So - there you are! You’ve just said goodbye to one of your hopefully happy guests. If you are hoping to see them again soon, have you had a chance to chat to them and perhaps make another booking for them prior to completing the check-out? Great, well done! It’s amazing how many guests aren’t asked whether they have plans to come back.
I’m guessing you’ve budgeted to have more direct bookings and “win” back some of the business currently being delivered by the OTA’s whilst still maintaining a good relationship with them too. Perhaps you’ve set it as a KPI target. Let’s take a closer look at the possibilities of “winning back” some bookings and - more importantly - the rules of engagement.
You’ll know that you no longer receive guest email addresses via the majority of the OTA’s prior to the guests arriving; that is because they own the relationship until the point of arrival. On check-in, however, you can request that the guest provide their own email address, but please be sure you comply to the strict regulations of capturing data – this is absolutely critical. You can find out more at: https://ico.org.uk/media/1555/direct-marketing-guidance.pdf
Now, let’s say you’re fully compliant and your registration card allows guests to opt in to your marketing campaign (Yay, hoorah, yippie!) then you need to save/link and update their profile and handle it with care, as this data is a bit like a gold mine, but more of that later. Sadly, the same applies if they chose to opt out of email marketing (boo!). #Justsayin … it might be a good time to check how easy it is to subscribe to/unsubscribe from your marketing on your website too; YOU must allow contacts to unsubscribe and ensure they are removed from any future marketing campaigns. Another important factor you should consider when capturing data is this: GDPR General Data Protection Regulation - https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-reform/overview-of-the-gdpr/
In essence, the more quality data you capture then the bigger your chances are of winning direct business from that and also capitalizing on what you really want: the direct guest relationship.
For instance, you could segment your data and launch a targeted, direct closed user group offer to a select group of contacts – maybe based on the room type or package they have booked previously and offer a value-add to motivate them; this could be with an upgrade at a higher rate. Alternatively, you could launch a campaign, perhaps based on the channel they have booked through in the past, and offer a voucher towards additional services you have available at your property.
There are a number of possibilities and of course you need to make sure you always have a compelling offer and message too. The other option is to work on winning back more guests booking direct by seeking feedback from your guests; remember: feedback is a great gift.
Either way, it’s always really good to capture quality data as it means you can stay in touch with your guests, and you should also keep them engaged with your property and your brand. Guestline has a number of hospitality solutions and services available to help you in your sales and marketing efforts; feel free to contact us – we promise we won’t send you endless sales and marketing information either!