In marketing, there’s a lead generation and onboarding process that helps sales funnel gurus and the like turn cold leads into loyal customers. It works like a dream, but sometimes it reads about as dry as the Sahara during a record drought. So, forget the words “lead” and “process” and replace them with “guest” and “nurture”.
To master the fine art of guest nurturing, there’s a series of five semi-easy steps to follow, and your business will thank you for the results…
Mastering the First Touch Point
First impressions are everything and so many businesses jump the shark before a potential customer even has a chance to reach for their credit card. Whether you make first contact by email, on social media, through a website form, or even by phone (people still do that, or so we’re told), make their first impression a great one. Experts call this “lead acquisition”, but we like to call it smart business. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Don’t leave messages unanswered, respond using grown-up words and proper punctuation, and if you can find a way to go above and beyond, do it.
Streamline Your Booking System
One study found that travelers are actually happier when planning their vacation than they are while taking it. Call it the power of anticipation or a love for creating itineraries, but a huge part of the guest experience is complete before they even hit your property. A clunky or incomplete booking system is a stellar way to lose a customer, so check integrations often and ensure each step is user-friendly and clear cut.
Avoid Dropping the Ball Between Booking and Arrival
One easy way to avoid mishaps is to send out an exciting message to booked guests that included a packing checklist and a guide to the local area. You could also ask if they are visiting to celebrate a special occasion and/or what your guest’s favorite snack is. All these seemingly tiny things cost little but offer spine-tingling ROI. You essentially stay top of mind and show guests they’re important long before they check-in.
Make the Most of Check-In
Your guests are finally on property. Now what? You can hand over a key and wish them well, or continue nourishing your budding rapport.
- Use check-in to showcase area attractions, offer special services, and congratulate guests for any celebratory milestones
- If the booking calls for it, stock the room with champagne and balloons as a surprise, but even “ordinary” guests are surprised to find their favorite snack lying in wait
- Give a branded gift that doubles as a souvenir and a reminder that your business helped create an unforgettable vacation that’s well worth repeating (hopefully soon) and sharing.
Put a Bow on the Whole Guest Experience at Check-Out
Checkout isn’t the end of the relationship. Play your cards right and it’s not even a proper pause. This is when you quadruple check that everything exceeded expectations, make a few personal remarks confirming you know they’re a human rather than a walking dollar sign, and encourage them to book another stay.
It’s okay to ask for a review, too; people love knowing their opinions are valued, and a positive review is free publicity. You can follow these same tips but tweak them to reflect digital communication and online channels as well.