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Ken Jacobsen, The TM Group

4 Advantages of CRM for the Hospitality Industry

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The hospitality industry is all about customer interaction. Companies that rely on their guests' comfort and contentment need all of the feedback tools available to make sure they are meeting their customers' needs and expectations.

CRM for hospitality business software is not only beneficial, it is essential for staying competitive in the modern connected world. Customers have access to information and promotions from competitors constantly. To make your services stand out, you have to be able to use the information of guests to discover the best practices for retaining their business.

1. Aligns with organizational objectives
The hospitality industry is a broad category that includes transportation, tourism, lodging and any other business that features customer satisfaction and enjoyment as part of the service they are providing. It encompasses a large range of different businesses with unique customer data needs.

CRM software is adaptable. It can be set up and installed based on your company's specific goals. It is important that an organization is aware of what they are trying to achieve and improve from their customer interactions before they install CRM for hospitality solutions. A company should find a CRM partner willing to be hands-on in the implementation phase and that can set up the software according to the company's objectives.

2. Easily restructure based on data
Change in a company can be difficult. Restructuring customer benefits and interaction is quite an investment for an organization to undergo. Data from CRM software means an organization isn't changing blindly, it can be a slow process that adapts to the feedback provided by customers' experiences and hospitality successes.

Tnooz, an information site for the hospitality industry, detailed how airlines have been using CRM data to restructure how they promote and utilize frequent flyer programs. The tnooz story explained how some airlines examined their customer data and changed their FFPs to award miles for purchases made outside of the airlines. Allowing companies to buy frequent flyer miles from the airlines have turned FFPs into a cash-generating source for the airlines and it provides the customers with more freedom.

Adapting reward programs so customers actually see them as rewards and not just attempts to force them to continue frequenting a company is the kind of benefit the hospitality industry needs to stay competitive. Changes such as this may seem dramatic but as long as there is the data to support their creation, an organization can limit the risk involved.

3. Promotes customer loyalty
Loyalty 360, the loyalty marketers association, featured a similar story of a hospitality company that amended practices based on CRM data. The Red Lion hotel chain changed its points-based loyalty program to a recognition-based model. The change came after the hotel combined its property management system with their CRM software.

The data found that customers saw the old points-based system as impersonal. Additionally, it wasn't retaining customers as well as they hoped. The data indicated guests' preferred personalization, quality service over speedy service and continued communication about the program.

The automated messaging services provided by CRM can help with continued information and data collected from previous stays can ensure those messages are tailored to a specific guest's needs. A rewards system based on specific client behavior has been very successful for Red Lion and has helped them stand out from the many other hotel rewards programs available. The Loyalty 360 article indicated that programs that encourage repeat business are essential because retaining old customers is more profitable than attracting new ones and word of mouth can be the best advertising.

4. Gives employees tools to succeed
Employees are at the forefront of hospitality. An organization can have all the systems and guidelines in place, but it is up to the people who are actually interacting with the customers to make sure those strategies are being properly utilized.

Companies need to prepare their workforce for CRM for hospitality implementation. As stated above, a change in company policy could be jarring. Make sure your workforce is aware of how the CRM software will be beneficial and provide opportunities for them to contribute and ask questions. An employee from each branch of your hospitality ventures should be part of the initial implementation team, so they can suggest what info would be best suited for their needs.

Employees should be made aware that the data provided by a CRM solution will be to their advantage. CRM data should give employees day-to-day practices they can implement to reward, manage and assist guests. It will be available to help them determine which strategies will lead to satisfied guests and fewer concerns they would need to deal with.

by The TM Group

One Response to “4 Advantages of CRM for the Hospitality Industry”

  1. CRM hospitality has become essential for staying active in today’s competitive world. As it is all about customer interaction, companies should be aware of that the feedback tools are available that they meet their customers’ needs and expectations.

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