The Guest Vortex

I was logging into the portal site for the main CRS I work with, InnLink when I noticed a video they had on their main page to promote the company. During the video, there is a sequence where they cover the relationship of a potential guest and the journey where they end up being a guest and a returning guest. They call the process the Guest Vortex, and I thought I would share it here (click to enlarge):

As you can see, the Vortex consists of various stages, and the more often a guest returns, the more tightly they become loyal and part of the hotel (which is the eye of the storm).

A lot of hotels and properties focus on only a few of these points around the Vortex: 1. Awareness 2. During

The other points around the Vortex are what can help distinguish one property from another if the other two points are equal. What I mean by this is that if the websites are comparable with their layout, the rates are the same, the quality of the rooms and service offered are the same, the guest is basically flipping a coin to decide on which hotel to choose. They will often choose the one that is closer to their desired location, or it may just be that one looks more inviting than the other (maybe there are kids present in the pictures and it is a family that is booking the room).

While Awareness and During are extremely important, the remaining points are important, as well, and building a rapport with the guest. The better the experience booking a room, arriving at the hotel, and departing the hotel a guest has, the more likely they are to become a returning guest. Here are some ideas on how to build that rapport with a guest before they arrive at your property, and as they depart.

Planning

When a guest is planning, they are looking at two main things: eating, and activities (things to do, sites to see, close destinations, etc). The simplest way to let them know what to do or where to eat is by having local listings on your website, or at the very least links out to the related content (a local tourism website, TripAdvisor restaurants, Yelp and so on). When I’ve analyzed the Google Analytics for the hotel websites, I have found that visitors browsed around more when there was more information available, and booked more frequently, as well. I would not regurgitate a lot of the information that is available on other sites, but enough for people to be aware of what is available in the area that may entice them to stay longer than they originally had planned for.

Booking

A lot of properties miss out on an opportunity to sell something more to the guests when they are going through the booking process. When the guest clicks on the “Book Now” button to start exploring rates, they are in that “Buy Now” mode and can be influenced to make other purchases. The offerings will vary on the property, whether it be massages or other spa treatments, or discounts on golf packages, or something simple like flowers and a box of chocolates. Most Property Management Systems are designed to handle these add-ons, as are most Central Reservation Systems. If they are available, try to include at least two different add-ons that your Front Desk Agents or the web booking engine can sell to the guest. If your property has nothing available, try building partnerships within your community with flower shops or tourist attractions, and possibly earn a commission.

Pre-Stay

A pre-stay email is a great way to not only remind the guest of their booking details, but it’s another opportunity to remind them to make dinner reservations at your restaurant, or a helpful reminder that they are staying on a busy weekend so they may wish to purchase tickets to a music festival in advance. If your property is small and you’re willing to personalize these emails further, you could include the local weather during their stay or a link to movie listings.

Post-Stay

The post-stay period is important because it’s the final chance you have to get them interested in staying at the property again if they haven’t made that decision already. There are three things a post-stay email can consist of:

1. A thank you note for staying at the hotel. 2. An invitation to connect on Facebook, Twitter, blog or newsletter. 3. Completing a survey, posting on TripAdvisor, or emailing comments to the hotel.

The email could consist of all three of these points. I like having the thank you note at the beginning, and including links to social media profiles in the signature of the email. After the thank you note is the invitation to fill out a survey with SurveyMonkey or posting their thoughts on TripAdvisor.

Hopefully, after completing one cycle through the Vortex from Awareness to Post-Stay, the guest will be won over by your hospitality and the quality of the property. They will either stay with you again, or at the very least, spread a positive review about you, which is equally as important.

If you have any questions on how you can improve upon any points through the Vortex or require assistance in getting things setup, please get in touch. Also email me to learn more about InnLink’s services and I can put you in touch with the correct sales agent to help get you the best deal possible.

For more information about InnLink, contact: Deanna Smith, and mention my name for the best deal possible.

Here is the video for anyone interested: