Personalization & Pre-Stay Communication


Recently, I was in New York and I stayed at a pretty well known hotel. It was a big hotel. Not the type of place I would typically stay, but as our customer size is getting larger and larger, I thought I would consider it research and see how they handled guest communication. It was also pretty central to every place I needed to get to during my short trip. 

I’m not going to tell you how they could have used Hoperator to make everything better (which they could have), but I purely wanted to write this post to point out that they used A LOT of different technologies to deliver A LOT of communication and none of it was personalized. Which, made it pretty obvious that my stay wasn’t really as important to them as it was for me. But, I’ll let you judge for yourself as I iterate what transpired.

The chronology and content of my pre-stay communication:


Reservation Confirmation Email - Nothing fancy here. Typical CRM template with a few plugs regarding their facilities and an image of their mobile check-in process. Which, I figured I would have a need for because it was such a large hotel, however the link from the image took me to the restaurant page on their website. I responded regarding this, but never heard anything back.

Upgrade Email - This was an upgrade offer only. Which, I took advantage of, however confirmation of upgrade was only available upon check-in. Kind of a bummer.

Upgrade Standby Request Email - This was confirming that I might get an upgrade. Again, I would find out upon check-in. In the meantime, we will send you more emails.

Upcoming Stay Reminder Email - This was an email reminding me that I’m going to be staying at the hotel. This email contained more basic information about the hotel that was already shared with me in the reservation confirmation email, except it included a promo code on for some tour I would never take and the promise to reward me with two free cocktails if I would share my stay on social media. Which, when selecting the link routed me to their page to collect my info for some Turkish Airlines promotion. It’s important to note, that the disclaimer on this sharing experience only mentioned a SINGLE FREE DRINK, not two and it was going to come in yet another email. I promptly sent an email regarding the missing free drink, but never heard anything back. Email - This email was notifying me of my rewards. I think every hotel in NYC uses this platform (Great work guys, nice traction). Unfortunately, the only reward I found useful was the Starbucks gift card (I know, but who passes up a free cup of coffee?).

Pre Check-in Email - I wasn’t sure of the purpose of this email. It wasn’t an early check-in offer, they just wanted to know what time I planned on arriving. Again, an email designed for the hotel’s benefit, not mine.

Welcome Email - I received this email some time between checking in and arriving in my room. It was purely to ask me to go ahead and write a review for Tripadvisor, like their Facebook page, tweet to them or share something on instagram. It also included a link to their blog. I call this the shotgun approach.

Surprisingly, I did not receive any other emails from the hotel during my stay.

I have however, received 5 post-stay emails. I will spare you all of the details as they were all as poorly thought out as the prior 6. In fact, maybe I’ll just write another post regarding post-stay emails. Assignment noted. 

Anyways, as I was saying… 

The most important item in any email from the hotel actually came after my stay. It was a link to a post-stay survey which included a very important question that I would have gladly answered prior to my stay…


What was the primary purpose(s) of your trip?

[  ]  Conference / Convention
[  ]  Business Meetings
[  ]  Visit Family / Friends
[  ]  Personal Vacation
[  ]  Special Occasion
[  ]  Extended Stay

This is, if anything… the most important thing you need to know about your guest. Because it will shape everything about their stay, including if there will ever be second one.

It’s also smart to follow that up with other questions like:

Do you have any special needs during your stay?
A reminder regarding any perks such as free breakfast, etc.
Do you need airport transportation?

You get the idea.

Stay tuned for the in-house and post-stay chapters on communication!

Photo by Jay Mantri

Chris DouglasComment