher brand loyalty. Reference to 'customers’ experiences' is instrumental in achieving the same. CRM software/ social CRM helps collate customer reviews and feedback, which in turn can be used to achieve these objectives. 

6. Raising efficiencies, keeping customers updated
CRM systems are known for their immediate benefits of bringing about automation and eliminating non-core tasks. Automation further helps in faster, better, and wiser sales, marketing, promotion and advertising decisions and actions. CRM systems enable the creation of mail blasters, text message campaigns etc., through which, customers can be updated about happenings, events, special offers and packages. Reviews and feedback can also be invited. 

7. Leveraging social platforms to promote brand presence
Hotels’ sales and marketing teams can leverage social CRM solutions to create mobile, web and social media campaigns, which in turn can be continually bettered and upgraded with ongoing, useful customer feedback. Monitoring customer activities and analysing customer feedback/reviews about the company and brand on various social networks is made possible by social CRM. It also ensures that hotels are well equipped to enhance customer experiences by always paying close attention to customers and resolving their queries and/or grievances at the earliest. Prompt follow up of new leads is also enabled thanks to social CRM. As a consequence, conversion rates are elevated and brand advocacy is boosted as well.

8. Formulating futuristic strategies
CRM software collates responses, reviews and overall feedback that customers publish online about their collective hotel experiences. These details are sliced-and-diced, following which reports are generated and real time dashboards are created. Ongoing customer activity information is displayed in real time on these dashboards. These actionable insights can be used to enhance future products, services, packages, offers and overall communication. Future marketing strategies can be optimised, post which, new and better campaigns can be designed and consequently published on select media platforms. 

9. Fostering loyalty
CRM solutions strengthen customer information handling in the right manner, and also facilitate customer-company interactions at multiple levels, touching all important contact points. A high degree of personalisation is introduced in customer interactions, thereby empowering hotels to achieve success in customer retention and loyalty

Other thoughts
Customer Relationship Management is extremely critical in the hotel business. Superior amenities and facilities are no longer luxuries, but, have rather become common expectations among hotels’ clientele. Regular correspondence, email/ SMS campaigns, query responses, etc. should to be consistent and personalized. 

It also helps streamline customer data to understand customers’ needs, preferences, behaviour, and satisfactorily address their complaints. Every single customer related issue can be monitored and tracked using an efficacious CRM system, and as a result, customer experiences can be redefined across hotels around the globe. 

Outstanding customer relationship management is a requisite for all hoteliers who wish to sky rocket their way to success. A complete understanding and analysis of customers and their experiences will capacitate hotels to establish brand loyalty and operate in a truly customer-centric environment. 

Wise implementation of CRM solutions offers actionable insights for forward thinking hotels to improve progressively and at the same time ascertain that customer facing teams live up to, and probably even exceed customer expectations. Lowering customer churn to close competitors while constantly improving customer experience will ensure growing customer advocacy and fruitful long term relationships.