For-Sight’s Inbound Marketing Executive Maud Bruyere looks at why Guest Communication is more essential than ever before as the industry re-opens. 

As Hospitality businesses prepare to reopen, now more than ever, it is crucial to connect with your guests. New concerns have also emerged from the coronavirus crisis. To maximise your reopening communication efforts and determine the adequate response strategy, your property needs to understand and examine the crisis (Coombs, 2007). From our perspective, we believe that it is crucial to use guest communication to: 

  • reassure your customers,  
  • enhance the trust for your brand, and  
  • fulfil the promise: to delight throughout the entire guest journey. 

In this article, we focus on 3 messaging topics for guest communication aiming to support the reopening marketing efforts of your property.   

  • Communication that ensures safety in the property (Health and safety measures, touchless options, online check-in/out…),  
  • Information about booking flexibility, and  
  • Re-opening offers.   

We also provide tips to maximise and assess your marketing efforts. 

Guest communication, connect with your guests’ preferences 

Safety – be consistent 

The Hospitality sector has demonstrated an incredible capacity to adapt to coronavirus safety measures. Reopening is the time to tell your guest all about it.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected the ways guest are assessing properties based on new concerns. Booking.com has seen an increase of 60 % for both words’ “hygiene” and “clean”. Safe interactions and hygiene measures are critically important to reassure guests.  Guest communication supports your efforts and makes your guests feel confident about their stay. Using direct email communication can help to: 

  • inform your guests about health and safety guidelines your property follows,  
  • ensure they are followed, 
  • as well as making your guest a promise: a clean and safe experience. 

Every hospitality business employs different measures, that is why your guest should know what you are doing at every step of your guest journey. For-Sight’s email solution allows you to deliver and fully automate communications with your own branded and personalised messages. 

Flexibility – be transparent 

Guest Communications about flexible booking policies can ease the guest decision process, as well as show great empathy and transparency from your brand. While there is a roadmap for re-opening of the industry, this period comes with real concerns for guests when booking a stay as there still remains a risk of cancellation/rescheduling. So today more than ever, hospitality businesses should consider flexibility as a way to attract new guests and drive loyalty. A recent study of GlobalWebIndex (January 2021) shows that 55% of U.S and 65% of U.K vacation planners desire to have the option to cancel and rearrange their trip easily.

Booking flexibility ensures a financially safe stay for your guests, but not only that! While flexibility benefits your potential guests, Booking.com data reveals a great result of 3% more conversions for Risk-Free Reservations and 92% of all of those being completed without any cancellation. Furthermore, flexibility is also designed to prevent cancellation by actively emphasising on re-arrangement.  

Offers – be attractive 

Re-opening is great news for your property and your guestsHave you have thought about a ‘Welcome back’ offer, to celebrate and attract new or existing customers? That will certainly delight the 51% of U.S and 40% of UK vacation planners surveyed by GlobalWebIndex who would prefer to use brands that offer discounts during 2021. Promoting offers via email, as well as your other digital channels, will drive traffic to your website and create opportunity to increase your direct revenue. 

Offers are also an effective re-opening marketing strategy, make sure you take the time to craft an offer personalised to your individual guest personas, to distinguish your brand in the competitive re-opening market. 

Maximise and assess your marketing efforts 

Understand and Segment your audience 

Technology gives you the key to reach the right audience at the right time. Your property holds an extremely large and rich set of data about your guest interactions and behaviour. By identifying patterns and trends within your business, you can create groups of customers, or “segments”. These can then be used to maximise your marketing efforts and to tailor content to be relevant to your guests. 

Let’s take an example that illustrates our 3 points above. Your hotel has an amazing golf course that will soon re-open. You have analysed your guest data and created a list of contacts who have all played golf at your property. You have developed a personalised “Welcome Back to the Green” email for your local audience, that: 

  • celebrates this news with a promotional discount code of 15%, 
  • informs and reassures guests on how your property provides a safe environment (sanitisation of amenities or self-distancing with other groups of players for example) 
  • and provides flexible booking policies that ensure golf lovers they will play at your property. 

When planning your strategy, keep in mind all the restrictions that may still be in place and the current market trends. 2021 trends show that the travel priorities being focused on are: short, outdoor and local (GlobalWebIndex). According to the same study, 38% of UK and U.S vacationers are planning a long domestic weekend this year. 

Assess your Guest communication 

Happy with your guest-communication? Drop the mic – in your guests’ hands. Remember that communication is a 2-way process. Encourage guests to let you know about what they like and what they think about their experience, give them a voice and offer you key insights to improve your offer. Without being intrusive, guest communication can be used to collect feedback. Communication is about dialogue. You can ask open questions, such as “Do you think our flexibility policies are flexible enough?” Rating questions like “Please feel free to rate the cleanness of our amenities?” Ask them about the best thing they have experienced during their stay.   

You want to individualise and humanise your brand to create a unique experience for your (new) guests and drive loyalty. Guest communication is the right tool to help build these relationships, and despite the coronavirus pandemic keeping us physically distant – personalised digital communication can bring you closer to your guests. 

Analyse your reports and adjust 

Making sure you analyse the performance of your reopening marketing campaigns and guest communication allows you to understand how you have achieved your objectives. You can also make use of analytics and testing to improve your marketing activities. Using A/B testing for your content and messaging can help you to determine what works best for your audience and can support your decision-making process. 

Alongside performance analysis and A/B testing, Google Analytics is a well-known marketing tool (for a very good reason) that provides your property with in-depth insights. Using Google Analytics, you can find ways to achieve better targeting, optimise your campaigns and develop new activities. Check out some more tips on Google Analytics here. 

We all know there are bright times ahead for the hospitality and travel sectors as businesses are allowed to reopen. In the last 12 months of lockdowns and reopenings, it’s also become clear how the right tools and technology can positively affect the recovery for those industries. 

For this reason, we are pleased to announce we’ve joined the Prep Starts Now campaign along with several other suppliers and supporters of the industry. 

As part of Prep Starts Now we’ll be sharing best practice and guidance from ourselves and other specialist suppliers on a range of topics. The campaign will be covering topics from digital marketing to customer well-being and even staff and recruitment.  

The goal is to provide operators and managers with the information they need to get those transformative systems in place before reopening, to reap the benefits faster. Whether it’s a new order & pay solution, data capture for better digital marketing or slicker processes and procedures there are many, many ways that hospitality operators can prep now.  

We believe that guests are at the centre of all your preparation process and that guest communication is critical for the recovery of hospitality businesses. Our focus as a hospitality technology company will be to offer insights and tools to enhance your guests’ journey and maximise your revenue, both during and after the initial rush. 

We’ve all experienced to some degree the mad rush of reopening from last year. There’s more time now to get things in place that will make a difference later. This time is a prime opportunity to reopen not just as you were, but as you want to be.  

Our CEO & Co-founder, Allan Nelson had this to say about getting ready to reopen: With reopening of the industry ahead of us, now is the time to prepare and to engage with your guests in a meaningful and personalised way. With a staycation market there exists a real opportunity for hospitality businesses to not only welcome these guests now, but to build loyalty and create opportunity for the future. 

Since June last year, the increased use of technology in hospitality and travel businesses has provided a lifeline to open and trade safely, now’s the time to think about what more those tools can do for your business, staff and customers. 

Jamie McBride, our Head of Marketing shares his view about preparing for a sustainable recovery: “There exists for hospitality businesses real opportunity, both immediate and long term. The pandemic and public health restrictions may have changed who you should be targeting with your guest relationship building and marketing. By preparing now and looking to your data to make strategic decisions, the industry can look ahead to a strong and sustainable recovery”. 

It’s been great to see the attitudes to technology changing for both customers and businesses, but there’s still so much to learn and share. To get involved and discover what Prep Starts Now has to offer: 

  • Keep an eye out for the logo and #PrepStartsNow 
  • Follow us on social media 
  • Follow Prep Starts Now partners on social media 
  • Explore the campaign hub webpage 
  • Comment, share and interact with Prep Starts Now articles and videos 
  • Speak to Prep Starts Now supporting organisations for advice 

There will also be a series of exclusive offers available from selected Prep Starts Now partners, more details will be released soon. 

Discover more about the Prep Starts Now campaign: Prep Start Now – Supporting your reopening

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The award-winning Belfry Hotel & Resort has partnered with For-Sight (a Forth Communication Limited brand) to enhance its guest relationships, by implementing For-Sight’s Guest Engagement CRM and Marketing solution.

After a 6-month successful proof of concept period, The Belfry Hotel & Resort has chosen the For-Sight Guest Engagement, CRM and Marketing solution to drive forward their innovative marketing and communication strategy.

“For-Sight’s team worked tirelessly with us to understand our operations and to make sure that their solution allowed us to maximise the use of data within the resort,” said Gail Aldridge, Marketing Director at The Belfry Hotel & Resort. “For-Sight’s solution offers us a single view of our guests, as well as access to bespoke reporting and dashboard suites. This rich source of data will help us enhance our relationships with our guests, through insights and personalised guest communications as we move into the post-pandemic recovery phase for our industry.”

For-Sight Guest Engagement is a data-focused CRM solution offering the tools and insights to deliver personalised guest communications, allowing operators to build and enhance the guest experience, identify opportunities and drive loyalty.

In addition to the large variety of amenities available to guests, The Belfry Hotel & Resort has its unique signature: award-winning golf courses and a reputation of excellence in golf tourism, attracting guests from all over the world. As well as providing their core CRM solution, For-Sight has also developed a bespoke Business Intelligence system that bringing together the most relevant data to realise effective guest relationship management, provide operational insights, while ensuring the highest standards in data security and compliance.

“After a successful proof of concept, we are delighted to be working with The Belfry Hotel & Resort to help them achieve their goals as the industry looks ahead to a time post-pandemic,” said For-Sight CEO & Co-founder, Allan Nelson. “The Belfry is a recognised and highly respected brand globally and we are committed to supporting the entire team in delivering the world-class experience they’re known for, by allowing them to make decisions and execute their strategies based on clean, actionable data”.

About For-Sight

For-Sight helps hospitality professionals to unlock the guest journey, through data management, operational insights and tools to provide a personalised experience for every guest at every touchpoint.

For-Sight unites Hotel technology systems to turn siloed guest data from your Property Management System (PMS) and other transactional systems into a central source of truth for each guest and their journey with your brand.

For-Sight’s CRM functionality and powerful multi-channel tools allow opportunities to be identified and personalised communication and marketing campaigns to be delivered, at scale, to increase direct
revenue, loyalty and engagement.

For-Sight is headquartered in Edinburgh, UK and is a Forth Communication Ltd brand.

Follow For-Sight on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About The Belfry Hotel & Resort

The Belfry Hotel & Resort is an award-winning hotel situated in the heart of the country in Royal Sutton Coldfield, North Warwickshire, and is home to 319 luxurious bedrooms and suites, several restaurants and bars including Ryder Grill and The Brabazon Bar, events and meetings spaces, a leisure club and The Belfry Spa. The hotel’s three golf courses, including The Brabazon and The PGA National, are recognised as world-class, having previously hosted The Ryder Cup four times – more than any other venue in the world – and 17 European Tour events, producing some of the most dramatic moments in the history of golf.

Prices start from £119 for a signature room including full English breakfast.

For further information and media enquiry please contact:
Jamie McBride
Head of Marketing
jamie.mcbride@for-sight.co.uk
Tel: +44(0)7455 941 130

We’re pleased to announce our partnership with IDS Next which will see integration between IDS Next’s solutions and For-Sight’s Guest Engagement CRM and Marketing platform.

“In the post-pandemic recovery phase, it is vital for hoteliers to understand guest data and communicate directly. All our PMS & ERP solutions collect comprehensive data owing to the numerous touchpoints and features,” said Binu Mathews, CEO of IDS Next. “Integration with For-Sight provides hoteliers seamless communication with guests to deliver a personalised guest experience and targeted marketing.” 

Our partnership will make For-Sight’s solutions available to IDS Next’s customer base of 5000+ hotels in 40 countries across South Asia, South-East Asia, Africa, Middle East, Sri Lanka & Maldives and Oceania.

“We’re excited to partner with IDS Next. We both share a commitment to the future of our industry and success of our customers,” said Allan Nelson, CEO and Co-founder of For-Sight.

“Our partnership will allow IDS Next customers to use For-Sight’s solutions to understand and segment their guests, deliver personalised marketing and communications with advanced automation and measure the results, taking action based on insight.”

The whole For-Sight team are looking forward to working in partnership with IDS Next to help with post-pandemic recovery of our industry!

About IDS Next

IDS Next is a company of vision, a company that focuses on the future, a company that develops, delivers and supports innovative technology solutions for the global hotel industry. With unrivalled domain expertise, our driving force is to create solutions that assist hotels to increase revenues, optimize costs and above all provide the ultimate guest experience.  

We are a dynamic company, which fully understands today’s emerging markets and its specific needs. We provide leading-edge technology across all hotel market segments, be it an enterprise or a single property. We offer highly integrated hotel management software, restaurant management software, central reservations, hotel channel management, mobile apps and mobile analytic solutions. 

IDS Next software and technology solutions have the trust of over 5000+ hotels in 45 countries spread across South Asia, South-East Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Oceania. A truly dedicated 24/7-support centre ensures 98% retention of customers and unmatched customer satisfaction. 

This year and for the second time For-Sight is sponsoring the Hotel Marketing Awards of the HMA – Hotel Marketing Association – for the Best Partnership Marketing Campaign Category. Recognition through awards is not just a matter of prestige. We have thought about A.W.A.R.D key benefits, that brought together, will make you consider entering the Awards.  

A.W.A.R.D key benefits: 

  • Achievement.  You have done great, and your performance records speak for themselves. Now that you have been successful in a campaign by meeting your customers’ expectations, use this achievement to boost customers’ perception and strengthen your message. 
  • Win. The obvious reason – the winning. Winning or being nominated in a specific category helps to improve brand awareness. The positive outcomes of an award will extend to your brand image and services 
  • Attract new partners. You have demonstrated the ability to deliver a unique and creative marketing solution. Awards will reinforce your credibility, and therefore, are a good motive for partners to respond favourably towards new partnerships. 
  • Recognition. Rewarding your team for their success is great to boost motivation and empowering your employees.  
  • Differentiate. Awards can objectively support your competitive advantageThe judges are an external party to your business. Their impartiality will contribute to the trustworthiness of your marketing message. 

A little extra flavour, specific takeaways in entering the category: Best Partnership Marketing Campaign.

  • It is Free Marketing.
  • Everyone welcome, you don’t need to be a member of the HMA.
  • Win-win for both you and your Marketing partner.
  • Inspire us, we love to be surrounded by talent. 

The deadline for award submissions is the 31st of March. To enter the awards, please follow this link. 

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Registered office at 45 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, Scotland. EH2 2PJ

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