5 action points to address guest behaviour trends in 2021

Guest Behaviour Trends RMS Cloud

In January, we hosted the first webinar in our 2021 Trends and Challenge series, which focused on how guests are evolving. We were joined by industry experts from D-EDGE, TripTech (Outdoria Group) and RMS Cloud who shared insights and advice on using trending guest behaviours to drive exceptional guest experiences.

You can catch up on the full webinar below or watch on-demand via our YouTube channel.

We’ve summarised some of the key learnings from this webinar to help you turn the trends into action points for your business:

1. Revisit your contactless guest journey

Contactless tech is a basic expectation for travellers in 2021. Not only does it limit face-to-face contact, but it also creates faster, more streamlined experiences for your guests. In the webinar, Nick explains how his campervan rental client uses one of the TripTech apps as a contactless tool to onboard people into their vans and facilitate drop-offs, which has had a big uptake among guests. This particular example highlights how contactless tech can be adapted to suit a range of businesses depending on their needs.

Other ways to offer contactless guest experiences:

  • Pre-check-in/check-out

  • Acknowledgement and signing of COVID declarations/Ts&Cs

  • SMS triggers with access information (such as boom gate or key safe codes)

  • Make secure payments

2. Create a faultless booking experience

Duncan highly recommends continuing to invest in your website as a direct booking path. Creating a strong customer experience journey from the start keeps guests engaged and encourages them to follow through with a booking, compared to if your site is clunky, outdated or not optimised for mobile.

Tips to enhance your guests’ booking experience:

  • Connect to D-EDGE and RMS’ integrated platform to expand online distribution

  • Use your CRM to gather data so you can instantly react to market trends and fluctuations

  • Ensure your website is refreshed and up-to-date to increase guest confidence from the moment they land there

  • Consider offering fully flexible and added-value rates to your website but not your OTA listings to improve traction and entice users to book direct

3. Own your customer

Service levels don’t have to start and end at the property; engaging with your guests pre and post-stay will go a long way in building relationships and encouraging return visits. Identify gaps in your customer engagement strategy to understand what’s missing from your tech stack; you can then implement the necessary tools to help boost guest interactions and enhance your brand reputation.

Other effective ways to engage with guests:

  • Send hyper-targeted marketing emails to past and prospective customers

  • Use two-way SMS to send messages to guests and encourage replies

  • Invest in paid social ads and share organic social posts to boost consumer engagement, amplify your brand and capture more of the domestic market

4. Adjust your last-minute and flexible booking strategies

The global pandemic has accelerated guests’ needs for flexibility, and there is a high chance of this remaining post-COVID. Last-minute bookings are also set to stay amid ongoing travel uncertainty. Competition for these guests will be fierce, which is why adapting your strategies and adding extra appeal will help you stand out in a saturated domestic market.

Enhance your offering by:

  • Creating tailored deals and special offers to boost revenue/occupancy (for example, if your average stay is 2.3 nights, consider offering a three-night package). Remember, deals don’t always have to be rate-based - one idea is to spotlight your lesser-known amenities such as free parking, in-room dining facilities or spa access

  • Introducing a loyalty scheme to encourage previous guests to regularly return

  • Upselling on-site and encouraging longer stays for those travelling on more flexible schedules

5. Refresh your digital public image

Having a strong brand identity is more crucial now than ever before, with most guests browsing for trips solely online. As Nick explains in the webinar, your public face is your digital face, which means you need to prioritise what guests see online before you start making any aesthetic changes to your property.

Tips to enhance your brand online:

  • Ensure all imagery on your website and social channels is high quality and up-to-date

  • Share regular content on social media and engage on other relevant posts across your feeds to increase brand visibility 

  • Share the latest information, such as special offers or COVID-safe protocols on your channels so that guests know everything is up-to-date before continuing to check out your site

To help you keep track, we’ve created a handy checklist that you can download and print off as an aid to enhance your guest experience offerings.

You can also download your free copy of our 2021 Trends and Challenges report which dives into some other guest behaviour trends, as well as technology adoption, marketing shifts and revenue management.