A CRM system for hotels? What does that mean, exactly?

Dear Hoteliers,

When marketing CRM, I often bring the subject up with hoteliers. But most of the time they don’t really understand the concept. Why not? Because in the past, many companies have used the term incorrectly to describe systems that aren’t CRM, or are only a small part of a CRM system.

  • A CRM system is not a mailing solution.
  • A CRM system is not a customer database.
  • A CRM system is not a customer satisfaction system.
  • A CRM system is not a retention technique.
  • It’s ALL of the above, and much MORE.

In this article, I’m going to focus on explaining what the major market players mean when they talk about CRM. And I’ll add my own personal conclusions, as usual.

Happy reading!


The Three Sources of Supporting Documentation

In my research for this article, I voluntarily selected three separate sources: Wikipedia, Salesforce and Revinate. The goal was to obtain three different perspectives: a very academic take on the subject (Wikipedia), a general commercial point of view (Salesforce), and, lastly, a purely hotel-oriented perspective (Revinate).

DISCLAIMER: To improve readability and comprehensiveness, these excerpts from the original texts have been revised. The contents have not been altered; modifications were made uniquely to improve readability. Certain passages were removed, and a few connecting words were added to better organize all the concepts.

Wikipedia

Let’s start with the fundamentals by seeing what Wikipedia has to say on the subject. I selected key sections that are either of specific interest to you as hoteliers or simply help to get a grasp of the subject.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Customer_relationship_management 

GENERAL DEFINITION

Using a CRM system is seen as a business strategy with two essential goals: to increase profits and improve customer satisfaction.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a group of tools and techniques designed to collect, process and analyze customer information with the goal of building loyalty by providing or proposing services.

CRM systems allow users to process everything related to customer identification, building a customer knowledge base, creating customer relationships, and improving the company’s image, and that of its products, for its customers.”

THE CUSTOMER RELATIONS DIMENSION

Customer Relationship Management optimizes an organization’s profitability and customer satisfaction by targeting specific groups of customers.

It consists of creating or re-creating the necessary space for a real, lasting relationship between the customer and the service provider. It brings the customer and the service provider together.

A long-term, mutually beneficial relationship is built with the customer. The business knows its customers so well that it becomes difficult for others to compete with the quality and high level of its services.” 

CUSTOMER KNOWLEDGE

This is how CRM systems are part of the development of new information and communication technologies. A CRM system supports the company’s outreach teams when they contact customers via the Internet, by phone, or face-to-face.

Knowing each customer individually is indispensable in developing a lasting relationship and offering personalized service. Knowing the customer’s purchase history, preferred means of communication, preferred payment methods, interests, and preferred services is absolutely vital in developing a long-term relationship. The types of information cited above are generally located in various information systems, and companies generally gather it in a customer database.”

MARKETING

More and more companies use CRM software packages that help them manage their contacts (customers, potential customers, and partners) by keeping them apprised of personal information shared during interviews or visits, or following a purchase. All the collected information is then added to the CRM system, allowing the company to identify and define each customer’s profile in the long term and, later, to create tailored, targeted communication campaigns.

All the features of a CRM system contribute to planning the marketing calendar in advance, according to each customer’s characteristics.” 


Salesforce

Salesforce is recognized worldwide as the oldest and most significant CRM system on the market today. Of course, it’s not specialized. But it’s always interesting to consider the advantages that they highlight when marketing their product:

Source : https://www.salesforce.com/fr/learning-centre/crm/what-is-crm/

Customer Relationship Management is the art of optimizing your company’s relationships with your customers and potential customers.

A CRM system helps you focus on relationships with your customers, colleagues, and partners. More than a simple sales and marketing tool, it enhances your organization’s productivity when adopted by the entire company – HR, customer service, the supply chain, etc.

CRM keeps track of all your customer interactions. Follow-up and customer satisfaction accelerate, as does the growth of your company.

To make your company efficient, data on your customer relationships should always be automatically updated, accessible and complete.

CRM consolidates information on every customer and every customer service request. It centralizes all contact details and preferences, as well as customer history. This means that every conversation is personalized, pertinent and based on current information.” 

 

Revinate

Revinate was the first complete CRM system for hotels ever developed. Today, its customers include thousands of hotels, especially on the other side of the Atlantic. This makes its vision of the profession interesting when it comes to answering our initial question: What is CRM for hotels?

Here are the talking points Revinate uses when it markets its CRM system:

Source : https://www.revinate.com/ 

CUSTOMER KNOWLEDGE

Combine the data from your PMS with Revinate’s marketing tools to create complete guest profiles on one platform.

Thanks to smart guest segmentation, you can connect with each of your guests and automatically create guest-specific scripts.”

ADDITIONAL SALES

Allow guests to enhance their stay by suggesting additional services, integrated directly in email or transactional campaigns.” 

EMAIL CAMPAIGNS

Easily create actionable guest segments based on guest profile data, surveys, and response to your newsletter, and send targeted email campaigns to guests pre-arrival, on-property, or post-stay.

Create recurring and drip campaigns to strengthen your email marketing efforts. Build out campaigns for transactions, birthdays and an endless variety of post-stay emails including book direct, loyalty, and welcome back offers.”

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Improve online ratings and rankings by boosting review volume. Solicit guest surveys and collect reviews for TripAdvisor or Google to make the most impact with your guest feedback.” 

E-REPUTATION

Revinate Reputation helps you capture, measure, and optimize the guest experience by bringing together all online reviews and social media mentions into a single, integrated view.”


Conclusion 1: CRM systems

They each have their own approach, but the main ideas are well-stated and clear: A CRM system should allow you to:

  • Improve customer knowledge.
  • Collect and centralize all customer data and history in one interface.
  • Improve customer experience through continuous digital monitoring.
  • Improve the customer experience and increase profits through the sale of additional services.
  • Implement e-reputation tools (surveys, Trip Advisor sharing, and follow-up).
  • Improve loyalty through automatic segmented email campaigns.
  • Make every customer feel close to your hotel.


Conclusion 2: Users

When we take a closer look at these points, we realize that a CRM system is used by a large percentage of hotel staff:

  • Receptionists/Concierges: CRM gives them a better understanding of the customers and their expectations, allowing them to strengthen their customer relationships.
  • Revenue Managers/Marketing Staff: CRM allows them to sell additional services and directly increase customer loyalty through email campaigns.
  • General Managers/Owners: CRM allows them to keep track of customer satisfaction and the hotel’s reputation. This helps them verify that the in-house teams are doing their jobs correctly.


My Personal Conclusions

CRM systems are no longer optional for hoteliers. This type of tool has already been widely implemented in other domains, and the hotel industry needs to catch up.

It is crucial to adopt one unique platform that allows users to manage all customer interactions. The results are immediately visible:

  • Improved revenue.
  • Lower costs.
  • Growing customer satisfaction.

Pepijn Rijvers, Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com, says (watch the interview here: https://lnkd.in/d5Qt_Bq):

Every property owner in the world should use Booking.com as a customer acquisition channel and then try to do everything to make that customer become loyal and book repeat stays direct.”

– Pepijn Rijvers, Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com

Yes, even Booking.com says that hoteliers should have a CRM system.

I hope that this article has helped clarify what CRM really is, and how it will positively impact your establishment.

Don’t hesitate to contact me by email or in the comments if you have other questions on the subject.

Thanks!