The hospitality and service industry is centred around the customer experience, so businesses in this sector need to be particularly attuned to the needs and wants of their guests. A customer relationship management (CRM) system is one way that hospitality businesses can deliver better service for every one of their valuable customers while improving their own efficiency and profitability. The following article discusses some of the key benefits of CRM in the hospitality industry, how it’s commonly used and what to look for in an effective CRM system.
What Is A Hospitality CRM?
A hospitality customer relationship management system helps businesses manage and understand their guests better. It gives hospitality businesses the ability to track every interaction they have with a customer, including phone calls, bookings, emails, and social media interactions.
Hospitality CRM systems often come with a range of features, such as customer segmentation, reporting, and automation tools. These solutions can integrate with existing software such as your property management system (PMS) or point of sale (POS) system.
Since the hospitality and hotel industry is very customer-focused, CRM tools provide a range of benefits for businesses in this sector. The integrated nature of a CRM platform enables hotels to understand their guests better, enhance customer engagement, provide a more personalised experience, and increase repeat customers.
How Does The Hospitality Industry Use CRM?
CRM software that is tailored to the hospitality and hotel industry can be used in several useful ways to improve the customer experience, streamline workflows, improve hotel management, and increase revenue. Below are some of the most common ways that CRM systems can enhance hospitality services.
Organise Customer Data
A CRM system creates a centralised database where your business can store all its customer records. This includes contact details, booking history, and preferences. Having all this information in one place makes it much easier for hospitality businesses to keep track of their guests and provide a better overall experience.
Hospitality and hotel CRM software usually comes with telephony integration, which means your Interactive Voice Response (IVR) telephony system and Automated Call Distribution (ACD) system will share data with your CRM. Additionally, you can also track and store emails and other digital communications through your CRM. This gives hospitality businesses a complete record of interactions with guests and supports team cohesion by unifying customer data across the business.
With hundreds and sometimes thousands of guests coming and going every month, hospitality businesses need a way to manage bookings effectively. CRM software helps with this by storing all booking information in one place. This includes reservations, check-in and check-out dates, room type, and any special requests.
Most CRMs also have the ability to record online bookings. This allows hospitality companies to track bookings made via the website, as well as those made over the phone or in person. It saves a lot of time since you don’t need to enter these bookings into the system manually.
The occupancy rate, which refers to the number of rooms that are occupied at any given time, is an important metric for hospitality businesses. CRM helps hospitality companies monitor their current occupancy rate and forecast future occupancy rates to determine profitability and inform decision-making.
Occupancy isn’t limited to hotels alone either. Restaurants, travel companies, and events businesses can also monitor this valuable metric. You can identify how many guests you’re serving at various times throughout the day, your busiest and quietest periods for holiday packages, as well as the high and low seasons for different events, and then strategise accordingly.
Track Staff Performance
In hospitality, it’s important to ensure that your staff is delighting guests with exceptional service. A CRM tool helps with this by tracking staff performance. This includes recording customer feedback, as well as monitoring your sales cycle and average spend. By tracking this information, you can identify areas where hospitality staff need more training.
Targeting Marketing Campaigns
Hospitality CRM software can be used to segment guests into different groups.
Group categories can include guests who’ve visited or stayed before, frequent guests, or guests residing in a certain location. This can then use this information to develop targeted marketing campaigns at different stages of the sales process.
Hospitality CRMs come complete with a range of features that automate time-consuming manual processes. This means you can send out automated promotional messages instead of typing each one out manually or automatically generate real-time performance reports and make any necessary adjustments as and when needed.
Hotel CRM software as well as restaurant and events CRM can be used to create, send, and track quotes for guests. Instead of manually creating quotes for each enquiry, your business can use a CRM solution to quickly generate an easily customisable quote, which includes the relevant specified products or services.
Benefits Of CRM In The Hospitality Industry
There are numerous benefits of CRM in the hospitality industry, and the right solution will deliver excellent ROI. Here are some of the key advantages you can expect to see thanks to CRM in hospitality.
Higher Customer Loyalty
Personalisation has never been more important in the B2C (business-to-consumer) sector, and with the current advances in technology, customer expectations have also increased. Customers want to feel valued — they don’t want to be seen as just another number to your sales team. Storing all your customer information and communication records in one central repository allows your staff to provide contextually relevant, personalised services every time. As a result, your existing customers will feel appreciated and valued, leading to an improvement in customer satisfaction and retention.
Better Customer Insights
An effective CRM gives you a 360-degree view of your customers. When the entire history of all your customer relationships is stored in one place, you can quickly and easily see what they have booked with you in the past, what their preferences are, any special requests they have made, as well as any issues or problems they may have had. This wealth of information provides actionable insights that can be used by your customer service, sales, or marketing team to improve the customer experience.
Boost Sales & Revenue
CRMs can help you to boost sales and revenue in a number of ways. Firstly, by streamlining customer engagement, you are more likely to retain customers and encourage them to continue doing business with you. Secondly, by providing valuable insights into your customers, you can identify upselling, cross-selling, and loyalty program opportunities. Finally, by automating time-consuming tasks, your sales team, for example, will have more time to focus on selling, which helps to increase sales and revenue.
Greater Operational Efficiency
Hotels and hospitality venues are often busy places, and it can be difficult for staff to keep up with all the tasks that need to be done on a daily basis. Since hotel CRM software allows you to integrate data across systems — reducing the need for repeated manual input — it can help to free up staff time and make your business more efficient. Repetitive daily tasks can also be easily automated, further reducing your staff’s workload.
When you choose the right CRM, it’ll often pay for itself in the long run. Thanks to automation and a bump in efficiency, implementing CRM can reduce the need to hire additional staff. And if your staff are not bogged down in manual workflow processes, they will have more time to focus on aspects like selling and providing exceptional customer service to generate even more revenue for your business. Time is money, and a CRM application can help you to save both.
Better Lead Management
If your staff is using different software programs to store customer information, it can be difficult to track leads and manage them effectively. A hotel CRM tool helps your sales team manage leads effectively by providing a centralised repository for all your customer details and automating marketing communications that keep your leads warm. Tracking and managing your leads effectively enhances your marketing and helps boost conversions and loyal customers.
How To Choose A Hospitality CRM
It’s important for businesses to choose the right CRM software for their unique needs. Some CRM vendors create systems specifically for the hotel industry. This makes it easier to find a solution with all the features you need. Here are some essential features to look out for when deciding which CRM to use for your hospitality business.
A powerful CRM integrates effectively with your other business software, such as your booking system or accounting software. This makes it easier to manage your data and avoid duplication of effort.
Most CRMs come complete with powerful reporting functionality. This intelligence offers valuable insights into areas such as occupancy rates, repeat rates, churn, staff performance, and marketing campaign effectiveness, helping you to make adjustments and improvements.
Your hotel CRM should be flexible enough to grow with your business. This means it should accommodate additional users, as well as new features that you may want to add in the future.
Hospitality businesses handle a lot of sensitive customer information, so it’s important to ensure that your chosen CRM tool is secure. Look for a system that comes with robust security features, such as data encryption.
Whenever you purchase new software, it’s important to ensure you’ll be able to get help if something goes wrong. Look for a hotel CRM vendor that offers 24/7 customer support so that you can get assistance whenever you need it.
Gain A Competitive Advantage With Hospitality CRM
With so many benefits on offer, it’s no surprise that businesses in the hotel industry are increasingly turning to CRMs to help them run their operations. Investing in a CRM tool helps you streamline your operations, improve customer service, boost loyalty, and drive sales and revenue. This can be especially useful if you run a smaller hospitality business and are up against bigger companies in the sector with more resources. The right CRM solution positions you to scale your operations, transform your hotel into a modern business, and compete on a more level playing field.