In this digital era, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are becoming increasingly important for hotels to manage their guest data, their communications and especially to enhance the guest experience with the use of personalisation.
A proficient CRM system can help hotels streamline operations, personalise guest communication, and improve customer loyalty. Moreover, a good CRM should be a tool that proves to be easy to use and highly effective, making the life of hotel staff easier instead of more complicated.
According to a recent study conducted by Market Research Future, the global CRM market in the hospitality industry is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.7% from 2022 to 2030, demonstrating how the adoption of CRM systems is rising among hotels.
However, choosing the right CRM is not always easy. More times than we’d like to admit, we might face ourselves trying to use a tool that is not user-friendly, has complicated workflows and does not possess any visual help.
Then, how can we make sure of choosing the right hotel CRM? In this article, we will discuss seven points you should consider and how these might affect your business.
1. How the data is sent
The first essential factor to consider while choosing a CRM system for your hotel is to determine how the data enters the system, this means whether it is a direct integration or report-based.
Direct integration means that the CRM system is integrated with your hotel’s property management system (PMS) and other relevant applications. This integration allows real-time data transfer between systems, ensuring that all guest information such as preferences, booking details, and purchase history are synced and available to view in one place.
This seamless flow of information greatly enhances the ability of hotels to provide personalised experiences to their guests and streamline operations.
However, even within the direct integration, you will have two different versions 1-way and 2-way integration. A 2-way integration means that the data will go from the PMS to the CRM and vice versa; while a 1-way integration means that the data will go from the PMS to the CRM but it won’t travel back.
On the other hand, report-based data transfer involves exporting data from the PMS and other relevant systems and importing it into the CRM system. If you are using this method, the important part is that your CRM can clean the data, match and merge, and structure it, just to avoid any duplicates or inconsistencies.
However, nowadays, these three ways of sending and receiving data into your CRM have demonstrated high accuracy and performance. At the end of the day, what is most important is that you feed your CRM with all the possible data so you can get an overview of your guests, obtain insights and plan personalised campaigns.
2. Features that align with your goals
It is important that your CRM helps you achieve your goals. For instance, If your objective is to improve departmental efficiency, it is crucial to select a CRM that offers automation features.
Automation can streamline repetitive tasks and workflows, freeing up valuable time for your staff to focus on more important guest interactions. You can look for features such as automated email campaigns, automatic task reminders, and workflow automation to enhance operational efficiency.
By selecting a CRM system with the right automation capabilities, you can improve productivity, reduce human error, and ensure a seamless guest experience from booking to check-out.
On the other hand, if you are looking to use a CRM to manage a multi-property brand then you should look for a system that is designed for multi-property hotels.
And the same should happen with whatever your objective is.
3. It helps you structure, organise and understand your data
In the modern hospitality industry, it is essential to have a CRM tool designed to handle the complexity of guest data effectively. Legacy systems, which may be outdated and lack modern features, can make it challenging to navigate and comprehend guest data.
By opting for a modern CRM system, you can simplify the process of managing and analysing guest data. The system should offer intuitive interfaces, user-friendly dashboards, and customisable reports that allow you to organise and visualise data in a way that makes sense to you as a hotelier.
This allows you to gain valuable insights into guest behaviour, preferences, and patterns, enabling you to make more informed decisions to enhance guest experiences and drive revenue.
Choosing a straightforward CRM system will not only save you time and effort but also empower you to leverage guest data effectively. It should enable you to easily track and manage guest information, record and analyse guest interactions, and identify trends and opportunities.
By having a clear understanding of your guest data, you can tailor your services, marketing campaigns, and loyalty programs to meet their specific needs and expectations, ultimately leading to improved guest satisfaction and loyalty.
Download this guide to learn how hotels can use guest data to increase revenue.
4. A multi-channel CRM support
When choosing a hospitality CRM, it is important to ensure it supports multi-channel communication, rather than just email.
In today’s digital landscape, guests interact with hotels through various channels such as SMS, WhatsApp, social media, and more.
A multi-channel CRM allows you to reach out to your guests using more than just email and gives you higher conversion rates. This enables you to deliver personalised and consistent experiences across multiple touchpoints.
Moreover, you can engage with guests on their preferred communication channels which is already enhancing customer satisfaction, and it will help you to build stronger relationships that lead to repeat bookings and positive word-of-mouth.
5. Automated triggers for repetitive tasks to save time
With automation, you can streamline processes such as booking confirmation, response to inquiries, feedback collection, invoice delivery and post-stay follow-ups. By eliminating manual efforts, you can improve efficiency, reduce errors, and ensure consistent communication with guests.
Additionally, automation features in a hotel CRM enable you to set reminders, schedule emails, and trigger specific actions based on predefined conditions, making it easier to stay organised and manage guest interactions effectively.
If you are interested in how to automate tasks using a CRM, review this article: 5 triggers to automate hotel marketing communications.
6. Allows personalised communication
Consider a CRM system for your hotel with the ability to personalise your communications. How does this work? Basically, it should offer you the option to personalise your campaigns as much as you want through the use of tokens.
Each token is an aspect you can personalise, for example, the type of room, the name, the means of transportation, the date of arrival, the birthday, and many more.
And what type of personalised communications can you send? Some of these can be tailored offers, recommendations for services or amenities, invitations to book again, etc. By delivering messages that resonate with individual guests, you can enhance guest satisfaction, foster loyalty, and ultimately increase revenue.
Read this article to learn more about how to personalise your communication with a hotel CRM to elevate your guest experience.
7. Schedule and plan your communication campaigns
Your hotel CRM system should have the capability to help you schedule and plan your nurturing and communication efforts. A robust CRM system allows you to create and manage campaigns, plan newsletters, and design complete guest journeys.
This feature enables you to automate and optimise your marketing efforts, ensuring that you reach the right guests at the right time with the right message. By having the ability to schedule and plan your communications in advance, you can maintain consistent engagement with your guests, deliver timely and relevant content, and drive higher conversion rates.
This functionality within a CRM system empowers you to strategically nurture relationships with your guests, ultimately leading to increased loyalty and revenue.
When choosing a CRM system for your hotel, consider opting for one that comes equipped with its own building tools, meaning, email builder or messaging builder.
Such tools would help you design and edit your messages, templates, and emails without having to switch to another platform. This saves time and improves your workflow efficiency while streamlining the design process.
Consider choosing a CRM system that has a visual interface. Many older CRM systems can be complicated and challenging to navigate, which makes even the most straightforward task feel like a monumental undertaking.
In contrast, a visual CRM system has a straightforward user interface, making it easy to understand and use. For instance, having a visual guest journey builder lets you see the entire guest experience from start to finish, providing clarity and facilitating better decision-making.
Visual components in a CRM system also make it easier to identify trends, patterns, and opportunities, enabling you to adapt and respond accordingly.
Overall, keep in mind why you are looking for a CRM, what is your main objective and which functionalities will help you improve your results, and make a wise decision.
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