Thursday
Oct082009

CRM Meets Email Marketing

Libra OnDemand does a great job at tracking all of your customer profiles, their preferences, survey results (feature released last month) and stay details. This is all great, but now that we have a wealth of information about each guest and their stays, what do we do with it?

Email campaigns have always been a popular way to communicate with your customer base and market your product. But so often it’s been shots in the dark, sending out standardized mass email communications to hundreds of thousands of addresses. This no longer has to be the case. By combining rich CRM profile data with email marketing tools, you can segment your entire database by multiple criteria such as stay patterns, guest preferences, survey results, demographics data, spend history and others. You can then create highly targeted email campaigns that will have a high chance of striking home with their intended recipients.

You can also engage in direct, one-on-one communications with your customers, responding to their particular reservation details, stay requirements and profile preferences. If you know that your guest is arriving tomorrow, why not send him or her an upgrade invitation or an email describing local points of interest and attractions? If the guest has just departed, wouldn’t you want to get their feedback on how the stay went? And if your property is hosting a wine festival, why not invite all your past guests who you know are wine enthusiasts (captured through the preference tracking feature in Libra OnDemand) to come and stay at your property during that event?

Our team has been working hard on integrating CRM with email marketing for the past weeks, and we are happy to announce the release of email marketing functionality as part of the Libra OnDemand CRM application. We have teamed up with Vertical Response to create a tight integration between VR email marketing platform (using very robust VR APIs) and the Libra OnDemand application and its underlying force.com platform.

One of the key components of this new feature is the ability to create and manage email marketing lists directly in Libra OnDemand, using Reservation and Contact profiles and any other related objects. For example, you can create a list of all your customers that stayed in your hotel in the past year and booked a spa package. Email lists are compiled using all of the available profile data as criteria. You no longer have to deal with manual queries, data exports or file uploads.

Another great feature is the ability to create Dynamic lists that compile based on reservations and guest profile data at the time when the mailing is sent out. Dynamic lists, along with the scheduling capabilities of email campaigns, are the basis for pre-arrival and post-departure email messages.

Since we now have the ability to use every aspect of the guest stay in email marketing communications, dynamic email capabilities have several interesting use cases. For example, consider sending out an automatic email to every guest who filled out a post-stay survey with a satisfaction score of say 90% and higher. This campaign can contain an invitation for the guest to review their stay on TripAdvisor and, since you already know that the guest was satisfied, great ratings are guaranteed!

Wednesday
Sep302009

Where is the Center of Your CRM? 

www.yourhotel.com.  It’s your website.  Everyone has one.  But what is its purpose?  Does your organization use it primarily as a marketing tool or as a revenue channel?  Many organizations have spent thousands (including some spending tens of thousands) on developing an effective website to communicate to their prospective and current customers.  The website, while incorporating the hotel’s branding and identity, typically lists the amenities, room information, dining room menus, location, directions, etc.  Most websites, and surprisingly not all, even have the capability to book a future room reservation, meeting or even a dining reservation.

I fully subscribe to the business strategy that hotels should “drive” their customers to their website.  Once deployed, it provides a minimal manpower consuming way to provide extensive information about the property, and is typically the least expensive distribution channel for reservations.  However, that is typically where the relationship with the customer ends.  Other than the Internet booking engine component, self-service options for hotels guests and customers are a rarity.  Why haven’t more hospitality organizations embraced the website as the center of their CRM philosophy?

Your customers already expect this type of online experience.  The airlines have done it for years.  Social Media sites have it.  The large, international chains gather information about their guests online, and allow them to update phone numbers, email addresses, and preferences.  Why don’t the smaller chains, hotel groups and independents have this type of functionality?

Consumers are hesitant today to turn their personal information over to reservation agents or front desk staff in fear of identity theft or worse, and therefore hotels are not easily able to obtain true guest profile and preference data.  Instead, hotel marketing managers send surveys to try to capture that information, but most of the queries are based solely on post-stay statistics.

Today’s technologies allow websites, regardless of the hotel company’s size, to feature CRM capabilities by seamlessly integrating “www.yourhotel.com” with your customer relationship management application.  Customers can take the initiative to manage their personal information, update preferences and track rewards in a safe, secure environment that they control. 

Your website should also be the source for stay-specific applications.  Instead of using your website as your high-speed Internet access (HSIA) landing page, hotels should provide a property-specific portal that allows in-house guests to learn more about the hotel and its amenities, along with local attractions, weather and maps or even order room service.

After the stay, your website should also be the primary source for your customers to review past stay information and guest folios, sign up for email offers, post travel reviews and update their stay preferences for future visits.  In addition, loyal customers should have the ability to view and manage their membership data online, redeem reward points, purchase gift certificates and request room upgrades.

It’s time to upgrade your website.  Hoteliers looking for a better way to manage their guest history data for improved marketing need to give control over to their guests and make their website the center of their CRM.

 
Friday
Sep252009

Libra OnDemand - Hospitality CRM Demo Videos

We just posted two new product videos on You Tube - be sure to check them out and let us know what you think!

 

Thursday
Sep242009

Making Guest Surveys Actionable

Our team has recently released an interesting new feature: integration with guest satisfaction surveys. We have partnered with Unifocus and Market Metrix, two leaders in survey technologies, to provide tight integration with their platforms.

The key goal of this integration is to make survey questionnaires specific to the actual stay experience of guests and to provide immediately actionable data to guest relations teams based on specific customer responses and comments.

How does this feature work? Upon guest check-out, Libra OnDemand automatically generates a personalized “Thank You” email with a link to an online customer survey form. Depending on certain attributes of the stay, Libra OnDemand will use the survey form that is specific to that customer’s experience. For example, if the guest visited the spa during his or her stay, the survey will include questions about how they liked their spa visit. In a similar way, if the guest had a service incident, the questionnaire will ask for the guest’s feedback on how it was handled.

After the questionnaire is completed, survey results are automatically updated on the guest’s profile in Libra OnDemand. This provides hotels with the immediate ability to act on the received survey results on a one-on-one basis with each guest. Using pre-defined workflow rules and procedures, the system can generate a follow-up task, an email alert or an automatic flag notification for the guest’s next stay. For example, if the overall stay experience was positive, the hotel may encourage that guest to review their stay on TripAdvisor by sending them an email invitation. We only want happy guests to post there, right? However, if the guest was not entirely satisfied, a follow-up call from the hotel’s GM may be in order, so the system will generate a new task and send an email notification to make sure it happens.

CRM is all about knowing your customer and providing great service. We are glad that Libra OnDemand now offers this new tool to help achieve just that!

Monday
Aug242009

Become a Fan of Libra OnDemand on Facebook!

Are YOU a Facebook Fan of Libra OnDemand? Become one today @ www.facebook.com/libraondemand. Libra OnDemand is where CRM Meets Hospitality.
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