We are in an era of transformation. Independent hospitality businesses increasingly realize that the success of their business often depends on external factors. While these changes have led to an enhancement of offerings and the possibility of attracting more guests, they have also presented their own challenges. So, as independents, how can we innovate to address these trials, and what will they mean for the future?
Hospitality and travel brands have all the data any marketing professional could ever want; 77% of affluent travelers belong to at least one hotel loyalty program. These loyalty programs, along with registration data, purchase history, and customer databases, can provide personal information like a guest’s favorite meal for breakfast to broader findings such as the most likely booking time for specific customer subsets.
It’s imperative for any business to make customer service and satisfaction one of their top priorities. This is especially true in the hospitality and travel industries, because customers are going to assess your business primarily on whether or not they received a friendly, enjoyable, entertaining experience.
“Bleisure travel” is a growing trend in the travel and hospitality industries where business travelers extend their trips so they can further enjoy a destination. This is good news for independent brands, as most travelers typically secure other lodging and amenities for the “bleisure” portion of the trip so they don’t have to spend tons of money to stay in the corporate hotel. In addition, “bleisure” travelers often schedule at least two extra days and will usually bring an additional guest, whether it’s a friend, their spouse, or their kids.
Hoperator is a live chat and social messaging platform which increases lead conversions and guest loyalty for independently owned travel and hospitality businesses. Hoperator’s co-founders Michael Foltz and Chris Douglas noticed that while millennials are pushing the number of international trips to an all time high, the booking and planning processes are still very disconnected, resulting in one of the highest abandonment rates of all e-commerce experiences at 81.6%.
Major industries are freaking out; people, and not just millennials, are spending less on cars and houses and more on experiences like concerts, classes, and of course, travel. Naturally, this has lead to nearly every major hospitality brand screaming into the void that they are not a product, but an experience.
It’s a common misconception that live chat in the hospitality industry requires someone answering messages 24/7. Because Hoperator is never offline, we capture your visitor’s questions so they can easily be answered later. However, even if your live chat provider doesn’t offer this feature, there are other things staff can do to not only save time answering live chat inquiries, but also increase the value of engaging with potential guests.
Brand engagement has never been easier, yet it may feel that it’s never been harder. Yes, there are many channels where customers can connect with your business. But, attracting followers and creating hospitality social content for them often turns into just another task on a never-ending to-do list.
While travel brands have been experimenting with messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp for awhile now, live chat has really just started to make it’s way into the travel industry at the destination level.