Marketing & Promotions

11 Ways Technology Can Help You Master Hotel Guest Engagement

a photo of Bianca Esmond

Bianca Esmond

5 min read

Apr 25, 2024

11 Ways Technology Can Help You Master Hotel Guest Engagement

Just one meaningful interaction can earn you a customer for life. But these days, a warm smile and a welcoming lobby aren’t enough to win a guest’s loyalty. The guest experience is defined by a series of interactions — all memorable, and equally personalized. When done right, hotels can use customer engagement to distinguish themselves from the competition and create long-lasting, loyal relationships.

The goal of customer engagement is to improve connections between your brand and potential guests. These transactions occur when guests are on site, but also before they arrive, and often after they leave. 

Committing to the guest experience is a big task, one that requires consistency and authenticity. But that’s why there’s technology. Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions combine data and human intuition to power meaningful customer engagement, making it easier for you to win over a guest, one exchange at a time.

Below, we’ll discuss 11 hotel guest engagement strategies you can use to define a guest experience that improves your reputation and bottom line.

But first: use technology to build better relationships

Engaging hotel guests would be a whole lot easier if they stayed in one spot and only talked to one staff member. But, guests mingle. They migrate and chit-chat, which means that your team and the technology you use must ebb and flow with them. 

Serving and satisfying your guests becomes simpler when your food and beverage team can collaborate with your concierge team or your marketing team, and vice versa.

Integrate F&B data with your hotel PMS 

The hotel guest engagement strategies we reference below are more easily implemented when your actions are influenced by guest data. The more you know about your guests, the better you can engage them. 

Start by integrating your F&B data with your hotel PMS and CRM. Once you do, you’ll empower staff to nurture the relationship with the guest and make them feel valued — like wordlessly attaching the bill to their number following a meal at one of your restaurants, or knowing how they like their martini even before they pull up a seat at your lounge bar.

Small efforts make a big impact. Syncing your hotel tech stack helps you anticipate guests’ needs and offer customized experiences they’ll want to tell their friends about. 

As you make moves to improve your guest interactions, it’s important to build processes that allow you to engage consistently across the entire guest journey from start to finish. Here are a few ideas to do just that.

Pre-arrival hotel guest engagement ideas

Build excitement and anticipation well before the guest enters your hotel. 

Pad your booking pages with custom personalization features

First impressions matter, and well-developed booking pages give guests a sneak peek at the exact type of upscale experience they can expect during their stay. A streamlined booking process is also essential for increasing conversion rates. 

Beyond standard room rate and availability information, let guests personalize their stay from the start. Reservation software built for the hospitality industry should allow guests to note room preferences, dining restrictions, accessibility needs and more during booking.

Mandarin Oriental asks guests whether they’re traveling for business or pleasure in their booking process, gathering key info at the earliest possible moment in the guest journey they can leverage upon arrival.

Knowing whether a guest is traveling for work or play is valuable information you can use to your advantage by making more informed decisions and delivering more personalized interactions — like tailored upgrade offers at check-in. 

And if your hotel PMS is integrated with a F&B CRM like SevenRooms, your F&B team can quickly see if a guest has dined or stayed with you before by pulling in existing data gathered from prior visits. Guest tags like “birthday,” “loyalty member” and “peanut allergy,” for example, sync with your tech stack as soon as a booking is made, empowering your staff to create small moments that make guests feel valued and help increase loyalty and revenue.

Pro tip

Send a confirmation email for every booking. In each email, include a direct booking link so guests can make hotel restaurant reservations at the same time as their room reservation. To make them feel extra special, include a note that hotel guests get priority access to your food and beverage venues.

Send a welcome message

A few days before their stay, send an introductory email as part of the reservations and booking process. Automate welcome emails to jumpstart engagement, allowing them to customize their stay before they arrive. 

In your message, address all aspects of the guest journey.

Pass on key arrival information, such as your digital check-in process, the WiFi password and directions to find your location.
Offer enticing in-room upgrades. Special offers or discount vouchers can encourage guests to book enhancements to their stay and pad your bottom line. Present upsell ideas based on their guest profile, such as a champagne toast upon arrival, room service discounts, late checkout or a spot in your morning yoga class.
Showcase on-site F&B options, including your menus and upcoming dining events, as an added touch. Resend your private reservation link you provided at booking inviting guests to partake in your exclusive F&B experiences and special promos. A quick message from your guest relations manager should do the trick: “We’re looking forward to seeing you soon. Please use my personal reservations link to join us for dinner.”

For hotel guests, extend your restaurant and events reservation availability beyond what the public can access (120 days versus 30 days, for example) so your overnight guests don’t get turned away while onsite. The SevenRooms reservation widget allows you to offer visitors a private reservation link with custom availability.

In-stay hotel guest engagement ideas

The customer experience begins before they arrive at the property, but your actions throughout the guest’s stay will shape their experience. Here’s how to ensure greater guest satisfaction at every touchpoint:

Empower your front desk staff to surprise and delight

By gathering customer data before they arrive, your staff can tailor personalized upgrade options that suit guests' needs. Your front-of-house staff is often the first to interact with guests, and their ability to turn traditionally mundane check-in procedures into something pleasant goes a long way in setting the stage for a memorable hotel guest experience. 

Tempt them with a room upgrade. If you know guests love a high floor, how about upgrading them to the penthouse suite? If they’ve requested a room with a view, offer them a room with a superior one.
Deliver on last-minute special requests. Give staff access to secret reservations inventory for dining and other special experiences like spa treatments or concierge services. That way, when guests ask for an upgrade, you can easily make it happen.
Mention a special detail. An integrated hotel F&B CRM equips staff at all F&B touchpoints to access key guest details and leverage them for something special. For example, they can treat guests celebrating birthdays or anniversaries to an in-room toast, or thank returning guests for their loyalty with an invite to experience your chef’s new tasting menu.

Offer welcome drinks or snacks

Keep the true VIP experience going by greeting guests with a welcome drink or snack. Satiate appetites after a long journey with a crisp flute of sparkling wine, a mug of hot coffee, or a glass of refreshing lemon water. Fresh-baked cookies and small bites for munching wouldn’t hurt, either. 

And with their taste buds satisfied, they’ll be eager to explore the property. Offer to take them on a guided private tour. This allows you more time to engage with guests, show off your facilities and upsell accordingly.

Encourage your hotel guests to explore your food experiences on-site rather than at another venue nearby. Reference the CRM data gathered pre-arrival to tailor dining recommendations that support F&B.

For business travelers, you might promote your room service menus or offer family-friendly deals for guests with children. For guests with specific food preferences, allow the chef to create a special meal they’d otherwise have to request on their own, such as gluten-free, dairy-free, allergy-free, vegan or vegetarian. 

You could also call attention to a new menu item based on tags in the profile. For example, wine drinkers will appreciate a heads-up about the new chardonnay you sourced from a Napa Valley vendor — and a preferred seat reservation at the bar come five o’clock.

Let guests order from anywhere

With QR codes, guests can easily place an order with your restaurant from wherever they wander on your property. Think lounges, pools and cabanas, garden terraces and more.

QR codes can be customized to support the guest experience, from offering multiple menu options in different hotel areas to placing them in high-traffic areas not conducive to traditional menus (hint: bathrooms).

Stick different QR codes around the property to advertise your social media handles, sell tickets to events or promote your email list. Even better, these tiny squares represent more opportunities for you to add guest data to your CRM system without any manual input.

Create unique events

Guests with longer stays will be searching for ways to fill their multi-day itinerary. Appeal to their desire for new, authentic experiences by hosting unique events they don’t have to leave the property for. 

These event and engagement ideas will help boost F&B revenue and define the guest experience:

Wine tastings and pairings (you can upsell the whole bottle later)
Cooking classes featuring your most popular dishes
Outdoor movie night with curated snack trays
Spa and wellness retreats, such as sunrise yoga classes and massage appointments 

The opportunities to entertain guests with events are endless. Luxury hotel Conrad Centennial Singapore offers a mix of free and prepaid events for hotel guests, including personal training in its fitness center and Run By The Bay outings, which are five-kilometer runs by Marina Bay, one of Singapore’s iconic landmarks.

Want to give your chef a chance to shine? Design decadent and exclusive prix-fixe menus. 1 Hotel, a pet-friendly luxury hotel in Nashville, hosts regular events at their 1 Kitchen farm-to-table dining venue guests can book in advance. Most recently, they offered a four-course family-style dining experience guests can enjoy al fresco at a local farm.

Post-stay hotel guest engagement ideas

Your efforts to boost customer loyalty and retention shouldn’t stop once the guest departs, the fun has only just begun! Identify a few standby ways to maintain the connection, but try to limit your communication to intentional outreach only (no one likes a pest).

Ask for feedback and reviews

At departure, prompt customers to offer feedback. You can do this with a post-stay survey or a review request sent through your PMS after a guest checks out. 

Stephen Peters, Resort Director at Pacific Sands Resort, takes a more traditional route and staples a business card to all folios asking guests to leave a review. 

Both methods are tried-and-true ways to increase the amount of feedback you garner from guests, as long as you thank guests for choosing you and use the opportunity to boost brand awareness across key marketing channels.

Remember to ask for feedback from your hotel guests as well as from those who dined at your F&B properties. With a review aggregator like SevenRooms, your F&B reviews are housed in one location, making it easier for hoteliers to monitor feedback and analyze responses for trends.

Keep the connection going

As part of your goodbyes, be sure to offer ways to stay in touch. For first-time guests, invite them to join your loyalty program or encourage them to follow your social media accounts. 

Your repeat guests will also appreciate some love from your hotel staff. Reward them for their loyalty with perks and benefits they can rack up each time they stay with you.

Promote your events proudly

While you’re busy encouraging guests to follow along with your happenings, remember to advertise all that you're doing to keep customers engaged across all your marketing channels. Events and experiences, especially those centered around F&B, represent a unique opportunity for press and engagement. 

Each time you host an event or debut a new offering, talk about it. Need some content inspo? SH Hotels leveraged F&B to become a dining destination by turning their food and beverage events into marketing opportunities. This strategy helps them attract new and returning hotel guests, as well as the local community, too. When nourished, locals have the power to become your most loyal and vocal customer base.

Personalize future offers

Successful hotel marketing is all about personalization. With booking history and guest data in hand, you have the power to present promotions, invites and general communications according to their interests.

Segment your email marketing and messaging so that you only engage guests when the content is relevant. For example, it’d be smart to send an email advertising a private dining event to a list of guests who’ve attended your wine tastings before. Using the same strategy, you might also consider cross-promoting other locations and properties in your restaurant group to loyalty members who travel frequently.

Intentional guest engagement powered by data

The hotel brands that stand out from the crowd are the ones not afraid to cater to the customer. They’re continually looking for new ways to engage with consumers more meaningfully and regularly ask for feedback to evolve. 

The hospitality industry is competitive, and guest expectations are high. And good or bad, they’re more than willing to share their experiences online. By implementing these strategies throughout the entire booking process, you can increase guest retention and improve your online reputation. 

Learn how SevenRooms can help you exceed hotel guest expectations, book a demo today.

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