Today, it's hard to imagine an industry with tougher competition than hospitality. Both small family-owned hotels and big-name international resort chains compete with each other for customers. And as for the customers, their needs evolve, and they are no longer satisfied with just clean rooms, free Wi-Fi, and smiling front desk agents.
They expect a highly personalized service when hotels foresee their needs and whims and know their likes and dislikes. That's why quality customer relationships are an invaluable tool in the arsenal of hospitality businesses.
Processes to Automate at Your Hotel
When we talk about the hospitality industry, it is important to introduce a concept of a property management system (PMS). A property management system is a software solution designed to assist property managers and owners in managing various aspects of their businesses.
It is commonly used in the hospitality industry, including hotels, resorts, vacation rentals, and other types of accommodations. A property management system is sometimes referred to as a hotel operating system (hotel OS).
A PMS typically offers a range of features and can be integrated or replaced with other systems, such as Salesforce CRM, to streamline and automate property management tasks.
These are some of the examples of automated processes that can be achieved as a result:
1. Online Bookings
In the modern world, most hotel reservations are made online. Without direct integration with aggregation services, there is a risk of duplication of reservations, data loss, and more time spent on additional manual work.
When integrated with your internal property management system (PMS), the program automatically displays up-to-date information in real time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As a result, your website or an intermediary site (such as Booking.com or Airbnb) displays current offers, pricing, lodging options, and available rooms.
Furthermore, they provide guests with a user-friendly and straightforward interface, increasing the number of bookings and income.
2. Accounting and Reporting
Automation of accounting and reporting can speed up the financial management of a hotel. Special programs allow you to automate the processes of invoicing, processing payments, and managing financial flows.
PMS tracks transactions in real time throughout the entire customer cycle, so all the data you could ever need is right there. The system automatically processes transactions, calculates taxes, generates checks and financial statements that your accountant can retrieve as needed.
Reports help track business performance, hotel occupancy, booking sources, average daily rate (ADR), and RevPAR (revenue per available room). You can also automatically close an operational day.
Automation can greatly improve your hotel's marketing efforts. Key areas to pay attention to:
- Email marketing. With email marketing, you can send personalized offers at different stages of the purchase. For example, you can send welcome emails or special offers.
- Personalized offers, cross-selling, and upselling. With automation, you can track guest preferences and offer them personalized offers. For example, when booking a hotel, you can offer excursions or a spa center nearby.
- Customer segmentation. With automation services, you can segment guests based on various criteria, such as demographics, past bookings, interests, or loyalty status. A segment of guests can be provided with customized marketing messages and offers that resonate with specific customer groups.
- Loyalty programs. Marketing automation services help you manage loyalty programs. You can automate the check-in process, track customer activity, and send personalized rewards or promotions based on a guest's loyalty status or accumulated points.
- Dynamic pricing. The marketing automation service can be integrated with a revenue management system to optimize pricing strategies based on demand, seasonality, and other factors. This ensures that hotels offer the right rates to the right customers at the right time.
- Remarketing and retargeting. Using website tracking and guest data, you can customize ads to show ads to people who haven't completed their booking, encouraging them to come back and complete it. You can also show ads based on your visitor base, thereby searching for a similar audience.
Don't forget to check out: Salesforce For Email Marketing: Interview with Mar Tech expert
It is possible to integrate your PMS with billing software. Thus, you can automatically create invoices, track payments, and be reminded of payments.
The use of payment automation services helps reduce chargebacks, processing costs, taxes, and other fees. By automating the collection of the cost of additional services, it reduces the risk that service charges will not be taken into account.
There are also additional possibilities for automation, for example, with the help of sensors, charging for the use of a minibar, taking into account all the features of the process (room rate, category, etc.).
5. Customer Service
Automating customer service processes can increase guest satisfaction and improve operational efficiency. Here are some examples:
- Chatbot. You can integrate a chatbot to provide 24/7 customer support, assist with bookings, offer personalized recommendations, collect guest reviews, and interact with guests throughout their journey, ultimately improving the guest experience and increasing revenue.
- Customer surveys and feedback. Surveys can be sent to guests automatically after their stay to collect feedback and ideas. This feedback can help hotels identify weaknesses and take the necessary steps to improve their guest experience.
Submit positive feedback to the feedback portal. And negative reviews can be sent to the customer service manager. Thus, this person can immediately call the client.
- Knowledge base and FAQs. Collecting a knowledge base and a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that guests can easily access reduces the need for frequently recurring requests, which reduces the time to process them.
- Case and ticket management. Automating the assignment of tickets to the appropriate managers ensures that the problem is not missed, but is resolved in a timely manner. This increases efficiency and customer satisfaction.
- Automated email and SMS communication. Automation tools allow you to send messages about booking confirmation, payment reminders, payments, and status updates during the customer cycle. This automation reduces the risk of error on the part of both the hotel and the client. And also leaves the confirmation of the reservation always "at hand".
- Self-Service Options. Automation allows hotels to provide self-service options for guests, allowing them to access and manage information such as making changes to a booking or requesting additional services without third-party assistance. This may include features such as self-check-in kiosks, online booking modifications, or mobile apps that allow guests to manage room settings and request services.
Key Advantages of Salesforce CRM Software in Hospitality Industry
1. Unified customer view
Salesforce allows you to store all the information related to a specific guest and regularly update it with newly available data.
As a result, at any given point in time, the hotel staff has all the information needed to tailor an experience to the preferences of this specific customer. Moreover, if it is a large international brand, this data is available to all its hotels through the CRM, which is critical for catering to the needs of frequent business travelers who spend a large share of their time on the go.
2. Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty
Guests are very likely to choose the same brand again if they are satisfied with the service during their first stay.
And if they get a great customer experience time and time again, they may turn into loyal brand ambassadors, not just bringing profit to the hospitality brand but also new customers by spreading the word about it. Besides, satisfied customers mean great reviews on major booking and travel websites, which is a vital part of building a great reputation for the brand.
3. Actionable analytics data
Using data about tracking room and banquet hall occupancy to make decisions won't take the hotel too far. Hospitality generates tons of data daily, and all of it may turn out to be useful.
Thanks to advanced predictive analytics algorithms employed by Salesforce, as well as reporting tools and dashboards, hoteliers can detect specific patterns in guest behavior and track the performance of a single employee, a team, or the entire hotel.
This might be helpful for adjusting pricing policies, creating seasonal offers, developing appealing loyalty programs, and making important strategic decisions. Besides, this might provide insights into the needs of a specific customer and offer opportunities to upsell and cross-sell their services.
4. Automation solutions
Apart from giving hoteliers hints about what actions to take next, Salesforce also provides them with tools to take these actions.
Salesforce allows hospitality professionals to address their marketing, sales, and customer support needs through the Marketing, Service, and Sales Cloud. Thanks to these clouds' capabilities, hotels and other hospitality businesses can automate numerous routine tasks, streamline their marketing campaigns, and track and analyze the campaigns' results more efficiently.
5. Streamlined customer support
Companies are increasingly conscious of the importance of multi-channel customer service, and the hospitality sector is no exception.
This is especially true for large brands with hotels and resorts dispersed throughout the world. Salesforce allows for handling interactions across all channels in a unified manner. Whether it is an email, phone call, or face-to-face conversation, the associated information can be used by the whole customer support team.
Besides, it is stored for analysis in the future, helping managers and supervisors detect weak points in interactions and giving them ideas about how to improve custom support, as well as how to use this data to improve the operations of a single hotel or the entire brand.
6. Extra hospitality-specific tools
Utilize the extra capabilities provided with AppExchange applications.
Apart from countless apps that are universal and equally applicable to most industries, AppExchange has dozens of applications listed that are aimed at some specific business sectors, including hospitality. These are apps for hotel management, restaurant and property management, booking engines, and others (for example, GoMeddo).
7. Vast integration opportunities
However multifunctional Salesforce may be, it can't address all the aspects of operating a business.
Still, switching between several systems and manually inputting data from one to another is not just painful but also takes time, which otherwise could be used more efficiently. Salesforce offers immense opportunities for integrating third-party solutions, including hotel and restaurant management tools, property management systems, front desk software, and more.
8. Enhanced Marketing and Guest Engagement
Salesforce CRM provides robust marketing automation capabilities. Hotels can create targeted campaigns, send personalized offers, and engage with guests through various channels, including email, social media, and mobile apps. This helps build customer loyalty and drive repeat bookings.
Check out another amazing blog by Twistellar here: Salesforce App Development: Best Practices
To Wrap Up
When implemented properly, Salesforce has all the potential to boost the efficiency of a hospitality business and give it an extra competitive edge. Contact us for a consultation and find out how to boost your business with automation.