How To Create A Hospitality CRM Strategy That Drives Results
As a hospitality operator, it’s essential to efficiently manage your customer relationships which helps you provide the best customer experience. After all, this is what builds the foundation for sustainable and long-term success.
Putting a profound customer relationship management (CRM) strategy in place should be part of your overall game plan.
In this article, we’ll have a look at the role your CRM system plays in creating and executing an effective strategy that drives growth.
What is a CRM strategy?
Put simply, a CRM strategy is a plan that outlines how a company will engage with its customers and use data to foster long-term loyalty and growth.
It usually consists of a mixture of company-wide processes and planned actions, which are often executed and managed with the help of technology. The overall aim is to reduce acquisition costs and increase customer lifetime value.
With a well-defined strategy established, companies can streamline their processes, efficiency as well as operations and also gain a better understanding of their customers’ needs.
To accomplish the set goals, it’s vital to leverage the insights and capabilities of your tech tools. Your CRM system is most important here as it stores all the relevant customer information.
This will help you to turn your strategy into tangible action that can be tracked. You can also better analyse your data to inform your marketing and sales decisions.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution here, as businesses of different sizes and industries will ultimately require different approaches.
So, before you get started, it’s important to understand what components go into a CRM strategy.
3 key hospitality CRM strategy components
A successful hospitality CRM strategy is centred around your unique business needs and your customers.
The following three steps will guide operators in coming up with their own CRM strategy.
Step 1 – Define your goals
The first step is to lay out clear goals that align with your business’s overall objectives and that your team can follow.
For example, a small restaurant might be looking to quickly grow its mailing list. A large hotel chain, on the other hand, might be seeking to increase direct bookings and get access to customer data.
Tip: Make use of the SMART goal-setting formula here. Goals should always be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. And don’t forget to regularly check your goals to make sure they are still up to date.
Step 2 – Describe your customer journey
The next step is to map out your full customer journey.
This involves taking into account every single touchpoint, both online and offline, that a customer encounters when engaging with you. Consider online reservations, WiFi sign-ups, and loyalty scheme usage but also physical in-venue visits.
By identifying these touchpoints, you can develop action points and define goals to improve the customer experience.
Step 3 – Build a target customer profile
It’s also important to define who your customers are in order to better target your audiences.
For this step, you need to segment all your customers into distinct categories.
Think about the different personas that come to your venue. Include basic background information such as demographics, profession, etc. In addition, consider why they’ve chosen your venue and what they expect from you.
For a coffee shop, their main customer base is probably workers of all ages stopping by to pick up their morning coffee. But there are also social drinkers who come to meet with their family and friends and who stay in your venue for longer.
For a hotel, this will look totally different. Their focus might be on families and/or couples with a certain budget. Or maybe their main clientele is business travellers. All these come with different amenity expectations.
Your CRM system will be a great supporter in this step. It helps you get a deep understanding of your customers and tailor your marketing strategies accordingly for maximum impact.
CRM dashboard management
One key feature of your CRM solution is the dashboard. With its ability to provide insights and data about your operations, you can make more informed and strategic decisions. Whilst also keeping track of the progress towards your goals.
But to truly harness the power of this tool, customisation is necessary. For hospitality businesses in particular, key performance indicators (KPIs) may vary greatly compared to other industries. So to have the ability to tailor your dashboard to your specific needs is vital.
Some KPIs that are relevant to hospitality businesses include:
- Customer retention rate
- Average spend per customer
- Number of direct bookings /online reservations made
- Guest satisfaction ratings
- Number of loyalty program signups
Many CRMs come with pre-made dashboards that you can adapt or even the option to create ones from scratch using different graphs and reports.
However, it’s important not to overload your dashboard. Keep it simple and focus on the most important metrics. This way, it’s easier for staff to spot trends at one glance and act upon them immediately.
Drive sales with your CRM system
With the insights and data that a CRM system provides, hospitality marketers can level up their sales strategy and grow their customer base more effectively.
1. Marketing personalisation
One of the most effective marketing strategies is personalised campaigns that speak to the specific needs and interests of the individual customer.
This is where a CRM shines. It collects and collates data on each customer’s interactions, purchases, and preferences, which can be further segmented into categories.
Some example categories for hospitality operators could be:
- First-time visitors
- Loyalty program users
- Demographical – students, families, male/female
- Geographical – locals
- Upcoming birthday
- Customers who have left a review
- Customers who have made an online purchase
- Customers who have not been at your venue for a certain period of time
By using this input to tailor marketing messages, businesses can significantly increase their chances of conversion and repeat business.
2. Marketing automation
Additionally, setting up marketing automation for email and SMS campaigns can save time and ensure that every customer receives targeted and relevant messages. When CRM data insights and marketing automation are used together, businesses can create a truly powerful marketing strategy.
Automated welcome emails are one common marketing automation used by hospitality businesses. These are triggered when customers make their first booking or sign up for the newsletter. The goal is to stay in touch and turn them into loyal customers.
Additionally, you could set up automated booking reminders and confirmations via email and/or SMS. This helps hospitality operators reduce no-shows and also provides an opportunity to upsell.
4 Quick CRM tips for hospitality operators
Here are some quick tips to help you maximise your marketing strategy using the power of your CRM platform:
- Invest time in proper staff CRM training
- Collate data from various tech tools to build a full customer profile
- Keep your data clean and regularly updated your customer records
- Use customer history and interaction to upsell
We’ve got some more tips and tricks for you in this blog post.
Any CRM strategy development for hospitality businesses should begin with defining goals that are in line with your overall strategy and values. It is therefore highly individual to each company.
Companies also need to understand and map out the customer journey as well as their customer personas to see how it fits into the overall sales, marketing and growth strategy.
Once all that is in place, operators should use their CRM system to monitor, manage, and optimise each customer touchpoint. This can easily be done through the integrated dashboard feature, which should also be customised to only show relevant metrics.