Do you know who is particularly popular in the hotel industry? It’s the usual suspects, so to speak, in the most positive sense of course. Those are the guests that keep coming back to the hotel. However, encouraging guests to keep coming back can be difficult, but not impossible as long as you take the most important tips for customer retention to heart. Find out more about how to achieve customer retention in the hotel industry in this magazine.

customer retention © Dmitry Kalinovsky / shutterstock.com
© Dmitry Kalinovsky / shutterstock.com

No work no win

One thing is indisputable in the hotel industry: you must invest to retain your hotel guests long-term. Guests usually don’t just come back on their own. Retaining your customers requires work, diligence and consistent improvements, the latter of which is particularly important for keeping up with constantly changing market and customer demands. Remaining static is therefore an absolute no-no for any hotel owner who wishes to retain guests long-term.

For customer retention, it is important to know your target group and its needs.

Concretely, this means that to achieve customer retention, you must be aware of two things: customer behaviour and influencers on that behaviour. Take, for example, business travellers. If this type of guest is among your target group, you should ask yourself what they really need and want. A direct airport or train station connection? Easy travel arrangements to get to their local appointments? Free Wi-Fi? Modern conferencing technology? The answer to all these questions is guaranteed to be “yes.” As a hotel owner, this means that an all-encompassing knowledge of your target group is essential in determining whether or not you can retain these guests long-term at your hotel.

Customer data can be effectively used for customer retention in the hotel industry

It is obvious that your customers will not divulge what they want from their stay without being asked. For this reason, it is advisable to capture customer data on your end. Ask your guests for feedback after they have stayed in your hotel, preferably through an app or by email. Evaluate their answers in detail. You are on the right track if you use digital technologies for such data capturing. A short survey, which can be quickly sent to your clients’ smartphones, is certainly more likely to be filled out than a paper-based questionnaire, which simply gets lost in the bottom of your guests travel bag once they leave.

A customer card is a brilliant way to get data from your customer.

Speaking of digital data – a brilliant way to retain hotel guests is the customer card. It is like a debit or credit card and fits perfectly in your guest’s wallet. It comes in handy at each hotel stay. The most important guest data is stored on this card and can be easily captured each time your guest uses it. The customer card is undoubtedly the most common method used for retaining customers in the hotel industry. But beware! The card is, of itself, not the only thing you will need to be able to achieve customer retention. You will also need to know how to use it.

The customer card as a direct marketing tool

If you offer your guests a customer card, both you and your guests will benefit from faster routine procedures, such as check-in, booking, room reservations, and check-outs. Payments are also made a lot easier by using a customer card. All important data like customer name, billing address, and preferred payment method are stored on the card. This will save you time-consuming data entry.

However, this is just one side of the coin. The other personal advantage for retaining hotel guests is in the data stored on the customer card; and this data provides an excellent tool for direct marketing. The data can reveal, for instance, when your guest has a birthday. So why not send a personal greeting on his or her birthday? Or why not send your customer a personal letter presenting a special offer to celebrate? A perfect way to retain clients in the industry!

Offering promotions or sending personal messages can be a good way to retain clients.

By offering these kinds of promotions, you leave your guests with the feeling that they are special. The customer card underscores this feeling by suggesting to your guests that they belong to a special select circle of people who may take advantage of exclusive offers, a decisive factor for customer retention in the hotel industry. As a conclusion, this is why you should combine the customer card with clearly defined advantages. Whether these are extra wellness offerings, a special dinner or even a cultural event followed by an opportunity to network – exclusive event package options are nearly endless. In conclusion, the more creative the promotion, the better. Your guests will love it.

customer retention © Olena Yakobchuk / shutterstock.com
© Olena Yakobchuk / shutterstock.com

From hunters and gatherers

People love to collect things, that is for certain. For example, the Neanderthals of yore collected berries, now we collect bonus points by booking hotel stays. This is a fact that proves quite useful for customer retention in the hotel industry. Therefore, develop special loyalty programmes that let your customers collect goodies and bonus points. By doing this, you will be sure to tap into their enthusiasm for collecting things. Furthermore, it is important to note that the advantages should be immediately apparent. This is the only way to truly attract customers’ attention.

Loyalty programs and an excellent customer service will satisfy your guests.

While big name hotels invest in partnerships with large auto companies, airlines or booking portals, smaller hotel businesses concentrate more on soft skills when it comes to customer retention. Small hotels give each guest the feeling that they are special by treating them well and providing them a welcoming atmosphere. Both approaches convey the intent of giving the customer something extra, an added value, that provides a win-win-scenario for everyone involved. In the long run, this approach will bring more bookings by loyal customers to your hotel. And the guests will enjoy a wonderful stay.

The overall plan is essential for customer retention

The best ideas are of little use when the overall business plan does not work. Therefore it is of utmost importance to develop a strategy and consistently implement it, if you want to retain customers in the hotel industry. And never lose sight of the competition. To attract returning guests, you must differentiate yourself in the market and offer more than the rest. Now we come full circle: customer retention in the hotel industry only works on a foundation of constant development and improvement.

Stay tuned, because your competition does not sleep!

Customer retention in the hotel industry does not just start during a guest’s stay, but before and afterward. Your guests should always have the feeling that you are taking their preferences to heart.

For this reason, is highly recommended to not overlook the hotel website as a business channel. Your portal plays an important role in customer retention. However, you can use your website to draw attention to amazing offers and communicate the advantages for loyal customers. If you follow these tips, nothing will stand in the way of long-term hotel guest retention.