.Customer relationship management is a constantly evolving concept. While the core concept remains the same across industries – managing every engagement opportunity to build and increase loyalty – each business has its own unique requirements.

In hospitality, how you engage with your guests is dependent on a number of factors. In-house amenities, location and historic/cultural significance should all play a part in defining the right kind of CRM for your hotel.

Putting these elements aside, there are some processes every hotel should consider before integrating a new CRM model. Thankfully, Genie is on hand to walk you through the process. 

New York hotel exterior with new hospitality CRM

Identify

Aims – What is the overall goal of the CRM? Introducing a new CRM to your hotel requires coordination between all departments, so it’s vital to consider why you are changing your approach before launching into anything.

Obstacles – What elements of your current setup prevent you from creating streamlined data-flows? Do yourself a favour; identify data silos before you embark on any kind of CRM implementation. From there, you can take steps to make every aspect as transparent, accessible and concise as possible.

Channels – Which channels do you hope to integrate with a CRM? How well do these different channels fit together? By identifying the weak spots in your current CRM system, you can avoid data blind-spots with your new system.

Of course, with all that data you’ll need a plan detailing how it will flow into your CRM. Draw up exactly how you plan to manage the data, along with how you plan to turn that data into real change in your daily processes.

Using a hospitality CRM to boost sales hotel restaurant

It’s not enough to harness the information from your hotel operations, you must turn that data into actionable insights. Coordination between departments is simpler with Genie devices in the hands of select staff. Meanwhile, identifying blind-spots becomes easier and guest behaviour data becomes infinitely more accessible with a Genie phone in every room.

Establish

Targets – You’d be amazed how many businesses begin the arduous process of CRM integration without considering what exactly they’re trying to achieve.

So, after identifying your aims, you should be able to draw up measurable targets. Looking to increase up-selling in room service? Take a look at the amount you make per room per stay and the current process of ordering room service so you can begin to draw up realistic targets. By giving your team access to quantified goals, upselling opportunities become more attainable.

Perimeters – It’s important to understand your limits when introducing a CRM. As much as you would like to, you can’t control every aspect of your guest’s behaviour. A multi-department CRM can, however, give you peace of mind that every accountable facet of the guest experience is being documented and shared with the right staff.

Milestones – Break down your CRM implementation into easy-to-manage, measurable milestones. This way your staff have a more digestible set of goals and, in the event of an issue, you can more easily identify where something went wrong.

Staff – Choose which members of staff should cover which areas. While this may seem like an easy choice – surely the restaurant manager is best to spearhead the food service side – there’s no guarantee all the different leaders will work well together. Identify each member of staff’s strengths and weaknesses and build your team around who works best together, and can best communicate when there’s a problem.

Vintage hotel hallway updated using hotel CRM

Introducing a new CRM can be a stressful experience but, if done in conjunction with Genie, hotels can provide a centralised, stable platform through which to draw up shared goals, develop measurable milestones and designate specific roles.

Instigate

In implementing the hotel CRM across your platforms, there’s an understandable urge to delay it until it’s absolutely perfect. Everyone wants to launch with a perfect CRM, but you can tweak elements as the system as you go.

As you put the system into place, bear in mind the key components of each section and how they work together. Areas to consider include:

Platform integration – Which platforms are you going to include? A consistent email platform (i.e. Gmail or Outlook, not both) makes integration simpler, while a single, hotel-wide instant messaging system means your staff are always in the know. If your hotel has its own app, make sure you can integrate the data gained from guest usage into the CRM.

Of course, the needs of your hotel should inform the integrations you choose. Simultaneously, it’s vital to take account of the external needs of different departments. The kitchen, for instance, will regularly require stock and equipment orders. Communication with suppliers, meanwhile, is integral to the efficient running of the cleaning department.

Information sharing – The rapid sharing of information between different departments should be integral to your hospitality CRM. Streamlining communications requires cohesive integration of your platforms and a robust system. Above all, this CRM must ensure the right people can access the information these platforms provide.

Sales forecasts – Data gained from everyday hotel operations will make drawing up sales forecasts simpler and more verifiable. After all, predicting how the CRM will influence ancillary revenues is a lot easier when you have all the information to hand. Likewise, developing a coherent sales strategy for the future becomes more straightforward when you can set measurable targets for every hotel department.

Guest analytics – Data is the oil that makes your CRM engine run. That’s why it’s essential your CRM provides readable, actionable analytics. When your team can easily understand how to turn the insights provided by your analytics into actions, guest satisfaction, selling-opportunities and inter-departmental coordination will all come that little bit easier.

Storage – By this stage, you’ve probably considered every option for your CRM, but where exactly your data will be stored often comes as a last consideration. Storing it on local files can limit access for other departments or members of staff. Meanwhile, purely Cloud-based storage can present issues for hotels in areas where connection is sporadic. Regardless of which you choose, it’s important to regularly check and update your CRM.

Using hotel guest data from CRM to develop hotel services

As with all hospitality CRM’s, the key focus is in maintaining a regularly refurbished, accessible database. This database should be a central column of information, collating guest data, outgoing costs and staff processes. With a Genie device in every room, analysing guest behaviour is easy and non-invasive. With integrations for hospitality CRM’s, anonymised data on every aspect of the guest experience can be gathered, saved and analysed with ease.

Measure

Reflect – How close are you to achieving the goals you set out in the Establish phase? It’s important to measure your failures just as much as your successes. Where did your CRM struggle to turn that data into real insights? Which areas of the hotel provided the least data?

Of course, your CRM is about making the most of the mountains of data provided by everyday processes, so it’s vital you look at just what that data is saying.

Compare – Did some elements of your CRM work better in the winter season? Perhaps room service sales decreased during a major local sporting event? By breaking down your data into categories, you can see which aspects of service work, and which require some tweaking.

Persevere – Measuring the effectiveness of your hotel CRM is a never-ending process and requires constant adjustment. To really find success with your hotel CRM, you have to be ready to listen to the numbers.

Using guest analytics to develop your hotel CRM

Image courtesy of www.seniorliving.org

Genie devices provide analytics on the most effective sales methods, as well as the browsing behaviour of guests. This gives you the freedom to study every aspect of the guest experience and build your services around quantified successes.

Refine

So, you’ve implemented your CRM, you’ve basked in the data and you’ve measured every aspect of your service. Now it’s time to fine-tune those services.

It’s by no means an easy feat. There’s no secret formula to complete success, so take your time and make incremental changes. This way, you can trace and rectify any drop in sales or guest satisfaction without upending other vital processes.

Managing guest check in using your hospitality CRM

Genie gives your hotel the freedom to trial new offers and services to a small group of guests. With the data provided through guest interactions with Genie devices, you can measure changes against other control groups.

Introducing a hospitality CRM will always be a challenge. With forward-planning and a strong understanding of your goals, hotels can increase guest loyalty, drive revenues and start anew.

Ben Graham

Author Ben Graham

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