Managing Digital Word of Mouth

With the steady rise in digital technologies, combining traditional marketing practices with modern technology has given rise to digital marketing. Digital word of mouth marketing has come about as an all-inclusive marketing strategy that not only focuses on marketing on social media but also takes other forms of online communications such as blogs, online forums, and discussions.

Word-of-mouth marketing is a tried-and-tested method of marketing that has been successful for over centuries. The basic premise is when customers experience a satisfactory service from a business, they spread the word about the quality of service. Through this and other such oral referrals, new leads were generated which were followed upon. While the ways of communication have changed significantly since the ancient days, the concept of word-of-mouth remains powerful enough to be relevant even today. This is doubly true for businesses in the hospitality sector.

Understanding Digital-word-of-mouth

Customers today have access to unlimited information via the internet. In this digital age where information is everything, consumers find it difficult to trust all sources of information. They usually focus on trusted sources such as communities they are members of, online information shared by their friends and families, and content written or shared by their favorite writers and social media personalities. This is where digital-word-of-mouth comes in. This not only goes true for product or brand recommendations but also hotels and restaurants. Since consumers naturally engage more with their friends and peers, it makes sense to utilize this connection in order to generate more leads.

Initially, word of mouth was spread at social gatherings, on phone-calls and other platforms. Today with social media, word-of-mouth has come into the public domain with platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. These channels are used continuously to share opinions about brands and businesses along with reviews, problems with services and responses.

Advantages of Digital-word-of-mouth

One of the most obvious advantages of digital-word-of-mouth is that it is relatively free. It is also one of the most trusted sources of marketing as consumers are more likely to accept digital-word-of-mouth coming from personally reliable sources. Added to this, social media platforms such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter are more easily accessible to consumers and businesses alike when compared with independently operated forums or company-owned platforms. Digital-word-of-mouth also shows to the consumer that the business by being available on public domain is actually willing to have a personal conversation or interaction with all its consumers. This creates a positive brand image and helps in building brand reputation.

Digital-word-of-mouth, other than being an extremely effective marketing tool also helps in creating a space for healthy discussions about what the consumers want from their product and the changes or improvements they expect in the services. It is also effective for exchanging views and opinions in-between customers regarding their trusted brands, products, and services. It also allows immediate collection of feedback and response, showing the consumers that the business is always ready to serve them irrespective of time or location.

15 Tips to Boost Midweek Occupancy and Revenues

Like the ebb and flow of the tides, hotels too have a low tide period which usually happens midweek. While weekends and holiday season are the equivalent of a high tide, midweek during the rest of the year can be a trying time. With low demand and lack of revenue, it can be hard to meet targets during this low tide period.

Here are a few actionable steps that can help you boost midweek occupancy and revenue for your hotel so that you don’t have to face frequent dry spells. With these fifteen tips, you can formulate a concrete plan to keep the revenue coming in all year through.

Tips to boost occupancy

1.Tie-ups: One of the most assured ways to get midweek clients is to market your banquet hall services to companies. Tie up with various companies close to your hotel to hosts their conferences and training programs. Make the offer attractive by letting the company know that once you have their requirements you will take over the organization completely each time they book your services. You can also have a loyalty program that discounts every third event or so that is held on your premises.

2. Build your client database: Building a client contacts database is an all-important step in marketing. One way to build your database is to offer clients a loyalty program when they first check in. Let them know that the program entitles them to prizes or discounts and that you will keep them updated on special events happening at the hotel. Registration for the program can be as simple as filling in few details like name, age and email address. You can also ask for birthday and anniversary information for which clients can get gifts.

3. Offer client loyalty programs: Once you have the client database the next step is to maximize that data to boost midweek occupancy. Clients who have stayed with you at least twice can be given midweek offers of two nights for the price of one, etc. You cloud also have discounts on stays for occasions like birthdays and anniversaries or offer a three-course meal free with the stay on such an occasion. Make sure to set a time limit to avail of the offer and keep it midweek.

4. Extend weekend stays: If your hotel is a popular weekend getaway spot then capitalize on your weekend crowd and offer them an extra day on either side of the weekend at half price or at a discounted rate.

5. Add value-added services: This could also be included in your loyalty programs but you could advertise these packages all on their own as well. Offer deals like Wednesday wonders which include a spa treatment or brunch by the pool Thursdays that can be availed of on one or two night stays.

6. Organize events: The dynamics of the work culture has shifted. More people are freelancing or working on their own time and have free time during the week. Target this audience with events like wine and cheese pairing workshops, live cooking demos, cocktail mixing workshops etc. to bring in more crowd midweek.

7. Establish a presence on social media: It is no longer possible to stay on par with the competition if you don’t have an online presence. With people spending a large chunk of their day on social media it is a necessity to have an online presence so that you can keep people informed of your various offers.

8. Hold contests: Once you have a solid online presence you can have online contests with different categories of winners. A first place could get a free night’s stay while a second place could get 50% off and so on. You could also offer discounts on meals at your in-house restaurant.

9. Tie-up with event venues: If you have an event venue near you that organizes concerts and shows you can tie up with them to buy a certain number of tickets for the more popular events. You can then offer the tickets as gifts to guests who book a stay with you midweek.

10. Woo senior citizens: Senior citizens are a demographic that can no longer be overlooked. With retirees in better health than they have ever been and with more free time and disposable income they could just be the midweek clientele you need. Organize events for seniors to meet and socialize, throw in some gifts and discounts and woo this valuable target.

11. Host companies’ guests: Big companies are constantly having clients and executives flying into town for meetings. These meeting usually happen during the week and you can capitalize on this by tying up with a company to provide guaranteed accommodation for their guests. You can throw in free pick up and drop services from the airport.

12. Create an app: The world exists on mobile apps these days. By having your very own app which clients can use to check availability, book rooms, and learn of promotional offers and events, increases your reach. The convenience offered by the app will help bring in more clients.

13. Have a referrals program: Reward guests who bring along another party or recommend your hotel to others. Make it more attractive for them to bring in bookings midweek.

14. Tie-up with an online travel agent: Online travel agents or OTAs are the go-to place for everyone making travel plans and hotel reservations these days. Set up your promotions in a way that give your hotel the edge when being compared to others on OTA sites. Have a booking button next to your promotional offers that will bring prospective clients back to your site to complete formalities and win great deals.

15. Good marketing strategies: And finally, you need to market your hotel well. You can have the best offers and deals in the business but to no avail, if no one knows about them. Nothing beats old fashion marketing of your brand when it comes to bringing in more clients so don’t ever neglect this area to promote your hotel and its services. Excellent service will also have your clients visiting time and time again.

Even if you can’t implement all of these steps try a few that you can and watch how business picks up during midweek and off-season time.

 

Press Release: Cloud5 Teams with Routier for Emerging Guest Engagement Software Solution

Find original press release here: https://cloud5.com/cloud5-partners-routier-add-customized-engagement-software-communications-platform/

Leader in hospitality communications adds innovative guest engagement to its HSIA product suite

HOUSTON, June 18, 2018 (HITEC 2018, Booth #2519)  —  Continuing its evolution as a thought leading provider of hotel communications technology and services, Cloud5 Communications announced today its partnership with Routier, an emerging hospitality software innovator. Routier helps hotel groups and hotels empower their staff and guests with seamless communications solutions that enhance exceptional guest experiences, building high guest loyalty and satisfaction.

This guest engagement innovation allows hotels to communicate with their guests in real-time during their stay without the need for them to download or install anything on their personal devices.  Guests simply need to access the Internet during their stay as they normally would. Hotels can know in real-time if a guest is having a good or poor experience, sense guest sentiment and follow-up immediately with the proper messaging and action.

“Combining Routier’s guest engagement solution with Cloud5’s HSIA platform, scale and operational capability in North America is a winning combination for both of our companies, and, most importantly, for our customers,” said Mark Holzberg, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Cloud5. “This is an important additional component to our product suite that leverages the power of our guest networks / HSIA with innovative technology to provide value enhancing service to the hotels and guests we collectively serve.”

Routier’s seamless engagement, marketing and operational solutions allow for hotels and hotel groups to proactively respond to and resolve guest issues in real-time, identify and qualify guests for upsells, upgrades and special offers, streamline operations by automating formally manual processes, and deliver effective marketing campaigns.

“As we expand our presence in the North American market, we are very happy to be partnering with Mark and his team at Cloud5,” said Gal Bareket, CEO of Routier. “Our seamless communications solution tackles one of the biggest challenges facing hotels – successfully connecting hotel staff and their guests at all times.  Cloud5 gets hotel communications, and our partnership, both operationally and from a technology integration perspective, will offer hotels in North America terrific benefits.”

Cloud5 will be showcasing its guest engagement solutions, alongside its complete hospitality communications portfolio, at HITEC in Houston, June 19-21, in booth 2519.

 

About Routier
Routier creates disruptive communication technologies for hospitality businesses, including hotels, airlines, and cruises. The company’s solution transforms the way hospitality providers connect, communicate, and share information with their customers and staff to substantially improve customer experience, customer engagement, and staff performance. More information at http://www.routier.io

About Cloud5 Communications

Cloud5 Communications simplifies complex networking and support for the hotel industry. It offers a comprehensive user-friendly platform that brings together advanced data and voice solutions, including end-to-end High-Speed Internet Access (HSIA), converged networks, hosted and on-premise PBX, WAN/LAN management, network design and skilled 24/7 support, as well as contact center services. Cloud5 serves thousands of hotels for leading brands, independents and management companies, and touches millions of guests and staff every day. For more information on Cloud5 Solutions, visit www.cloud5.com, or call 877.241.2516.

How to strategically manage your hotel brand’s equity and reputation

Ok, so you work with a hotel brand. Whether you own it, manage it, or manage just certain aspects of it, I have one question for you.

What is the most valuable thing your company owns? Is it your properties? Market share? Number of loyalty members? Take a guess.

The answer is actually your brand. Well actually it’s your brand equity which is based on customer perception of your brand name; customers associate your brand name with a promise, assurance, and a set of expectations that you must be able to maintain consistently. And when you’re managing multiple properties, even multiple extensions with multiple properties, ensuring that you’re maintaining the consistency of your brand promise becomes quite complex.

But before we get into measurement, let’s spend a few moments understanding the importance of guest satisfaction on a brand level and where guest satisfaction truly comes from.

Guests are the true determinants to whether a brand succeeds or fails and guest satisfaction has been used as a measure of operational success for branding strategies for the past 25 years (O’Neill and Mattila 2015). In fact, not only does guest satisfaction lead to repeat purchases, positive word of mouth, and guest loyalty, it also leads to higher market share, ADR, profits, and shareholder value (Prasad and Dev 2000).

But where does guest satisfaction come from? How can your brand ensure that your properties are performing at a level where no guest leaves your venue unsatisfied?

Well, let’s think about it. What makes guests happy? The location? The room quality? The amenities?

All these things are important, but nothing compares to the immense impact that quality of service delivery makes.

Your guests are happy because of the service they are given and the service is given to them by your employees. So technically, great service and high customer satisfaction depends mostly on the performance of your employees. And ensuring that your employees are motivated and passionate is not something that any brand should be confident about unless they have taken employee satisfaction into consideration when creating their brand standards and operational procedures.

In 1994, three brilliant professors from Harvard Business School introduced the service-profit chain, a methodology which demonstrates how employee satisfaction has a direct positive influence on customer loyalty which, in turn, contributes directly to an increase in revenue and profitability.

The chain is composed of several segments, all acting on a cause-effect relationship, where one event makes the other event happen.

In the next sections, you will find a breakdown of each of these segments: what they mean and how you can achieve them.

Internal Service Quality measures how much an employee’s work environment contributes to their satisfaction. Additionally, it identifies how easily employees communicate with one another inside the workplace. When you empower your employees, you see an immediate increase in employee satisfaction, hotel performance, and revenues.

Did you know that increasing your employee engagement investments by 10% each year can increase profits by $2,400 per employee?

Routier helps you invest in your employees, by empowering them with the right tools, resources, and information they need to help them:

  • Manage their tasks more efficiently and effectively
  • Coordinate with other employees within the organization
  • Engage with your venue’s guests across all channels, with one platform
  • Accomplish their own goals

Employee Satisfaction measures whether your employees are satisfied and happy at work. Higher employee satisfaction is directly linked to higher productivity, motivation, commitment, and service quality. Employee satisfaction derives from employee support and rewards offered by their workplace.

Did you know that the cost of replacing an employee is upwards of 200%? When your employees are satisfied, they are 87% less likely to leave the company.

Routier helps you identify and recognize outstanding team members who deliver quantity and quality. With this transparency, you can create incentive and rewards programs to help boost morale and motivation.

Employee Productivity is an assessment of the efficiency of your employee; it is measured in terms of output over a specific period of time. Higher productivity in the workplace will translate into better customer service and interactions.

Did you know that highly engaged employees are 38% more likely to have above-average productivity?

Routier helps hotels measure and improve their employees’ productivity and performance by:

  • Automating staff and guest engagement processes in one central location
  • Eliminating communication redundancies across departments
  • Generating staff performance analytics, to help measure the quality and quantity of employee performance
  • Identifying patterns and trends across departments and employees, helping identify strengths and weakness in hotel operations

External Service Quality measures the quality of service that your employees deliver to your customers; customers place value on quick service and employee friendliness.

External service quality translates directly into increased profits; the more satisfied a customer is with the services offered by a business, the more likely they are to increase their spend, recommend to others, and revisit in the future.

Did you know that if a service business manages to increase its percentage of loyal customers from 76% to 81%, its net profits are expected to double?

Routier helps hotels “do things right the first time” by:

  • Measuring and monitoring the quality of service delivered by their employees
  • Relaying information to those responsible for designing the service
  • Providing staff with real-time alerts and notifications for guest issues, in order to improve issue-recovery time
  • Creating 1-central dashboard which obtains guest feedback in real-time, and translates that data into information in order to improve services and products
  • Creating a seamless engagement experience for your guests; no downloads, no installations, no hassles
  • Producing the highest engagement rates in the industry

Customer Satisfaction measures how your product or service met or surpassed your customer’s expectations. It is provides hotels with a metric they can use to manage and improve their business.

Listening to your customers is important; their feedback is gold! They’re actually teaching you how to improve your service and business so that you can make it better.

Did you know that an engaged guest with a positive past experience spends up to 140% more than a guest with a negative past experience?

Routier is designed to efficiently communicate, track, and manage all of your guests’ issues. And, most importantly, we make it as easy as possible for your customers to give you feedback and tell you about the problems they are having. Losing even one customer can have a serious negative impact on your business.

Routier helps hotels ensure that no guest leaves their venue unsatisfied by:

  • Providing employees with the right information at the right time to handle client problems promptly
  • Measure and monitor guest satisfaction in real-time
  • Encouraging guests to report their concerns, in the most seamless and easy way possible
  • Gathering guest data in a consistent and objective fashion

Customer Loyalty, derived from customer satisfaction, is exhibited when the customer continuously and consistently repurchases from you or revisits your hotel due to the positive experiences they have had in the past. Creating a loyal customer base is key to gaining a competitive advantage and succeeding.

Did you know that…

  • A 5% increase in customer loyalty can produce profit increases from 25%-85%?
  • It costs almost 7 times more to bring in a new customer than to retain an existing one?
  • That the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%, whereas the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%?

Routier helps you identify and leverage the opportunities that loyal and satisfied guests provide by increasing:

  • Referrals
  • Retention
  • Repeat visitations
  • Loyalty member enrollment
  • Upsells, upgrades, and cross-sells
  • Advocacy
  • And gathering guest information (emails, etc.) for post-stay engagement

So you see, customer satisfaction isn’t independent. It’s completely dependent on employee satisfaction and performance. If you don’t invest in your employees the right way, you can’t empower them with the tools and information they need to do their job correctly. And if they don’t do their job correctly, your properties suffer and your brand suffers.

Your brand is the most valuable asset your company owns. Without your brand name, brand image, and brand reputation, you got nothing. And that’s why protecting your brand is so important for long-term market success.

 

5 simple tips that are going to take your hospitality business to the next level

Hospitality is a competitive business and to stay ahead you need to constantly up your game. Every now and then you need to revisit your strategies, get rid of what no longer works, tweak the parts that do work and see where you can introduce something new. There are some underlying truths of course that will never change; the customer is always right and you have to deliver great service. There is absolutely no shortcut for the latter and as for the former; hospitality is the one industry where that has to be a mantra.

Five tips to take your hospitality business to the next level

Once you’ve got the two main points down to an art here are five simple tips that you can inculcate into your practice to elevate your business:

1. Give your product menu a makeover: Whether you run a hotel, restaurant or bar you have a menu of sorts. Be it services, food or drinks, every now and then you need to add something new or ditch something that is just not selling. Even adding deals like happy hours or buy one get one, could give your customers something new to look forward to.

2. Keep with the times: If you’re not promoting your business on social media nor have an app for customers to make reservations then you are going to get left behind. It’s all well and good to not want to jump on the bandwagon and do what everyone else is doing but times are changing. There is a whole new generation of customers out there who live their lives online and if you don’t have a digital presence you won’t get noticed. Hire a professional if you must but give yourself some online exposure to stay relevant.

3. Stand out from the crowd: If you want to get noticed and continue to stay noticed you need to give people something to talk about. You don’t have to be the best at everything but find one or two things that you can really flaunt. If your location is not the best then try and make your décor fun and inviting. If you are a restaurant, nothing beats providing excellent quality food in hygienic conditions to your customers. A clean setting puts customers at ease and has them coming back for more.

4. Take care of your staff: Overworked and underpaid staff are not only going to underperform but will eventually quit. If you want to provide quality service with staff that sticks around for the long haul you need to take care of them. Give them good incentives, realistic working hours, and days off. Once they are loyal to you they will pitch in on their own when you are a few hands short or it’s a busy weekend.

5. Know the competition: As mentioned earlier, hospitality is a highly competitive business, with new establishments springing up every day. It wouldn’t hurt to keep up to date with who your competitors are and if any of them are doing exceptionally well you could learn a thing or two from them.