Guest Engagement or Customer Engagement is, by definition, "the ability to attract attention and effort of your customers." If you're looking to improve your guest engagement, you're striving to become more than just a location for your guests to sleep in at night. Guest experience and guest engagement come hand in hand. You can stay at a hotel and live the time of your life and enjoy it all; however, you might not feel as if you're staying at a very welcoming, cozy place. That's where the difference between guest experience and guest engagement shines the brightest.
Improving guest engagement is one of the first steps of upgrading a property - to become more than just a space. We're going through some strategies and easy ways you can implement on your property to boost your guest engagement.
1. Clear Communications
Your communications reflect your brand. Whether you represent your brand as a jubilant youthful wonderland or a formal mansion, you would want to base your communication on your branding. It's the little things that matter. When it comes to communications, get creative. However, note that communication is not everything when it comes to guest engagement. Let them know what's on, let them know what your property offers, and represent yourself in the form of communication.
On the other hand, creating false expectations for your guests could significantly damage the guest experience. As we said, guest experience and guest engagement are closely associated. Setting false expectations for your guests is exactly what we meant. This way, you could become the very best in terms of guest engagement but could also damage your guest experience by a great deal. Therefore, our conclusion on communications is: represent your brand as is and keep in touch.
Taking a trip is a naturally fun and exciting experience. Positive vibes and smiles are all a traveler could hope for. For this reason alone, communicating and getting in touch with your guests could be a gamechanger. Make sure you are welcoming, polite, and jolly when talking to your guests. Also, there are thousands of free and paid software and systems out there that help you with communications. Consider setting one up.
2. Love Your Guests & They Will Love You Back!
Let your guests know and understand you care about them. As we mentioned earlier, you want to become more than just a place, travelers could stay the night. You're looking to become more than that. Start with your customers' needs. Imagine a traveler wants you to hire a taxi for them, don't just decline because your property doesn't have a taxi option! Don't disappoint your guests when you could satisfy them! Look at it this way; if a customer is happy with their stay and if they're obsessed over your services:
1. The guests will more likely share their stories and experience with other people. Free advertisement for you! 2. The guests are more likely to leave a nice review/comment on your property when they're happier. 3. There might be a chance you build a relationship with certain travelers so they'll become your regular customer.
For these reasons, we advise you to build a professional relationship with your guests as soon as they set foot within your property. However, make sure you don't bother the travelers and know your boundaries too!
3. Social Media: A Key to Guest Engagement Improvement
When we're talking about social media, we don't necessarily mean to promote how good it is to post on Facebook and Instagram about your property's latest activities and such. What we mean is building connections on different platforms to reflect and promote your branding. Statistically speaking, over 82% of bookings have occurred without any human interaction in 2018. What you probably want to achieve at this point is to be a part of the tourism industry on the internet - in the online world - to maximize your visibility and, ultimately, your guest engagement. Property management systems are a perfect way of doing such.
Also, it's worth mentioning PMS and/or on generic social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. You can set up personalized content and messages for different types of people. It's an excellent strategy to attract a variety of people to your property. For example, promoting a hiking activity could attract many hikers to your property if your network and your connections are set up alright. This is a great increase in guest engagement from the get-go.
4. Become Customer-driven
When it comes to the travel industry, being up-to-date and understanding the trends matters a lot. When the pandemic was heating up, I remember airlines and hotels were suddenly closed up, and many properties were quarantined, but after some while, things went back to normal. The reason behind things going back to normal back then was the property owners adapting to the changes and thriving to rise above the occasion. Understanding what the current events mean to the travel industry and understanding what the travelers need dramatically increases your chance of being better in terms of guest engagement.
Setting up an email address explicitly dedicated to suggestions and recommendations and surveys are good ways to know more about the customers' needs. Also, we suggest listening to podcasts, reading the news, and being in touch with the other property staff from different parts of the world via social media connections to understand the needs of the industry furthermore.
5. Utilize Activities: Better Guest Experience to Boost Guest Engagement
We keep talking about activities. Now we're going to talk about utilizing the activities to improve guest engagement. First of all, by utilizing, we're touching on the improvements of your current activities. Naturally, setting up activities takes effort. We presume you've already taken care of all the required assets for the activities on this matter. For example, if you're setting a chess club, you need to hire a chess coach, et cetera.
What we mean by utilizing activities is - making activities catchy and attractive in a positive way, so the customers get engaged with them. For example, sending personalized messages or notifications for each attendee of an activity - ShoutOuts - is a thing we often do at Goki. The point being, there are many tools and software out there you could use to improve your activities' visibility and guest engagement.
Setting up special offers, gifts and discounts has also statistically proven to work with activities. Make sure you take different measures into consideration before doing such. Ensure you can afford the requirements - not only financially - to utilize your activities.
Bonus: Be Consistent
You already know how important branding is. We already talked about it. However, what we want to highlight here is consistency. If you're looking to get your guests more engaged with your activities and services, you'll need to first start the process with yourself! First, make sure you're all on the same page with your staff. Next, make sure everyone knows what the goals are. Sometimes sharing secrets is better than keeping them. Finally, make sure your system is all directed in the same way. It all starts with the team and ends with the team.