By Josiah Mackenzie
We're nearing the end of the
summer season here in the Northern Hemisphere, and for some of our
hotels & resorts, that means the end of busy season is approaching.
What are the most important steps for you to take at this time? Or
really, after any time you have a busy stretch?
Try asking The Ultimate Question
; it's so powerful: "Would
you recommend us to your friends?"
Forget the 25-question
survey; you can gather additional information elsewhere. If a guest
will refer their friends to you, you know you've succeeded in
delivering an excellent experience. In conversations, try to find
they stayed at your property. Why did they choose you
over your competitors? Identify common elements, and see how you could
build future communications around these issues.
Gather people's thoughts from review sites,
feedback forms, and elsewhere. Multimedia content is best. Then publish
the most accurate and compelling feedback everywhere online. The
goal here is to communicate your value and your difference through the
words of others. Let them tell your story.
Search photo and video sharing sites
like Flickr and Youtube. Try a few blog searches. Look for material
people have published without your knowledge. Then highlight the
best pieces of content. This is Guestsourcing
. Promoting the stories that others are
telling about you, and connecting your past guests with potential
Take another look at your website analytics
Compare them over the same period last year. What trends do you
notice? With my hotels, I'm noticing increased mobile and video
use. But every situation is different. You need to look at your numbers
and see what's changing. Big, industry-wide changes matter
less than how your guests' digital usage changes.
You need to watch
what they're doing before you can provide new, channel-specific
Identify your most profitable customers
should really be something done on an ongoing basis. But now is a good
time to confirm what type of guests and reservations brought you the
most profits. Then, you can work to maximize these types of
bookings in the future. Remember, the #1 function of marketing
is not attracting new
customers, but retaining your existing profitable ones.
something nice to your best guests
It doesn't have to be
expensive, just a gesture of your appreciation. Some managers
send out a letter with a discount. Inns by the Sea
sends a monogrammed bathrobe. There's a million possibilities - decide
what works best for your situation.
Brainstorm with your
concierge "What were the most common questions you were
asked by guests?"
Identify the top 10, 20, or 50...and then
create a series of blog posts or articles answering these. (This is
the proactive concierge approach to marketing that works so well
Develop a system for staying in touch
having your guests forget about you by planning a way to provide
followup communication. Maybe this is an email newsletter, maybe
it's a Facebook page. The channel isn't as important as the concept.
Provide some way to stay in the minds of your core customer base. Continue
to provide interesting, valuable content - and they'll remember you for
next time.About Josiah Mackenzie
Josiah spends pretty much all day,
every day looking for ways you can use new media and the social web to
improve your business. To bring him on your team, you should look at
our Insider's Circle program here