Everything you need to know about hotel CRM software
Customer relationship management software is a powerful ally for hotels. It’s the fuel for successful hotel marketing, helping hotels achieve profitable operations through more targeted marketing and deeper relationships with guests, groups, and corporate clients.
Ideally, a hotel’s CRM is a single source of truth for guest information. Related systems within the tech stack should benefit from this rich source of information, and the CRM should benefit from information about a guest learned through other systems. For example, if the guest prefers a room close to an elevator, The best practice is to have this information logged both in the PMS and the CRM. That way, the guest's preferences inform how the hotel engages with the guest both at the front desk and in-between stays.
In 2017, Gartner concluded that spending on CRM technology had pushed it to the largest spending category in enterprise software. This growth highlights how the need to nurture client relationships over time has become a critical challenge for all businesses.
Before you go out and invest heavily in a new CRM for your hotel, let’s explore what makes a good CRM, and then define the two categories of CRM to see how each fit into your hotel’s workflow.
What makes a good CRM?
Answering this question effectively is tough. Each hotel has unique needs for managing its customer relationships. The higher level, a good CRM is:
Easy to integrate. If you're not lucky enough to be planning a comprehensive tech stack in the pre-opening phase, you must consider integrations first. You need a CRM that is easy to integrate with existing systems -- especially your property management system.
Multi-channel. Modern communications are complex; your CRM should reflect this by supporting the variety of ways you communicate with your guests. A good CRM records interactions across email, in-person, text, and online.
Automated. Automations make your life easier. A CRM that removes rote
Within budget. It's easy to get distracted by the bells and whistles during the vendor vetting process. Paying for a bunch of things you're never going to use is not wise. Select a CRM that fits within your existing budget -- and that can grow with you (see next point).
Flexible. When you choose the software that manages your customer relationships, you need to know that it's flexible to accommodate future needs.
Secure. Most CRMs are cloud-based. This is great for speed and flexibility but can leave sensitive information vulnerable in the wrong hands.
Mobile. Finally, a good CRM is equally useful in the office and on the go. The mobile experience shouldn’t sacrifice quality or functionality.
Now that we've defined some of the important characteristics of CRM for hotels, let's explore the differences between CRM approaches.
B2C CRM for hotels
This type of customer relationship management software focuses on relationships with individual guests. This information can be used to personalize a guest’s experience while on property, as well as provide more targeted marketing in-between stays to increase future direct bookings. For example, a guest’s profile could personalize their room settings upon arrival, or your CRM could automatically send out a birthday greeting and gift each year.
Today’s CRMs attach communications from across all channels to one user profile, building a detailed view of the guest for sales, marketing, and even operations. With a CRM in place, a guest can switch communications channels without losing the history of past interactions.
This multi-channel fluidity is a critical skill in today’s customer service environment. Fluidity also extends to CRM-driven marketing automation. Complex drip sequences should be feasible with a well-segmented B2C CRM, which improves conversion rates and drives more revenue for the hotel.
Another benefit for CRM is tying it to reputation management to understand how guests perceive your hotel on social media and on popular review platforms. Many CRMs connect an email with social profiles and integrate with dedicated reputation management tools, making this process seamless.
Desirable features: Robust tracking of interactions to see when, where, and how a guest engages with the brand; integration with hotel software, including reputation management and revenue management; multiple user accounts; segmentation to allow grouping of similar profiles for targeted promotions.
These are the top B2C CRM solutions for hotels:
Revinate. With a focus on blending CRM and marketing automation, Revinate empowers hotel sales and marketing staff to target promotions more effectively while also using guest data to improve the on-property experience.
For-Sight by Forth. The For-Sight CRM personalizes each marketing message to build custom touchpoints for guests, while also encouraging guest feedback to improve a hotel’s overall reputation of.
NAVIS. The company bills its NAVIS REACH as the only hospitality CRM. With its focus on unifying teams, marketing, and operations, the CRM boosts marketing efficiency and drives more direct bookings.
Guestfolio by Cendyn. By combining guest data and marketing automation, Cendyn’s Guestfolio builds a single view of the guest. Its marketing automation functionality ensures that all brand communications are personalized for each guest profile.
ZDirect by Travelclick. TravelClick’s ZDirect provides comprehensive CRM software for hotels. The company calls this a guest management solution that drives incremental revenue through personalized communications pre, during, and post-stay.
Group CRM for hotels
Group (or B2B) CRM focuses on the relationships with brands that bring group and corporate business to a hotel. These type of relationships are high-value and complex, requiring CRM software with enhanced functionality.
When managing groups, events, and corporate accounts, hotels may be operating on multiple fronts. Whether its a sales team with multiple people, or a company with several decision makers, there’s a complexity with B2B sales that requires accuracy and transparency. The B2B CRM keeps tabs on these moving parts, and provides a comprehensive higher-level overview to keep everyone on the same page. It really is all about improving collaboration and increasing wins.
Desirable features: lead capture, prioritization and scoring; integrated RFP management to track progress (or integration with an RFP management tool); call tracking; sales pipeline overview; task and appointment automation; robust reporting, including profitability of specific proposals; automated calendar sync; ability to manage channel complexity as far as inbound business.
These are the top B2B CRM solutions for hotels:
Amadeus Advanced Delphi. When it comes to managing catering and events, this module from Amadeus allows staff to prospect for business with a mobile-friendly product. All details and information are captured and shared with all internal teams.
Cendyn Sales Suite. The group sales software from Cendyn keeps sales staff aligned with the latest information on any given group, whether in the office or around the property. By reducing RFP turnaround time, you win more business.
Salesforce. Salesforce is the dominant CRM software, which confers certain advantages: a diverse selection of products and integrations, a common language for new hires, and resources to support growth across business functions.
Lanyon by Cvent. After its merger with the Cvent platform, Lanyon now has synergies that bring powerful features to hotels focused on group, meetings, and conference business.
Quore. The Quore approach to sales involves the full hotel, with shareable access for non-sales people to empower teams across the hotel with sales information.
BONUS: We found this infographic to be helpful in outlining the key differences of B2B versus B2C CRM software.
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