The “customer journey” is that journey that the customer takes from the moment he books a stay in an accommodation facility until the moment he returns home.
In this process consisting of several phases, it is important to make sure that the customer is followed in every step.
Following the customer means offering him the “right” information at the “right” moment.
Some practical examples that explain what we mean by “right information” can be: curiosity about the area, information on how to reach the structure or the possibility of purchasing additional services in order to personalize your stay.
The main steps that make up the customer journey are:
- Registration of the reservation at your facility;
- Receipt of the pre-stay information email;
- Receipt of the second pre-stay information email; (not always);
- Upsell or Cross Sell offer (not always);
- Arrival at the facility;
- Stay at the facility;
- Receiving the post stay email;
As you can see from the list above, the steps are not few and it is important to immediately define a specific strategy for each individual hotel, trying to understand which of these steps you want to implement, after which you must make sure that these actions are automated.
Having to send pre-stay or post-stay emails manually to all customers staying in the structure would require an unsustainable amount of work, and for this reason we want to explain how important it is to have a hotel management software that is able to take care of these tasks.
What are pre stay emails and what are they for
The pre-stay emails are sent to the customer within the time span between the time the customer makes the reservation and the day before check-in.
The e-mails are used to communicate various details to the customer such as: the possibility of checking in online, notifying the opening hours of the reception, breakfast or parking.
The customer loyalty experience begins immediately after booking, when the first confirmation email is sent; this email details the reservation and a summary of the information relating to the stay.
The booking confirmation email is not considered a pre-stay email, but a simple courtesy email that falls within the booking step.
Subsequently, another email (the pre-stay email) can be sent containing useful information:
- how to get from the station to the structure;
- what are the car parks affiliated with the structure;
- how to pre-order your ski pass;
- calendar of events in the city during the month.
The aim is to establish a relationship of trust and to start on the right foot, trying to prevent some recurring questions that often create doubts and fears in the customer even before the stay (in some cases they also help prevent no shows).
Upsell with pre-stay emails
Pre-stay emails are fully part of the hotel’s communication strategy and can help increase earnings by offering a upsell of a room a certain number of days before arrival.
The upsell consists in offering the customer a room of a higher level than the one they purchased for an economic supplement.
Upselling can prove useful for two reasons:
- “Lower” rooms are released, thus increasing the possibility of obtaining new reservations since the “lower” rooms are on average easier to sell;
- It goes to earn on the cost of a “superior” room that otherwise would probably have remained unsold.
Not all accommodations have accommodations that differ in type, for this reason in some cases it is not possible to offer an upsell: in this case you can resort to the cross sell of extra services (such as entrances to parks, museums, ski passes etc …).
What are post stay emails and what they are for
At the end of the stay, post-stay emails also play an important role.
At the time of check-out you can go to send an email to your guests to thank them for choosing their facility and invite them to leave a review on various portals such as TripAdvisor and Facebook.
If you want, you can also decide to offer a promotional code or a discount voucher to be used for the next stay at your facility; a fundamental precaution if you want to create that loyalty relationship that is a key element in the strategy of disintermediation.
What are the advantages of an excellent customer journey?
As already mentioned, the pre-stay and post-stay emails serve to improve the guest experience and there are several advantages that directly and indirectly bring with them such as:
- Retain customers;
- Improve the experience right away by providing useful information to plan your trip;
- Allow the structure to increase its turnover by offering up sell and cross sell services.
How to automate pre stay and post stay emails with Slope
It is often mistakenly thought that to manage pre-stay and post-stay communication it takes a long time and there is no real benefit for your structure.
In order to create a strategy that does not require manual work, it is necessary that the sending of this type of email is done directly by the hotel management software.
Being Slope’s PMS being an all-in-one software solution, this process can also be automated. It is possible to define rules for sending pre-stay and post-stay emails, by setting completely customizable messages directly from the management system!