“The Connection Economy thrives on abundance. Connections create more connections.”
Seth Godin, Best-Selling author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker
As the most personal phase of the guest booking path, the Stay offers the greatest opportunity to make a connection with the guest. As Godin notes, trust is one of the four pillars of the Connection Economy, and the key to establishing trust with a guest is delivering on the promises made before the guest arrived on property.
Meeting, or ideally exceeding, expectations in your physical environment and service, is essential to gaining the trust that can evolve into loyalty. Though it may not seem as necessary when a guest is on-site, any and all technologies that support the stay are useful in moderation. TripAdvisor notes that of Connected Travelers, those who use smartphones or devices to plan or book their trips, 72% use smartphones to look for restaurants while on vacation, 67% look for activities, and 64% read reviews.
What’s Happening for Travelers During the Stay?
Guests have continual access to mobile devices, and as a result, they aren’t always planning ahead these days. They can follow their moods in planning activities and attractions. They can take your personal restaurant recommendations and look at menus and reviews via their smartphone before making a reservation for the evening. Guests will be regularly asking themselves: Where do the locals go for great food? Are there hidden gems in this destination and how do I find them? If they haven’t had the opportunity to ask your staff in person, they will likely be searching for recommendations online.
How are they Searching During the Stay?
During the Stay Phase, searches will typically involve restaurants and activities. They will likely be focused on specific neighborhoods, now that the guest is more familiar with the destination.
Searches may look like:
“Wine bar in downtown Austin”
“Restaurants near South Congress Neighborhood”
“Activities near Lady Bird Lake”
What Should Hoteliers & VRMs Be Doing to Reach Guests in this Phase?
With the proper CRM in place, staff can access guest preferences and desires. These details may have been collected during a conversation with a reservations agent, or they may be a result of guest data collected during online bookings, such as golf or spa requests. Whenever possible, ensure guest-facing staff can quickly discover and review guest details so that they may speak to their interests when checking in, visiting the concierge, or otherwise connecting.
Strategies may also include email campaigns directed to current guests with recommendations for the restaurants that locals love or off-the-beaten-path attractions, things they might not find in a guidebook or on a destination website.
NAVIS Tools for the Stay:
- Do the work for guests by providing reviews or links to reviews of suggested activities, restaurants, and attractions.
- Modernize the old-fashioned turndown letter and deliver it via email.
With the right balance of communication during the Stay Phase, guests will feel supported in their journey to create the perfect trip. They will have more joyful experiences because they have been given the best recommendations rather than relying on generic ideas generated from search engines. They will return at the end of an evening out feeling satisfied, replaying the day, and, very likely, plotting their return before the stay has ended.